I'm workin on an answer to the specific questions now, and will have it posted shortly. Before doing that, I want to point out that if you're seeking protection for your "ideas" as general concepts, you're pretty much out of luck. You can't protect those. It is your specific development and expression of the ideas that gets protection, but you can't stop someone else from using the same concepts and ideas as you.
Thanks so much for the detailed answers Steerpike and Devor. I hope I didn't come off as sounding impatient or anything. If I did, I apologize for that. I appreciate the quick reply even though its a holiday weekend.
I was expecting the answer you gave about copyright violations in other countries. I figured there probably wouldn't be much I could do about it realistically. I suppose I was hoping for some super secret UN copyright procedure or something lol... but I guess the world isn't that globalized yet.
I suppose what concerns me the most is having the law turned against me by a larger company who decides my IP could be worth "acquiring". Being out-trademarked or out-copyrighted or missing some legal loophole that allows them to basically lock me out of my own IP I created. I've heard of this sort of thing happening before. I would never sell or sign over the rights to anyone and I always plan on self publishing everything, so having the IP taken from me forcibly would be the only way I'd ever lose it. I realize unless the IP where to become highly profitable though, this would probably never be an issue. Though, I've also noticed a trend that a lot of legal mistakes are made when an IP is first being created, when you don't have a lawyer to make sure you do everything by the book and if I'm not careful, this could come back to haunt me later.
I've been doing some reading myself and I've seen your answer about not being able to copyright ideas, systems, methods etc. echoed in other articles and copyright explanations around the web. However, from what I've read, it would seem to say that I can copyright my personal creative expression of my ideas in a "fixed" form.
An example of some of the articles I read: A citizen's legal guide to American copyright law | New Media Rights
So... this brings me to a new question.
1. I'll admit... I don't yet have any "finished" stories or video games that I can copyright. However, I do have a lot (miles) of notes, I tend to write everything down as it comes to me in as much detail as possible, about my fantasy world setting. So my question is... does this mean I can basically pull all my notes together in one huge file and send it/upload it to the copyright office for a copyright? I would argue that my notes are an original creative expression in a fixed form of my IP/stories/setting.
2. Also, another question I have is... I've heard that starting a company would possibly allow me to better protect my IP. Is this true?
Thanks again for all the help! I really do appreciate it! Hope all of you are having a great weekend!