Copyright protects books, music, movies, photographs, source code for software and other forms of "works".
To obtain protection, the work itself must be original, meaning that the work must be a result of a "personal and creative effort".
If the work is original, protection is automatically granted - there is thus no requirement for registration or application in order to obtain copyright protection. The protection lasts for 70 years after the death of the creator and grants the creator of the work exclusive rights for its use and distribution.
The creator can use the ©-symbol to alert others that his work is copyrighted - but the use of the symbol is not a requirement in order to uphold protection. The creator will therefor be protected whether he uses the symbol or not - but in many cases the symbol will have a deterrent effect, as it is clarified that the work must not be used without proper authorisation.