The copyright symbol, represented by the letter "c" inside a circle (©), is used to indicate that a work is protected by copyright. It serves as a notice to the public that the work is copyrighted and that the owner of the copyright holds exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, display, and perform the work.
In many countries, including the United States, copyright protection is automatic as soon as a work is created and fixed in a tangible form. This means that as soon as you create a piece of original work, such as a book, song, artwork, or software, it is automatically protected by copyright. You do not need to register the work with any government office or use the copyright symbol to obtain copyright protection in these countries.
However, using the copyright symbol can still be beneficial. It serves as a clear notice to the public that the work is protected and can deter potential infringers from using the work without permission. It also helps in establishing a stronger legal case in the event of copyright infringement.