Copyrights are designed to help people protect their intellectual property. They protect original works such as music or literature. They're designed to stay with you for life and beyond, helping you protect the work you put so much effort into.
Your work is protected by copyright as soon as it is created and in a tangible form. You don't even have to register it, although it is a good idea to do so.
Some people argue that copyrights have become a problem that hurt competition and benefit corporations. Corporations can do more to create quickly and prevent any copyright claims from getting out of hand. However, copyrights don't only benefit these media giants. They're there for you, too.
A copyright used to last for 14 years when it was for books, maps and charts. People who created those works could ask to extend the copyright an additional 14 years as well. Today, some believe that copyrights are too extreme, lasting the author's lifetime plus an additional 70 years. This extreme protection means that those who did not create works cannot use them within this lifetime in most cases. It reduces the likelihood of competition, which is bad in some senses.
However, as the person who created a work, it is your right to protect it. This protection is available for everyone, not just for corporate entities. You have the same benefits provided to you as a media giant would, for instance. If someone steals your work, you can still seek out compensation by filing your copyright lawsuit against them for the violation of your copyright.