Any original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is automatically protected by copyright the moment it’s created. When you own copyright on a work you can control how it’s used. For example, others who want to use the work have to buy or otherwise get the permission of the copyright owner.
Even though copyright protection is automatic, registration with the Copyright office in your country is highly recommended because it provides evidence of ownership. In Canada, the certificate issued by CIPO upon registration can be used in court for this purpose. [Although The Hanged Man’s Noose is being published in the United States, the U.S. has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, including Canada. As a result of these agreements, copyright from those countries are honored.]
Copyright in Canada exists for the life of the author plus 50 years following death. After that, the work becomes part of the public domain and anyone can use it. U.S. Copyright protection exists for the life of the author plus 70 years. [Note: Those are the general rules; as with anything, there are exceptions and you’re best to do your own research.]
I filed for copyright of The Hanged Man’s Noose online in late May (there was a $50 fee). My application was approved on June 1st. This week, I received my official certificate! Not sure yet if I’m going to frame it . . .