It is no longer necessary to register in order to have copyright protection, just as it is not required anymore to have the symbol (c) attached to a work in order to protect it. Copyright protection is automatic, starting as soon as a work is fixed in tangible form. But registration is still important in some situations. You must register a work before you can sue someone else for infringement, and registration creates a presumption that you own a valid copyright. Also, registration within certain time limits makes it possible to receive a larger damage award and attorney’s fees if a copyright owner can prove infringement. So registration is a good idea to protect the economic value of a work, but it is not required; each creator can make a decision about whether or not registration will best serve that individual’s interests.
Registration is accomplished by filing a form, found on the Copyright Office’s web site, along with a copy of the work being registered and a fee, which is currently $45.