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Copyright and other laws throughout the world automatically extend copyright protection to works of authorship and databases, whether the author or creator wants those rights or not. CC0 gives those who want to give up those rights a way to do so, to the fullest extent allowed by law. Once the creator or a subsequent owner of a work applies CC0 to a work, the work is no longer his or hers in any meaningful sense under copyright law. Anyone can then use the work in any way and for any purpose, including commercial purposes, subject to other laws and the rights others may have in the work or how the work is used. Think of CC0 as the “no rights reserved” option.
CC0 is a useful tool for clarifying that you do not claim copyright in a work anywhere in the world. Because copyright laws differ by jurisdiction, you might be granted an automatic copyright in jurisdictions that you may not be aware of. By using CC0, you signal to the public that you relinquish any such rights.