Copyright Notice Format Website Bibliography

  • Nils

    Great stuff!

    I have for years been trying to get the people here to stop mixing the words up and this blog has finally helped them see the light (that and having to point to pretty much every other site on the net that displays copyright messages) 😉

    However, I would like to add to the discussion (although a bit late) that there are some browsers that can’t display the copyright sign.

    So as a rule I now put Copyright ©Year Owner to cover my behind.

    Having looked further into this, there are those who suggest that you can’t put both but on the other hand I spoke to a lawyer who said as long as the format is correct you can have both the word AND the sign if appropriate.

  • Marija

    Daniel, can you or someone please help me? I would like to change the information, to be in concordance with what you suggested, but when I go to my WordPress, then Theme Editor, then Footer, there is absolutely no text “Copyright © Women’s Tennis Blog. All Rights Reserved.” even though it’s visible on my blog. Where do I go to change the text.

    Your advise is greatly appreciated!

  • Boerne Search

    Well, I guess now I know. I have been doing it wrong for sometime now. Oops!

  • Heidi Cool

    Great reminder. I use the date range on my site. Over the years many people have asked me (as a Web person, I’m not an attorney) if they should change the date each January. I blogged that one should not. Though if you use a date range such as 2005-2008 you can change 2008 to 2009 on the first day in 2009 that you add or modify content.

    For those of you who change the date, I’d recommend you pay close attention to Andrew Flusche’s comment (#5), “the important date for copyright purposes is when you first fixed the expression in a tangible format.” The copyright date should reflect the earliest date the material was created. It is not meant to show how current a site may be.

    To show the latter, I’d add a line such as “This page last updated on “Sept. 7, 2009.” In this scenario it would be perfectly appropriate to use a script that publishes a date based on the last edit.

  • George Serradinho

    A very interesting answer, many would say that they want it displayed on their site to ensure that others can see it. I have displayed mine at the bottom of my site in the footer.

  • BloggerDaily

    I missed this part when I first blogging and then some people start to copy my ideas, etc. Now I’m become more protective where I put the copyright even for a single article. And of course – giving credits to others for their works that I use.

    Copyright is about appreciation. It’s not just about right but how appreciative you are to someone’s right.

  • Nikhil

    Great Daniel….
    I have put the copyright notice on my blog like this…
    All the stuff here is copyrighted by their creators.
    All articles/posts are copyrighted with

  • Surender Sharma

    Copyrights notice is the legal term on the blog or site but as you mentioned on your blog it would be best Copyright notice.

  • Paul Foreman

    Thought I’d add a quick tip for creating the copyright symbol: if you type open bracket small c closed bracket (c) in Word it converts it to a copyright symbol 🙂

  • Ben

    Thanks for the reminder about copyrights.

  • Mr. I

    @Daniel, Yes. Long pages like Privacy Policy and Copyright saying “You can do this that etc.”

  • Andrew Flusche

    @Daniel – True. Proving that you created something and when you created it is always a tough part of copyright battles. That’s why there’s no substitute for copyright registration.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Blake, images, logos and favicons and copyrighted as well, and linking back is not enough. You need to have explicit permission from the copyright owner to use the stuff.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Andrew, thanks for chiming in 🙂 .

    If you keep the thing locked with yourself, though, and someone else publish the very same thing publicly, it would be hard for you to prove your actually had a copyright over the material though, right?

  • Ajay

    I prefer using © 2005-2009 Techtites

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Jordan, I updated the post, thanks a lot for reminding me of that part 🙂 .

  • Blake @ Props Blog

    It’s good to know that in most cases as soon as you publish your stuff is considered copyright. I’ve noticed many wp themes already have the copyright coded into the footer. All the free ones offered on Daily Blog Tips have it (at least, all the ones I’ve looked at).

    Are images/logos/favicons copyright as soon as they are published as well? Is linking back to the original enough credit or should you cite more than just the webpage link?


  • Carl Coddington

    I do the same as Oliver. When you use PHP it’s all in the simple code. But there is something to be said about also adding a warning to the copyright. Thanks for the good post.

  • Oliver

    Very helpful post. When I write my copyright notice I use PHP code to display the current year, so the year will change automatically. Thanks for the post.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Just a note: you might consider putting a year range if your blog’s been around for a little while, so you have the year-first-published covered for all your content.

    Also, if you code it into the footer of your site, it’s on all your pages (long, short, medium 😉 ). If you want it in your feed, you can add it to the .xml or, if you’re on FeedBurner, there’s a copyright Feed Flare you can add.

    (I’m not a lawyer, obviously, or I’d be charging you $150 for this.)

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Josh, the comment ate your code, I will edit it in a bit.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Mr. I, what long pages, stuff like privacy policy?

  • Josh Stauffer

    I usually put the current year for the copyright. For some reason I have developed a habit of using that copyright year to tell whether the site is current. To support this, if you go to or, they use 2009.

    For those needing to know how to do this automatically, you can use this PHP code:


    — OR —


  • Andrew Flusche

    Great Q&A, Daniel! I’ll be nit-picky with you, since that what us lawyers do. 🙂

    In the US, you don’t have to publish material to have copyright to it. All that is required is that you put creative expression in a fixed medium. You could keep it under lock and key, and you’ll still own the copyright.

    So the important date for copyright purposes is when you first fixed the expression in a tangible format. Having an idea for a book doesn’t cut it. You have to write it down (or make an audio recording, etc), and that is the day your copyright begins.

  • Mr. I

    I do have a copyright note on my blog as well as feeds. But what about those “long” pages that mny blogs have!

    Are they needed? Any advice Daniel?

  • Robomaster

    Very helpful Q & A. Thanks for the tip Daniel!

  • Dum

    Sometime, I ignore that copyright. But on the other hand, I do not remove any credits (usually as links) by using someone property which is copyrighted. What’s about your idea, Daniel?

  • LetUpdate

    Oh, so that’s some way to write our copyright. Thanks for this info.

  • This article is about the US statutorily-defined copyright notice. For notifications of claimed copyright infringement, see Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act.

    In United States copyright law, a copyright notice is a notice of statutorily prescribed form that informs users of the underlying claim to copyright ownership in a published work.

    Copyright is a form of protection provided by US law to authors of "original works of authorship". When a work is published under the authority of the copyright owner, a notice of copyright may be placed on all publicly distributed copies or phonorecords. The use of the notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office.

    Use of the notice informs the public that a work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication. Furthermore, in the event that a work is infringed, if the work carries a proper notice, the court will not give any weight to a defendant’s use of an innocent infringement defense—that is, to a claim that the defendant did not realize that the work was protected. An innocent infringement defense can result in a reduction in damages that the copyright owner would otherwise receive.

    US law no longer requires the use of a copyright notice, although placing it on a work does confer certain benefits to the copyright holder. Prior law did, however, require a notice, and the use of a notice is still relevant to the copyright status of older works.

    For works first published on or after March 1, 1989, use of the copyright notice is optional. Before March 1, 1989, the use of the notice was mandatory on all published works. Omitting the notice on any work first published from January 1, 1978, to February 28, 1989, could have resulted in the loss of copyright protection if corrective steps were not taken within a certain amount of time. Works published before January 1, 1978, are governed by the 1909 Copyright Act. Under that law, if a work was published under the copyright owner’s authority without a proper notice of copyright, all copyright protection for that work was permanently lost in the United States.

    Form of notice[edit]

    Section 401 of the Copyright Act specifies the form and location of the copyright notice. The form used for "visually perceptible" copies—that is, copies that can be seen or read, either directly (such as books) or with the aid of a machine (such as films)—differs from the form used for phonorecords of sound recordings (such as compact discs or cassettes).

    Form of notice for visually perceptible copies[edit]

    The notice for visually perceptible copies should contain all three elements described below. They should appear together or in close proximity on the copies.

    1. The symbol © (letter C in a circle); the word “Copyright”; or the abbreviation “Copr.”
    2. The year of first publication. If the work is a derivative work or a compilation incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the derivative work or compilation is sufficient. Examples of derivative works are translations or dramatizations; an example of a compilation is an anthology. The year may be omitted when a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying textual matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or useful articles.
    3. The name of the copyright owner, an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of owner.

    Example: © 2012 Jane Doe

    The “C in a circle” notice is used only on “visually perceptible” copies. Certain kinds of works, such as musical, dramatic, and literary works, may be fixed not in “copies” but by means of sound in an audiorecording. Since audiorecordings such as audiotapes and phonograph discs are “phonorecords” and not “copies,” the “C in a circle” notice is not used to indicate protection of the underlying musical, dramatic, or literary work that is recorded.

    Form of notice for phonorecords of sound recordings[edit]

    The copyright notice for phonorecords embodying a sound recording is different from that for other works. Sound recordings are defined as “works that result from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken or other sounds, but not including the sounds accompanying a motion picture or other audio visual work.” Copyright in a sound recording protects the particular series of sounds fixed in the recording against unauthorized reproduction, revision, and distribution. This copyright is distinct from the copyright of the musical, literary, or dramatic work that may be recorded on the phonorecord.

    Phonorecords can be phonograph records (such as LPs and 45s), audiotapes, cassettes, or discs. The notice should contain the following three elements appearing together on the phonorecord.

    1. The symbol ℗ (the letter P in a circle).
    2. The year of first publication of the sound recording.
    3. The name of the copyright owner of the sound recording, an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner. If the producer of the sound recording is named on the phonorecord label or container and if no other name appears in conjunction with the notice, the producer’s name will be considered a part of the notice.

    Example: ℗ 2012 X.Y.Z. Records, Inc.

    Location of notice[edit]

    The Copyright Office has issued regulations concerning the position of the notice and methods of affixation. (For the complete regulations, see 37 C.F.R. 201.20, “Methods of Affixation and Positions of the Copyright Notice on Various Types of Works,” at Generally, the copyright notice should be placed on copies or phono records in such a way that it gives reasonable notice of the claim of copyright. The notice should be permanently legible to an ordinary user of the work under normal conditions of use and should not be concealed from view upon reasonable examination.

    Reasons to include an optional copyright notice[edit]

    A copyright notice may still be used as a deterrent against infringement, or as a notice that the owner intends on holding their claim to copyright.[1] It is also a copyright violation, if not also a federal crime, to remove or modify copyright notice with intent to "induce, enable, facilitate, or conceal an infringement".[2] Also worth noting is that copyright notice has never been required on "unpublished" works, the copyright of which may last for well over 100 years.

    Inclusion of a proper copyright notice on the originals is also evidence that the copyright owners may use to defeat a defense of "innocent infringement", to avoid "statutory damages", other than in certain cases claiming a "fair use" defense.[3]

    Foreign works published in the US without copyright notice[edit]

    Certain foreign works published in the US without copyright notice prior to 1989, which made them public domain, have had their copyrights "restored"[4] under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, provided the rights had not already expired in their country of original publication prior to 1996.[5] This creates the anomaly that foreign works from 1923 to 1989 may be afforded more US copyright protection than domestic US works published in that same period, even though they were both published without any copyright notice.

    Technical requirements[edit]

    There are technical requirements as to the information a copyright notice must contain.

    Under the 1870 law, in effect until 1909, the copyright owner had to write "Entered according to act of Congress, in the year _________________, by A. B., in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington."[6] Starting in 1874, the copyright owner could also write "Copyright, 18_________________, by A. B."[7]

    Under the 1909 law, in effect until 1978, the notice for printed literary, musical, or dramatics works had to contain the name of the author, the year, and "Copyright" or "Copr." Other works did not need to include the year and could use the © symbol. In books or other printed works, the notice were required to have appeared on the title page or the page immediately following the title page.[8]

    Under the 1978 US law, a copyright notice must contain the copyright symbol (a lower case letter c completely surrounded by a circle) or its equivalent. The word "copyright" or the abbreviation "Copr." are also accepted in the US,[9] but not in other countries. Works distributed outside the US use the © symbol. The copyright notice must also contain the year in which the work was first published (or created), and the name of the copyright owner, which may be the author (including the legal author/owner of a work made for hire), one or more joint authors, or the person or entity to whom the copyright has been transferred. According to US copyright law the copyright notice must be affixed and positioned to give "reasonable notice of the claim of copyright".[10]

    There are slightly different technical requirements for copyright notice on phonographic recordings, specifically using a sound recording copyright symbol ("℗") instead of the "©" symbol.[11]

    Overstatement of rights[edit]

    Legal scholar Wendy Seltzer has pointed out how many organizations overstate their rights in the copyright notice. For her law class in 2007, Seltzer copied the televised copyright notice of the NFL, during the 2007 Super Bowl, using her rights under fair use. She then posted this snippet to YouTube. The NFL sent an official DMCA request to YouTube that the recording be removed. Seltzer, who had expected this, challenged the takedown, and the snippet was restored.[12] Seltzer has also posted the overreaching claims of Major League Baseball.[13]

    See also[edit]

    Notes and references[edit]

    1. ^Fries, Richard C. (2006). Reliable design of medical devices. CRC Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-8247-2375-0. Archived from the original on 2015-01-26. 
    2. ^17 USC § 1202
    3. ^17 USC §§ 401, 402, 504
    4. ^As the US Supreme Court has noted, "restored" is a misnomer. "Restored copyrights" include not only copyrights on works that have lapsed and are restored, but also new US copyrights on works that were never covered by copyright, due to failure to meet certain conditions imposed under older US copyright law (such as the notice requirement). Golan v. Holder, 565 U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 873 (2012), at 14 n.13Archived 2012-01-22 at the Wayback Machine. ("Restoration is a misnomer insofar as it implies that all works protected under § 104A previously enjoyed protection. Each work in the public domain because of lack of national eligibility or subject matter protection, and many that failed to comply with formalities, never enjoyed U. S. copyright protection.")
    5. ^17 USC § 104A
    6. ^"Second General Revision of U.S. Copyright Law Enacted by the Forty-first Congress on July 8, 1870". 1870-07-08. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. 
    7. ^"The 1874 Amendment to the Copyright Act of 1870 Enacted by the Forty-third Congress on June 18, 1874". 1874-06-18. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. 
    8. ^ US Copyright Act of 1909, Sections 18 and 19. Wikisource. 
    9. ^17 U.S.C. § 401(b)
    10. ^17 U.S.C. § 401(c)
    11. ^17 U.S.C. § 402
    12. ^Wendy's Blog: Legal Tags - My First Youtube: Super Bowl Highlights or LowlightsArchived 2016-03-11 at the Wayback Machine.
    13. ^Wendy's Blog: Legal Tags - Foul ball: Baseball’s copyright warningsArchived 2011-01-16 at the Wayback Machine.
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