Do you publish some sort of work?
Use our 5 copyright notice examples better protect it.
What is a copyright notice?
A copyright notice is a short statement that illustrates the copyright ownership of a work. This line of text informs the user that the entire work belongs to a particular owner.
These notices are found everywhere, from books, websites to CDs, movies, and more.
Copyright is a law that protects the originality of the work, i.e., the law prohibits other people from duplicating, changing, or reusing the material without proper permission from the author. It protects the work’s authority with the original owner.
A copyright notice used in an original work will notify the people that the work is copyright protected.
The notice depends on the copyright owner and does not require permission or registration with the Copyright Office.
Simply put, copyright laws are applied automatically, and you do not need any form of registration to be copyright protected.
The copyright text covers the information that helps people to know who the copyright owner is and the year in which he/she first published the work.
In case of an infringement of a creation that carries proper copyright notice, the court will not value the defendant’s innocent clause - where the defendant claims that he/she did not know the work was copyright protected.
Why should you create a copyright text?
It would be best if you created copyright notice to let the people know that the work you’ve published belongs to you as the original author, and they cannot copy, duplicate, or make changes to your work.
A copyright notice deters people from violating any of the copyright laws.
As per copyright law, you do need to register your work or display a copyright notice on your work. However, doing so helps you protect your work legally.
Once your original work is made public with a copyright statement, it will disallow people from replicating or modifying your original work.
Benefits of including a copyright text in your work include:
- People are made aware that the material is copyright protected.
- You have the upper hand in case of infringement as the copyright notice will prevent a defendant claiming his/her innocence to the charge and limiting his/her damages.
- For people seeking permission to use the work, the notice identifies the copyright owner when he/she first published the work.
- The copyright notice identifies the year of the first publication of the work. It determines the term of copyright protection when the original author provides permission to people to use his/her work.
- The notice will always identify its original author and year of publication; therefore, preventing it from becoming an orphan work (a work without a claimant).
Registration of copyright isn’t necessary. However, registering your work can help you gain a significant advantage during infringements. To register, you can visit here.
What are the components of a copyright notice?
There are four main elements of the copyright statement:
- The word “copyright” or its © symbol
- The year of publication
- The author’s name
- The statements of rights
The statement of rights isn’t essential as the copyright notice will reserve all your rights automatically. Therefore, the “All rights reserved” message might be redundant—however, the clearer the rights, the better.
Let’s look at the elements of a copyright text in detail:
1. The copyright symbol ©
The copyright symbol - the letter C in a circle - is a universally accepted symbol for copyright.
To copyright your material, you can use this symbol © or use the word “Copyright.” However, most people choose to go with the symbol © as it is highly recognizable and is concise.
2. The year of publication
The copyright date is the year of publication.
If a work covers several years, use a range of years, like “2002-2018.”
There is no need for dates nor months. Only mention the year in the copyright date space.
For example, if you created a website in 2015 and are making changes to its content, the copyright date will look like 2015-2020.
For websites, show the year in which it became public.
The copyright date entirely depends on the nature of your work.
3. The author’s name
The copyrighted name is associated with the original author’s name.
It can be your name, the name of your company/business/organization, your pseudonym, or anything that appropriately designates the copyright holder.
The name mentioned here will let people know who is the owner of the work and who to contact if you would like to use his/her/their work.
4. The statement of rights
The statement of rights lets people know the rights you hold for the work published.
There are three types:
(i) All Rights Reserved - where all the rights to use/edit/modify your work is with the copyright holder. This statement is highly common: we see it in a majority of the copyrighted material.
(ii) Some Rights Reserved - this is mostly used works with Creative Commons Licensing. You let people use your work under certain clauses.
Here are 2 example clauses: full attribution for the work used no alterations to your work
(iii) No Rights Reserved - You have complete ownership of the work, but people are free to use it with no restrictions. This statement is perfect for work dedicated to the public domain.
How do you write a copyright statement?
Writing a copyright notice will hardly take you a minute.
Here are 5 steps to create a good copyright text:
1. Determine the eligibility of your work for copyright protection
Copyright law does not protect all works. Patents and other mediums protect certain works. Your work must be original too.
2. Extent of protection
Determine the scope of protection you need. If you want to protect the entirety of your work, then you can choose “All Rights Reserved.” You can grant some permissions to use your work with restrictions or clauses with “Some Rights Reserved.” The “No Rights Reserved” will determine your work as a free-for-all.
3. Symbols and placements:
You need to place the copyright symbol © or write “Copyright” at the beginning of your copyright notice.
This symbol declares that your work is copyright protected.
To create the symbol, you can use ”©” if you are using HTML.
For documents, you can hit the ALT key followed by 0169 on Windows, and Option+G on Mac, to create the copyright symbol.
The year in which the material was made public follows the copyright symbol. For constantly updated work, the date range needs to be updated as well. For works using WordPress, you can apply a code to update your copyright notice year automatically.
4. Registering your copyright:
Though copyright registration isn’t necessary, you can still register with the relevant authorities to imprint your work with copyright.
This will also help you save your work during legal troubles like copyright infringement.
The placement of your copyright notice should be “visually perceptible.” It should be easy to be seen and read.
Your copyright notice should not be hidden from view.
Its placement will depend on the type of work: websites have their notices in the footer, books have it on their front page.
5 Copyright notice examples:
You can copy-paste these examples to make your own copyright notices in no time.
Just make sure you are entering your own details.
Example 1. Copyright © 2019 My Company All Rights Reserved
You declare that your company owns all the right of the work published.
The copyright symbol followed by the year means that the work was published first in 2019. “All Rights Reserved” means that you own all the copyrights.
Example 2. © 2019 My Company
This example is sufficient to let people know that your work is protected by copyright.
Without mentioning the statement of rights, your work will still be protected under “All Rights Reserved.”
Example 3. © 2011-2020 My Company Some Rights Reserved
This copyright notice example shows that you first published your work back in 2011. You have been updating it over the years to this day, hence the year 2011 to 2020.
The “Some Rights Reserved” help the people know they can use your work with certain conditions applied. This right is a common example on stock photo websites.
Example 4. (c) 2019 mycompany.com No Rights Reserved
Here, you have published your website in 2019 and is copyright protected since then.
Even when not mentioning the symbol, the letter ‘C’ in brackets can be used for copyright notices.
The “No Rights Reserved” means your material can be used by anyone.
“Copyright © 2010 by Name Surname
All rights reserved.
This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Printed in India
First Printing, 2010
Major Company Publishing
123 Minor Street
Mumbai, IND 00000
This detailed copyright notice would be used in a published book.
This copyright notice will do its job and provide interested people with the details required to contact you for questions related to publishing.
The bottom line
When you create something original, something unique, you are already protected by copyright.
The copyright notice will provide an extra layer of protection.
It lets people know you are the work owner. It also tells them how protected your material is.