How Should I Display My Copyright on a Website?

We’re often asked how to properly display a copyright message on a website. The major content publishing sites all post some sort of copyright message in the footer of their websites, how should a small business go about marking their unique content as copyrighted?

The most important fact to know is that a copyright notice on a website is unnecessary. The U.S. Copyright Office offers its “protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.”

The Copyright Office does, however, recommend registration (even on websites) if you should require protection in a court of law. The registration of your copyright makes it more difficult for the infringing party to claim innocence.

Acceptable Ways to Display

There are four ways to display your copyright on your website. They are:

  1. Copyright 2013 Southern Web Group, LLC
  2. Copyright 2005-2013 Southern Web Group, LLC
  3. © 2013 Southern Web Group, LLC
  4. © 2005-2013 Southern Web Group, LLC

And here are a few of the rules:

  1. Use the “copyright” or ©, but you needn’t use both.
  2. There is no period between the date and the organization or person who claims the copyright.
  3. If your website contains material that was created in previous years, you may want to opt to use a date range in the copyright notice.

This goes without saying, but this blog post (or any blog post for that matter), should not substitute for the advice of your attorney. If you’re in doubt or have more detailed questions about your own work, we recommend that you consult a lawyer.

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