During these challenging times, we guarantee we will work tirelessly to support you. We will continue to give you accurate and timely information throughout the crisis, and we will deliver on our mission — to help everyone in the world learn how to do anything — no matter what.
Thank you to our community and to all of our readers who are working to aid others in this time of crisis, and to all of those who are making personal sacrifices for the good of their communities. We will get through this together. Updated: March 29, Reader-Approved References. A copyright notice is a notation placed on a work that is protected by copyright. You have probably seen a copyright notice on books, music albums, videos, and artwork, which are all eligible for copyright protection.
For example, once you have finished creating a painting, you have copyright protection of the painting. Nevertheless, there are advantages to registering with the Copyright Office, so consider registering. To make a copyright notice, start by including the appropriate copyright symbol, which is a "C" inside of a circle or a "P" inside of a circle if you're copyrighting a sound recording.
Then, identify the year that your work was published, followed by your name.
Article Edit.A copyright notice or copyright symbol is an identifier placed on copies of the work to inform the world of copyright ownership. While the use of a copyright notice was once required as a condition of copyright protection, it is now optional. Use of the copyright notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with the Copyright Office.
Because prior law did contain such a requirement, however, the use of a copyright notice or copyright symbol is still relevant to the copyright status of older works. The copyright notice was required under the Copyright Act. This requirement was eliminated when the United States adhered to the Berne Convention, effective March 1, Although works published without copyright notice before that date could have entered the public domain in the United States, the Uruguay Round Agreements Act URAA restores copyright in certain foreign works originally published without copyright notice.
Use of the copyright notice may be important because it informs the public that the 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 a proper notice of copyright appears on the published copy or copies to which a defendant in a copyright infringement suit had access, then no weight shall be given to such a defendant's defense based on innocent infringement.
Innocent infringement occurs when the infringer did not realize that the work was protected. The use of the copyright notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office.
Certain kinds of works, for example, musical, dramatic, and literary works may be fixed not in copies but by means of sound in an audio recording.
Since audio recordings such as audio tapes and phonograph disks 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. Sound recordings are defined in the law 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 audiovisual work.
Common examples include recordings of music, drama, or lectures. A sound recording is not the same as a phonorecord. A phonorecord is a physical object in which works of authorship are embodied. The word "phonorecord" includes cassette tapesCDs, records, as well as other formats.
The notice for phonorecords embodying a sound recording should contain all the following three elements:. The copyright notice should be affixed to copies or phonorecords in such a way as to give reasonable notice of the claim of copyright. The three elements of the notice should ordinarily appear together on the copies or phonorecords or on the phonorecord label or container. Since questions may arise from the use of variant forms of the notice, you may wish to seek legal advice before using any other form of the notice.Especially if no notice is required for copyright protection?
Having to assign a year to a copyright notice makes things rather confusing in online media. For instance, In a blog or any other site where fresh content regularly appears, there typically is a date assigned to each item at least in the metadata, if not displayed.
But then… there generally is a visible copyright notice that appears throughout the site and is managed by a template. My colleague Steve Outing recently reminded his readers to update the year in their online copyright notice. This made me wonder whether a year is really a legal requirement.
So I looked it up. The notice for visually perceptible copies should contain three elements. They should appear together or in close proximity on the copies.
The elements are:. However, the Copyright Office also says that any work of intellectual property is automatically considered copyrighted from the moment it is created. Therefore, no notice or registration is necessary in order to claim copyright for a work:. But even the government acknowledges that this is a legal formality, not a prerequisite for copyright protection.
Seems to me that this is a case where, once again, media-related law has fallen drastically behind the current state of media. This is why my copyright notice for this site see the right-hand sidebar of any page on Contentious does not include a year. Every item I post to this blog is displayed with the date of publication.
Even better: A dateless copyright notice means I have one less picky task to perform every January. I suppose the idea is that printing the year of first publication helps one determine when the copyright in that work will expire. However, it makes less sense now that copyright runs for such a ridiculously long time and its expiration in the case of an individual rather than a corporate author is keyed to when the original author died.
My marketing intention of updating the copyright YEAR is to increase the trust factor — it says the site is still alive albeit, since the first of the year.
Skip to Main Content - Keyboard Accessible
But in Web 2. A current copyright year just tells me that the site is still alive…but little else. Today, blogs are date-stamped, so is the copyright YEAR a thing of the past?
BTW, the static sales sites are going to dry up pretty soon. Why have a static sales microsite when you can build a site on the free WordPress platform: and gain better visibility on the search engines, get feedback on your site and products, get reviewed, etc. Viewed from a Web 2. Registration is not simply a formality.
As the Copyright Office says, it puts the facts on the public record, may enable you to collect statutory damages and attorney fees in a dispute, and can if done within 5 years of publication serve as prima facie evidence in court. If I understand that last, then the infringer would have a much higher barrier in order to prove non-infringement or prior creation.
Under the Universal Copyright Convention, you should use the copyright symbol and not the word copyright to guarantee protection in all UCC member countries. Your own work is protected for your lifetime plus 70 years. As I understand it, you need the year with the copyright symbol because that determines how long your copyright lasts, regardless of when the original work was created.
It would also determine when you should renew the copyright. However, renewal is now optional under Public Lawenacted June 26, — if your copyright was created between January 1, and December 31, As with many federal laws, it gets convoluted and confusing.Frequently asked questions to help you protect your creative work and avoid infringing the rights of others.
Until March 1,a published work had to contain a valid copyright notice to receive protection under the copyright laws. But this requirement is no longer in force — works first published after March 1,need not include a copyright notice to gain protection under the law. This makes it easier to win a copyright infringement case and perhaps collect enough damages to make the cost of the case worthwhile. And the very existence of a copyright notice might discourage infringement.
Finally, including a copyright notice may make it easier for someone to track down a copyright owner and legitimately obtain permission to use the work.
In the United States, a copyright owner can significantly enhance the protection afforded by copyright. This is done by registering the copyright with the U. Copyright Office. Then apply the following rules to see if the copyright has expired:. Call the Records, Research, and Certification Section at You can also hire a private copyright search firm to see if a renewal was filed. Finally, you may be able to conduct a renewal search yourself.
Renewal searches can be conducted at the Copyright Office in Washington D. With one important exception, you should assume that every work is protected by copyright unless you can establish that it is not. And even for works published beforethe absence of a copyright notice may not affect the validity of the copyright — for example, if the author made diligent attempts to correct the situation.
For example, scholars must be free to quote from their research resources in order to comment on the material.
The fair use statute requires the courts to consider the following questions in deciding this issue:. Ignore Heading — Content Contents 1 What role does a copyright notice play?
Avatars by Sterling Adventures.In United States copyright lawa copyright notice is a notice of statutorily prescribed form that informs users of the underlying claim to copyright ownership in a published work.Copyright, Exceptions, and Fair Use: Crash Course Intellectual Property #3
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,use of the copyright notice is optional. Before March 1,the use of the notice was mandatory on all published works. Omitting the notice on any work first published from January 1,to February 28,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,are governed by the 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. Section 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.
The notice for visually perceptible copies should contain all three elements described below. They should appear together or in close proximity on the copies. The copyright notice for phonorecords embodying a sound recording is different from that for other works. 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 45saudiotapes, cassettes, or discs.
The notice should contain the following three elements appearing together on the phonorecord. The Copyright Office has issued regulations concerning the position of the notice and methods of affixation.
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. A copyright notice may still be used as a deterrent against infringementor as a notice that the owner intends on holding their claim to copyright. 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.
Certain foreign works published in the US without copyright notice prior towhich made them public domainhave had their copyrights "restored"  under the Uruguay Round Agreements Actprovided the rights had not already expired in their country of original publication prior to Under the law, in effect untilthe notice for printed literary, musical, or dramatics works had to contain the name of the author, the year, and "Copyright" or "Copr.
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. Under the 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. According to US copyright law the copyright notice must be affixed and positioned to give "reasonable notice of the claim of copyright". Legal scholar Wendy Seltzer has pointed out how many organizations overstate their rights in their copyright notices. She then posted this snippet to YouTube.
Copyright Notice and the Use of the Copyright Symbol
Seltzer, who had expected this, challenged the takedown, and the snippet was restored.A requirement that the public be given formal notice of every work in which copyright is claimed was a part of the first U.
Under the present law the copyright notice serves four principal functions:. Ranged against these values of a notice requirement are its burdens and unfairness to copyright owners. One of the strongest arguments for revision of the present statute has been the need to avoid the arbitrary and unjust forfeitures now resulting from unintentional or relatively unimportant omissions or errors in the copyright notice.
It has been contended that the disadvantages of the notice requirement outweigh its values and that it should therefore be eliminated or substantially liberalized. The fundamental principle underlying the notice provisions of the bill is that the copyright notice has real values which should be preserved, and that this should be done by inducing use of notice without causing outright forfeiture for errors or omissions.
Subject to certain safeguards for innocent infringers, protection would not be lost by the complete omission of copyright notice from large numbers of copies or from a whole edition, if registration for the work is made before or within 5 years after publication. Errors in the name or date in the notice could be corrected without forfeiture of copyright. And, as indicated above, the public display of a work of art would not require that a copyright notice be placed on the copy displayed.
The values of notice are fully applicable to foreign editions of works copyrighted in the United States, especially with the increased flow of intellectual materials across national boundaries, and the gains in the use of notice on editions published abroad under the Universal Copyright Convention should not be wiped out. The consequences of omissions or mistakes with respect to the notice are far less serious under the bill than under the present law, and section a makes doubly clear that a copyright owner may guard himself against errors or omissions by others if he makes use of the prescribed notice an express condition of his publishing licenses.
The year of publication, which is still significant in computing the term and determining the status of a work, is required for all categories of copyrightable works. Amendment by Pub.
Please help us improve our site! No thank you. LII U. Code Title Notice of copyright: Visually perceptible copies. Code Notes prev next. The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying text matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or any useful articles; and. The Register of Copyrights shall prescribe by regulation, as examples, specific methods of affixation and positions of the notice on various types of works that will satisfy this requirement, but these specifications shall not be considered exhaustive.
Historical and Revision Notes. Under the present law the copyright notice serves four principal functions: 1 It has the effect of placing in the public domain a substantial body of published material that no one is interested in copyrighting; 2 It informs the public as to whether a particular work is copyrighted; 3 It identifies the copyright owner; and 4 It shows the date of publication.
Amendments —Subsec. Effective Date of Amendment Amendment by Pub. However, in the case of a work published before January 1,compliance with the notice provisions of title 17 either as it existed on December 31,or as amended by the first section of this Act, is adequate with respect to copies publicly distributed after December 31, All remaining works will be removed from the claim; to register those works you will need to resubmit them using an appropriate application form.
Welcome to the Registration Portal. This is your starting point for all things related to the registration of copyrights. Choose a category below to find out more about the different works typically registered with the U. Copyright Office. On July 17,the U. Copyright Office implemented an online application requirement for supplementary registration. In most cases, applicants are now required to submit an online application in order to correct or amplify the information set forth in a basic registration.
The Office will accept a Form CA only to correct or amplify a renewal registration, GATT registration, or group registration for nonphotographic databases. If an applicant attempts to use a paper application to supplement any other type of registration, the Office will require the applicant to re-submit the application online, requiring payment of a new filing fee.
This delay will affect the effective date of registration. On July 31,the U. Copyright Office implemented an online application requirement for group registration of contributions to periodicals. Applicants are now required to submit an online application in order to register a claim in a group of contributions to periodicals, such as articles, photographs, illustrations published in a newspaper, magazine, or journal.
If an applicant attempts to use a paper application to register a group of contributions to periodicals, the Office will require the applicant to re-submit the application online, requiring the payment of a new filing fee. More information about this registration procedure and a tutorial may be found here. Toggle navigation.