The Copyright Symbol
While once required, since 1989, there is no longer a legal requirement for a copyright notice (the copyright symbol). However, placing a copyright notice on your work puts the world on notice that
you are claiming ownership.
Use of the 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 creation or first publication. This prevents anyone from copying your work and claiming they are an “innocent infringer” – saying that they didn’t know the work was protected.
A proper copyright notice consists of:
- The © Symbol.
- The Year of Creation or First Publication.
- The Copyright Owner’s Name.
The complete copyright notice would look like this:
Copyright © 2014 COPYRIGHT OWNERS NAME. All rights reserved.
Where to Place the Copyright Notice:
The copyright notice or copyright symbol would typically appear on the last page of multi-page documents, or at the bottom of single-page material. For example:
- Books: Title page, page immediately following the title page, either side of the front or back cover, first or last page of the main body of the work.
- Brochures and Sales Literature: At the bottom of the back cover or the back page.
- Ads and Posters: At the bottom of the page, usually below the logo and address.
- Sound Recordings: For recorded music, there are actually two separate copyrights, so there are special requirements for a music copyright notice.
- Artwork: The front or back of the copies, any backing, mounting, framing, or other material to
which the copies are durably attached, so as to withstand normal use.
- Newsletters: With the editorial staff information.
- Websites: In the footer, at the bottom of each web page.
- Computer Programs: With or near the title or at the end of the work, at the user’s terminal at
sign-on, reproduced durably on a label securely affixed to the copies or to a container used as a permanent case for the copies.