Take a moment to pull up your website and scroll to the bottom of the page. Do you have a copyright notice in the footer? Is the current year listed?
If the answer to either of these questions is “no”, now is the perfect time to check this important task off your to-do list.
What a Copyright Notice Does and Does Not Do
All of the unique content on your website is protected by copyright the moment it’s created. You don’t need to file an application with the government to receive such rights; they are automatic. But, if you do ever find the need to go after an infringer, you will need a registered copyright in order to do so.
So, what’s the point of having the copyright notice on your site? A copyright notice on your website generally gives no extra rights, nor does it carry any additional legal weight. And you aren’t even required to have one though it did used to be a requirement under prior versions of the Copyright Act. What a copyright notice does do, however, is put potential infringers on notice of your rights. If you have to go after an offending party for theft or plagiarism in the future, it’s exponentially harder for them to claim ignorance of your copyright when you have it plastered across every page of your website. The notice may also simply act as a deterrent that could help prevent theft and avoid confrontational legal situations or lawsuits.
Likewise, having an updated copyright notice conveys a level of authority and trust; it alerts any user that the website is consistently being updated and maintained and therefore carries a level of credibility that perhaps competitor sites do not have. For example, if you were thinking of purchasing a product from a website that had an old copyright notice in the footer from 2005, you may worry that the information you were seeing was out-of-date or no longer relevant to your needs.
How to Create a Copyright Notice
Creating a copyright notice for your website it easy. Just plug your business or site name into the place of “ABC, Inc.” in the text below:
© 2019 ABC, Inc. All Rights Reserved
You can also include the date from which you started creating content for your site if you want to show longevity or again, convey a level of authority. It would look like this:
© 2005-2019 ABC, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Again, most people will insert their copyright notice into the footer of their site so that it displays on every page. There are website plugins available that will allow you to easily update your footer, or you can simply send the text to your webmaster and ask that it be added. A formal copyright page for the site is not necessary unless you want to clarify more complicated copyright issues, such as the existence of a joint copyright.
Getting Organized in The New Year
Updating the copyright notice on your website is one of many steps that we recommend our clients take at the start of each new year. If this is the first time you’ve thought about getting your intellectual property organized and in order, we’d be happy to share more strategies to help you protect your business and/or brand in 2020. To schedule a New Year’s Audit with our intellectual property attorneys, simply call 888-666-0062.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.