Does my website need a copyright notice?

Jan 4, 2017

Topic:  Website
Time Investment: 12 Minutes
Suggested Product: Online Marketing Bundle

You’ve seen them in the footers, sidebars, and maybe even in blog posts.  Copyright notices are published in a variety of manners, such as TheLawTog Copyright 2014-2017 or TheLawTog © 2017 or 2017 © TheLawTog.  Even where they are placed varies depending on the site you visit.

But what is legal?  Do we have to do this?  Do we have to continually update it?  Good news for you – TheLawTog has the quick and easy on this.


Do I have to give copyright notice?

No.  The good news is, under United States law, you don’t HAVE to give copyright notice.  However, it is recommended to submit for formal copyright and affix notice to your intellectual property for multiple reasons.

First, it may help deter infringement of your intellectual property especially for those that don’t understand how copyright works.  They see this legal tool as a protection barrier to your content.  Unfortunately, others just ignore it, but it may help to deter some.

Second, it can help to elevate damages received should legal action be taken against an infringer.  In law, there is an available defense of “innocent infringer”.  For individuals or companies that try to use this defense, you can preventatively combat it by affixing this notice.

Lastly, affixing a copyright notice has no monetary outlay.  Sure, it may take up a small amount of webspace, but it can greatly assist any copyright infringement arguments that may come down the line.


What should the notice have?

  • Name of publisher
  • Date of publication
  • Copyright symbol ©, the word Copyright or an accepted variation thereof


Do I have to update these notices?

It is recommended to update your notices on all websites to cover the content being published after the existing date. For example, if your copyright notice has a date range of 2009-2010 but then you published in 2011 – you’ve failed to include the date as required for the notice, as outlined above.

So bottom line.. no it isn’t required, but it is highly recommended.


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