Do I need to put a copyright notice on my work?

Do I need to put a copyright notice on my work? 

No. Although years ago the law required a work to have;a valid copyright notice;printed on it to receive protection on published work, this is no longer the case. Adding the symbol or any other copyright notice is no longer necessary to receive protection. Now, you receive absolute protection as soon as you create your work. You don’t need to take any other action or go through the official registration process;if you don’t want to. As soon as you create any creative work that meets the minimal standards for copyright protection then you get protection.
 
Creators who want to reuse certain works shouldn’t simply feel free to copy works just because they don’t have a copyright notice. Instead, they should consider getting a license to copy or reuse the work, or they should reuse the work according to the guidelines of Fair Use.
 
Even though it’s not required, there are two good reasons why it’s still a good idea to put a copyright notice on your work, especially if you plan on using your work commercially or if you’re concerned about someone infringing on your work.
 
1. Putting a notice on your work informs people that your work is copyrighted. Often people don’t fully understand what is and isn’t copyrightedSome people even think that everything on the Internet is public domain.
 
2. Putting a notice on your work may help establish willful infringement.
 
 
 
Formal requirements for notice
 
If you do decide that you want to put a copyright notice on your work, there are three requirements to make a valid notice:
 
1. The © symbol (in some cases (c) is substituted), the word "Copyright" or abbreviation "Copr."
 
2. The first year of publication.
 
3. The name of the owner of the copyright should be identified.
 
For example: © 2007 John Doe 
 
The three requirements you need to follow to give valid notice of a sound recording (a phonorecord) are very similar:
 
1. The symbol ℗.
 
2. The year of first publication of the sound recording.
 
3. The name of the owner of copyright in the sound recording, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner. If the producer of the sound recording is named on the phonorecord label or container and if no other name appears in conjunction with the notice, the producer's name shall be considered a part of the notice. 
 
Example: ℗ 2007 A. B. C. Records Inc. 
 
NOTE: Since questions may arise from the use of variant forms of the notice, you may wish to seek legal advice before using any form of the notice other than those given here. 
 
Position of Notice 
 
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. The Copyright Office has issued regulations concerning the form and position of the copyright notice in the Code of Federal Regulations. For more information, see The US government’s website on copyright notice
 
Publications Incorporating U. S. Government Works 
 
Copyright notice becomes stranger when the work you made may not be entirely yours. For example, what happens if you decide to base your work partially on one of the public domain documents made by the federal government?
 
Works by the Federal government are not eligible in the United States.
 
Works published before March 1, 1989, required that an author give special notice that a work consisted primarily of one or more U. S. Government works. This requirement has been eliminated. 
 
Just like earlier, notice is good to include even when using government works because it allows you to defend against claims of innocent infringement and helps clarify for readers which portions of your work are protected and what parts are strictly public domain material from the government. 
 
Example: © 2007 Jane Brown. Copyright claimed in Chapters 7-10, exclusive of U. S. Government maps 
 
One website suggests that “The author or copyright owner may wish to place a copyright notice on any unpublished copies or phonorecords that leave his or her control.”
 
Example: Unpublished work © 1999 Jane Doe 
 
The notice informs a person of three things:
 
1. The work has copyright protection.
 
2. Who the copyright owner is.
 
3. The year the work was first published.
 
Additionally, in the event that a case of infringement goes to court, the person accused of infringing won’t have much of a case for claiming “innocent infringement” (not realizing the work was protected) if there’s a clear notice of copyright protection present on the work.
 
What is "notice?"
 
Notice of copyright means informing the public, or putting the public on notice, that the work is protected by copyright. It also identifies the copyright owner and the year of first publication. Although the use of copyright notice is no longer required under United States copyright law, it is still a very relevant and important issue in copyright law. Its relevancy is due in large part to the fact that notice of copyright prevents an alleged copyright infringer from asserting innocent infringement as a defense. 
 
To give notice, an author doesn’t have to get permission from or register with the United States Copyright Office. However, registering with the Copyright Office gives what is called “constructive notice” to the work, which means that an infringer will be presumed as knowing that the work being infringed upon is copyrighted, once again protecting from innocent infringement.
 
Notices should appear on copies of a work and include the following:
 
1. The symbol © (the letter C in a circle) or the word "Copyright."
 
2. The year of first publication of the work.
 
3. The name of the copyright owner, in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized.
 
An example of the three elements of copyright notice above is: © 2002 Jane Doe
 
Consult “What is the symbol for copyright?” to learn more about how to create the various copyright symbols on your keyboard and their significance.
 
If you have questions regarding whether you need to place a copyright notice on your work or how to correctly comply with the notice requirements, feel free to contact New Media Rights via our contact form to find out whether you qualify for free or reduced fee legal services. We also offer competitive full fee legal services on a selective basis. For more information on the services we provide click here.

 

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