How Do I Correctly Format a Copyright?

By Robin Elizabeth Margolis

A correctly formatted copyright notice on your literary, musical, dramatic or other artistic work shows the public that your work is protected, identifies you as the owner of the work, and ensures that if anyone attempts to publish your work without your permission, that person cannot claim that his infringement of your copyright was innocent.

A correctly formatted copyright notice on your literary, musical, dramatic or other artistic work shows the public that your work is protected, identifies you as the owner of the work, and ensures that if anyone attempts to publish your work without your permission, that person cannot claim that his infringement of your copyright was innocent.

Step 1

Start your copyright notice with the lower-case letter "c" with a parenthesis on either side of the "c," forming this symbol: "(c)." You may also use the symbol of a "c" with a circle around it or the word "Copyright."

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now

Step 2

Insert a space after the "(c)" symbol and put in the current year in numerals, as in "2011." If this is a new edition of a work you published in an earlier year, you should also insert the earlier year, followed by a comma and a space, and then put in the current year, as in "2000, 2011."

Step 3

Insert a space after the current year and type in your legal name. Your final copyright notice should appear in this format: "(c) 2011 Jane Doe." If you have a co-author, that person's name will appear attached to yours by the word "and," as in "Jane Doe and Richard Jones."

Step 4

You may also add the phrase "All rights reserved" to your copyright notice. Although this phrase is no longer legally required, it continues to appear in almost all copyright notices. Your notice will then read: "All rights reserved (c) 2011 Jane Doe."

Step 5

Protect an unpublished work by placing the following copyright notice on it: "Unpublished work (c) 2011 Jane Doe."

Step 6

Place the copyright notice of a book on the back of the title page. Other acceptable locations include the front of the title page, the first or last page of the main body of the book, and either side of the front or back cover. Acceptable locations vary for other products such as software programs, motion pictures and websites.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now
How to Word a Copyright Notice for a Screenplay

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Copyright a Book Excerpt on a Web Page

In most cases, an excerpt of a book cannot be copyrighted separately from the book itself. If you publish the excerpt on a Web page, however, you can publish an accompanying notice of the book's copyright on the page. You can do this whether or not you own the copyright to the book. One caveat to keep in mind is that if you are not the copyright holder, you must ensure that your use of the excerpt is within the fair use doctrine outlined in federal copyright law.

How to Copyright a Jingle

A jingle automatically qualifies for basic copyright protection the instant it is created and fixed in a tangible form. The copyright applies to the jingle lyrics, melody, musical composition, sound recordings and musical performances. Copyrights cover all original work of authorship created by a single creator or multiple creators. Jingles often require the collaboration of multiple creators, who potentially work for an advertising company or large corporation. The company owns the copyrights of a jingle created through the collaboration of its employees, unless otherwise negotiated.

What Is a Copyright Statement?

A copyright statement, normally referred to in the United States as a copyright notice, is a short statement affixed to a published work of authorship such as a book or a music CD. Its function is to notify the public that the work is copyrighted and to provide information about the copyright holder. A copyright notice should be conspicuously displayed on the work and properly formatted.

Related articles

How to Make a Copyright Page

The copyright page is where the publisher places all the legal notices and information related to a book. If you are ...

Examples of How to Correctly Use the Copyright Symbol

The familiar copyright symbol -- a "c" in a circle or © -- is one part of a copyright notice placed on ...

How Do I Apply for Copyrights in Nevada?

Federal copyright law applies to all 50 states, and the process of registering a copyright is the same for Nevada ...

How to Copyright Pictures

Pictures, either created as artwork or taken with a camera, can have their copyrights registered with the U.S. ...

Browse by category