How to Write a Copyright Statement for a Website

by Louis Kroeck Google
    Copyright will only protect the look and feel of your website.

    Copyright will only protect the look and feel of your website.

    Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

    Drafting a copyright statement for your website is important, because it gives visitors notice that your website should not be reproduced or otherwise copied without your permission. Although a copyright notice is not technically required in order to be protected under copyright law, it is still a good protective measure for deterring infringement and identifying the right holder.

    Basic Notice

    It is a good idea to place a basic notice at the bottom of all of the pages of your website. This basic notice should contain the following information: the word "copyright," the universal copyright symbol ©, your name or the name of the company that holds the copyright and the year of publication. It is common for some websites to list a range of years for the publication year, because many sites are constantly changing.

    Advanced Notice

    It is also important to give more detailed information explaining to visitors how materials on your site may be used. This information is most commonly placed in a website's Terms of Use section. Your copyright statement should include what country your copyright originates from, how materials displayed on your site may be used by third parties, how you would like to be recognized if your work is used and a listing of any copyrighted material on your site that may be attributed to other individuals.

    DMCA

    In addition to a copyright statement, you should provide a statement in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. Your DMCA statement should include the name and address of the authorized agent for your website, how you would prefer to be notified if others believe that their copyrights are being violated by your website and a detailed explanation of what information you would like to have provided by the complaining party. A DMCA compliance notice is also generally placed in a website's Terms of Use.

    Other Considerations

    If you will be allowing third-party visitors to your website to post information or digital media, it is very important that you draft a statement that visitors should not post information that is copyrighted by third parties. As the website owner, it is possible to incur liability for information that other people post to your website. For example, if a visitor posted a comment containing a copyrighted picture, you could be liable to the copyright holder. In your terms of use you should state that anyone visiting your website is solely responsible for the information that they post and that any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited. You should also state that you are not responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded to your website by third parties.

    About the Author

    Louis Kroeck started writing professionally under the direction of Andrew Samtoy from the "Cleveland Sandwich Board" in 2006. Kroeck is an attorney out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania specializing in civil litigation, intellectual property law and entertainment law. He has a B.S from the Pennsylvania State University in information science technology and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images