How to Write a Copyright Statement

By Cindy Hill

Copyright protects the economic value of creative works by ensuring that only the person who created it can reproduce or sell it for many years. A visible copyright notice tells viewers that the work is protected by copyright and makes enforcement of copyrights easier, although you cannot bring enforcement litigation without also registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Write a clear copyright statement for placement on your creative works to tell the world that you created it and will protect your copyright.

Literary and Artistic Works

Step 1

Create the image of a letter "C" inside a circle by whatever means is appropriate for the media in which you are working. For writings, type this on your typewriter or word processor; for paintings or sculptures, paint or engrave the image in an appropriate location on the painting or sculpture.

Step 2

Add the year in which the work was first published, created or released, in Arabic numerals, such as "2007" or "2011."

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Step 3

Add the full name of the individual who owns the copyright next to the year. Check to ensure that this is stated exactly the same as the name on the copyright registration at the U.S. Copyright Office, if the copyright for the work has been registered.


Step 1

Place the copyright notice statement for a musical or theatrical performance on the phonorecord -- audiocassette, compact disc -- of that performance. On the label for the phonorecord or tangible recording of the performance, place the letter P inside a circle.

Step 2

Place the year of performance adjacent to the encircled letter P.

Step 3

State the full name of the person who holds the copyright for the performance adjacent to the year of performance. Check to ensure that this has been expressed exactly the same as the name of the copyright owner on the U.S. Copyright Office registration, if any.

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How to Word a Copyright Notice for a Screenplay


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