How to Write a Copyright Statement for a Website

By Louis Kroeck

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.

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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.

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How to Copyright a Webpage



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How to Copyright Your Entire Blog

Although your blog is protected by copyright the moment you publish it to the Web, you should consider registering your blog with the United States Copyright Office. Doing so will give you additional protection, including the right to sue and collect damages if someone infringes your content. You can copyright your entire blog as it exists on the date of registration, but subsequent updates will require additional filings. In addition to registering your copyright, placing a copyright notice on your blog will let visitors know that you are serious about protecting your rights.

How to Identify a Copyright

Identifying items that are copyrighted can help you avoid committing copyright infringement, and locating the owner of a copyright is vital if you would like to purchase a license enabling you to use a copyrighted item. The U.S. Copyright Office provides a list of registered copyrighted items and is an excellent starting point for locating copyright owners. However, an owner does not have to register copyrights to own the rights to its item, so it's vital to look for other clues that an item might be copyrighted.

How to Copyright a Quotation

Quotations are not typically copyrighted; rather, the work of which the quotation is a part of is the copyrighted work. It can be difficult to ensure that a quotation receives copyright protection because "fair use" permits excerpts of a copyrighted work to be used for limited scholarly and educational purposes. However, there are several steps authors can take to protect their quotations and, depending on the length of quotation and how it is published, they may be able to enforce their copyrights.


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