Do you need a copyright notice on your website for your work to be copyrighted and protected? The simple answer is no, but it’s to your advantage to include it.
Do you need a federal copyright registration to use the copyright symbol? No.
As of March 1, 1989, U.S. law no longer requires the use of a copyright notice, but it can still be beneficial for you to include it should a legal dispute arise later. Prior law did, however, contain such a requirement, and the use of a notice is still relevant to the copyright status of older works.
The proper copyright notice should contain ALL three elements described below and should be written in close proximity:
- The symbol © (the letter “C” in a circle); the word “Copyright”; or the abbreviation “Copr.”; AND
- The year of first publication of the work; AND
- The name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner.
For websites and blogs, it is common to post a range of years to reflect the regular revisions and updates. The “start” year should be the date of the oldest content still contained on the website and the “end” year should be the last year that the work was revised (which is often the current year).
For example, three (of many) acceptable copyright notices for the blog, The Cultureur are:
- © 2012-2017 The Cultureur
- © 2012-2017 Nyssa P. Chopra
- Copyright 2012-2017 The Cultureur