IP Basics: What is a copyright notice?

As mentioned in a previous IP basics article, a copyright notice is a good way of making sure others are aware of your copyright ownership. However, its important you are clear exactly what a copyright notice is to enable you to use it to its full effect.

A copyright notice is a short line of text which accompanies any copyright protected work which makes clear the rights of the owner. The copyright notice should include the name of the owner (either an individual or company name) and the year on which the work was created or published.

The reason to include a copyright notice is to ensure it is evident to anyone viewing the works that you are the owner and the work is not free for the public to use. In addition, by making it clear the work is protected by copyright, if anyone is to then use the work or copy it without your permission, there is no chance of them denying that they knew the work was not free to use.

In terms of what the copyright notice should look like, the following is an example

Copyright © 2020 Lawdit Solicitors Limited

This should be placed where it can be easily viewed on works, e.g. at the bottom of a photograph, in the first cover of a book, on the back of CD and on the front of a document.

In addition to this, you can also include a statement as to whether the works can be used or not, or whether any person needs to contact you as the copyright owner before using the work. Most commonly, ‘all rights reserved’ is included to indicate the work cannot be used without permission.

It is highly recommended that you consider including a copyright notice on your work, as it is a straightforward and quick step and could save you the hassle of infringement action further down the line.

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