What Is a Copyright Notice and Do You Need To Add It To Your Content?
While the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other copyright laws guarantee you full protection as soon as you put your work in a tangible form, it's generally recommended to administer additional measures against copyright infringement.
One of those measures is placing a copyright notice on your content.
What Is the Copyright Notice Definition?
Since digital content enjoys the DMCA protection, a copyright notice is no longer necessary for your work to be protected, but it wasn't always like that.
For any work published before March 1, 1989, a copyright notice was mandatory, or else the content could become a public domain—free for use.
Today, it's up to you to add this layer of extra protection for your content.
Copyright notice is pretty much what it sounds like—a written declaration that you can place on a website, book, video, or any piece of content, stating that you own that copyright.
Even if it's not mandatory, there are a few reasons why you may want to include a copyright notice:
- It may discourage potential content thieves
- If someone does steal your content, they cannot claim they were unaware it was copyrighted
- If someone wants a license to your content, they can find you because the notice identifies the copyright owner and the year of publication
What Is the Proper Copyright Notice Format?
As with most copyright-related matters, copyright notice doesn't have a predetermined format, but the law does instigate a strict set of guidelines as to what should a copyright notice include.
The copyright notice should look something like this: © 2020 John Doe.
There are three components of copyright notice:
The Copyright Symbol
The Year of Publication
The Copyright Owner's Name
Where Should the Copyright Notice Go?
The placement of the copyright notice depends on the type of work you want to protect.
Here are the examples of how to properly display a copyright notice on a :
- Website—Add a copyright notice to the footer of the home page
- Book—Place the notice on one of the cover pages, the title page, page following the title page, or on the first or last page of the main text
- Sound recording—Include the Ⓟ symbol and place the notice on the label, cover, or container of the recording
How Else Can You Protect Your Content?
While putting a copyright notice on your content may deter potential thieves and help your case in court (if it comes to that), it does not prove your ownership over the content.
Only a copyright certificate, which you can get by registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office, can serve that purpose.
Registering also makes you eligible for statutory damages, the cost of a lawsuit, and attorney fees.
Note that even with the copyright notice, you cannot sue anyone for stealing your content unless you registered it with the U.S. Copyright Office.
You can register your content in the following ways:
- On the U.S. Copyright Office website, by following the Register tab
- By sending a printed version of your application, a copy of your work, and the filing fee to 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540, United States
What To Do When Someone Steals Your Content?
If someone does steal your work and posts it online, your best option is to send them a DMCA takedown notice. This document asserts you as the copyright owner and demands that the infringing content is taken down from the website.
When you send a copyright infringement notice, you are not reaching out to the person who reposted your content but to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) hosting the website.
This is a facilitative factor since you don't have to deal with the content thief. The downside is that it makes drafting the notice a bit more difficult.
ISPs are generally large companies and will not consider unprofessionally written takedown notices.
That is why, if you plan to draft one yourself, you should follow these guidelines:
- Add links to both the original and the infringing content
- Include a statement of good faith confirming that you believe that the reposted content on the website hosted by that ISP has not been approved by you as the copyright owner
- Incorporate an accuracy statement where you declare under penalty of perjury that everything you stated is true
- Add your contact details, such as name, email, phone number, and mailing address, and electronic signature
Even if you include all these elements, your takedown notice may still not be as high-quality as it needs to be.
If you want to get ISP's attention, use DoNotPay, the first robot lawyer in the world, to generate a professional-looking takedown notice tailored to your case.
Create and File a Takedown Notice With DoNotPay
DoNotPay, our app honored by Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access, is perfectly qualified to help you take down content infringing on your work.
You don't have to dig through a legal glossary to find the appropriate terms or download some questionable DMCA takedown notice template. We will take care of everything.
Once you sign up to DoNotPay via your web browser, we will draft and file a professional takedown notice. You can keep up with the progress in the My Disputes tab on your dashboard.
Follow these steps to get started:
- Go to the DMCA Takedown feature
- Enter the title of your content
- Paste the link to the infringing content
- Paste the link to the website where you posted the content originally
- Click on Sign and Submit
Learn How To Keep Your Content Safe With DoNotPay
DoNotPay can be your guide in dealing with the administrative side of your creative process.
If you want to use someone else's work in your content, you should learn all about the Fair Use policies and how it can help you avoid copyright infringement. When using content that is not yours, it's also important to know how long copyright lasts and how long current laws grant copyright protection.
You can check out what else we can do by accessing DoNotPay from your web browser.
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