Copyright Format to Protect Content on Your Website
It’s to claim copyright ownership of any of your copyrightable content on your website. Three elements are required for proper copyright notice: a) name of the owner, b) year, and c) copyright symbol (or the word copyright).
For example, our website uses the following format: “© 2020 Drafted Legal, LLC. All rights reserved.”
How to Register Your Copyright
True or false: You can copyright your work by mailing a copy of it to yourself and keeping the envelope unopened.
It’s false, but maybe not for the reason you think. It’s false because you already own the copyright to your work, even before you mail it. In fact, as soon as you create something of record (i.e., you write it down or record it), it’s yours.
Just because you own the copyright doesn’t mean you get all the protections of full copyright law. For that, you do need to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Registering your work with the Copyright Office
This is one of the many tools an individual or business can use to protect their intellectual property. By registering the copyright, you have more rights regarding your work, including the right to sue infringers in federal court. As the owner of the infringed work, you can privately sue for damages and attorney’s fees, as well as for vicarious and contributory infringement. (In short, you can get more money.) By placing a copyright notice on your work, it also stops the “innocent infringement” defense.
Registering a copyright is a simple and inexpensive process through the government’s Copyright website, and one that any creator (particularly those looking to monetize their works) should seriously consider.
What copyrights do and don’t cover
According to Title 17 of the United States Code. copyright protects “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression…”, specifically, “literary works; musical works, including any accompanying words; dramatic works, including any accompanying music; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound records; and architectural works.”
That’s a lot of stuff. But there are many things that copyrights don’t and can’t cover, like ideas, facts, and data. Logos and slogans may be eligible for a trademark but cannot be protected under copyright law.
Copyright clauses in contracts
It’s common in some types of work to sign contracts that shift ownership of works from one person to another person or to an entity.
For example, a company may hire a graphic designer to create a graphic, and upon final payment to the graphic designer, the copyright of the graphic now belongs to the company. This is called “work for hire.” Here, the contract assigns the company as creator and owner of the work.
Or conversely, a photographer may provide a license for another person to use the photography. The photographer still owns the copyright but can give another permission to use it.
- Add a Copyright Notice with all 3 elements to your website
- When you’ve created something you plan to make money off of, whether that’s content for an e-course, a book, an album, or something similar, decide on the best way to protect that content and whether or not you need to register it with the Copyright Office.