How and Why to use the Copyright Notice

When an original work is properly registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, a copyright notice should accompany the work. Although this notice is not required on works published after March 1, 1989, the notice should still be used as a precaution.

Their are two ways to designate a copyrightable work as protected, a © and a ®. The purpose of the “©” copyright notice is to inform the public that the work is protected by the U.S. Copyright Office. The purpose of the “®”copyright notice is to inform the public that the work has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. The mark further places the public on notice that some of the remedies allowed by the Copyright Act would be in effect should the copyright be infringed.

Printed Property
The three requirements for proper notice of copyright are:

The copyright symbol, which is the letter “c” enclosed in a circle ©, the word “copyright,” or any abbreviation of the word “copyright”
The year of the first publication
The name of the owner of the copyright, such as “Copyright ©2000, XYZ Corporation”
Audio Property
Where the subject of the copyright is a sound recording, the three requirements are:

The letter “p” enclosed in a circle
The year of the first publication
The name of the owner of the copyright
The notices should appear on the works in such a way as to provide “reasonable notice” of the existence of the copyright. On cassettes and compact discs containing music, both copyright notices usually appear: one for the underlying musical compositions and one for the sound recording itself.

It is important that all information stated in the copyright notice is accurate, in order to ensure full protection of the Copyright Act. The information cannot conflict with the information submitted in the copyright application, such as date of publication or name of author. Because improper registeration may impact your ability to enforce your legal rights, assistance in registering a copyright is highly recommended.

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