How to write a © copyright notice and why to use it? 30

Using the © symbol is an easy way to notify the world that copyright exists in your original, creative work. copyrightWhile it’s not required by law to use the © to establish copyright in a photograph, piece of music or other creative work, it’s simple to do and could save you a lot of headache down the road.

Writing the copyright notice out as: ©; followed by the year the work was created; then the name of the creator; and then finally by the phrase ‘All rights reserved’ …is a simple way to do it.

For example: © 2013 Janie Doe.  All rights reserved.  This line of text notifies others that the work is protected by copyright; it identifies the owner/creator of the work and lists the year of first publication. (First publication can be the first time the work was written down and distributed, even if it’s written on a napkin or scrap of paper).

You might say that it’s easy for somebody to copy my music or photograph and just leave off the copyright notice. Yes, you’re right it is easy to do and it does happen. But the good news is that you are still protected anyway and the person who copies your work and deletes the copyright notice won’t have the defense of being an innocent infringer.  Down the road if a copyright dispute arises, having initially placed a copyright notice on your work could come to your rescue.

Add the copyright notice to your sheet music, photographs, music video clips, website and electronic postings to create an official notice of your copyright ownership.  [Note that even if you are using the copyright symbol, it is still a good idea to register with the copyright office too!  For info on copyright registration, see:]

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

See also: other blog posts on related topics – “Put The World On Notice of Your Copyright“; “Copyright Protection Only Costs $35″ or As of 5/1/14 “Some Basic Copyright Claims now cost $55; “How to use the ®, TM, SM, © symbols for trademark and copyright“; “Copyright Is Valuable, ‘The Birthday Song’ Earns $2 Million a Year In Royalties.


  1. I really appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thanks again! deeaddfkcbeg

  2. Wondering if it’s necessary to include both name and date – ©Joe Bloggs seems perfectly adequate… and isn’t ‘all rights reserved’ indicated by the copyright symbol?

  3. Thank you very much, your article was a great help! But there is something I really need to know. I’m working on my first game and I use some program codes from other people. The codes are free to use, they just want to be credited – no problem. How do I write the copyright correctly, when different elements within a game are made by different people?

    • If you are asking about open source software, it is not public domain and the software’s author retains copyright in the work. Looking to the terms and conditions of using open source software (often via royalty free licensing) is important to ensure compliance with the inclusion of required notices, redistribution rights, rights to prepare derivative works and other terms and conditions including copyright. ( is a useful resource for more information on open source software).

  4. I lovereally like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you createdesignmake this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz replyanswer backrespond as I’m looking to createdesignconstruct my own blog and would like to knowfind out where u got this from. thanksthanks a lotkudosappreciate itcheersthank youmany thanks

  5. With havin so much content and articleswritten contentcontent do you ever run into any problemsissues of plagorism or copyright violationinfringement? My websitesiteblog has a lot of completely uniqueexclusiveunique content I’ve either authoredcreatedwritten myself or outsourced but it looks likeappearsseems a lot of it is popping it up all over the webinternet without my agreementauthorizationpermission. Do you know any solutionstechniquesmethodsways to help protect againstreducestopprevent content from being ripped offstolen? I’d certainlydefinitelygenuinelytrulyreally appreciate it.

    • As you know (and are experiencing) anything posted online can easily be copied and used by others without permission. There are some tools to help manage this (often imbedded in the Terms of various websites that in courage users to post content). You asked how I manage it personally: I often email folks using my content and ask them to attribute my content to me (which is also stated in the copyright notice on my blog). This may not be the solution for you. I will post a new blog soon to address your question. Stay tuned.

  6. Pingback: May 1 – Journal Entry – Shizuka Sakura Sora

  7. Hi Vanessa – Does the copyright symbol you mention above protect me in the UK as well? Also got any idea how I can insert the symbol into Youtube text using a simple Qwerty keyboard ?

  8. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this subject here on your web page.

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