Copyright Notice
Is it Really Copyrighted?

  Everything that is copyrightable is not necessarily copyrighted.

  In some instances organizations and individuals choose not to copyright their work in order to encourage duplication and distribution.

  Before 1976, copyrighted works were required to carry a copyright notice. Lack of a copyright notice indicated lack of copyright protection. A work published without proper copyright notice automatically entered the public domain. (Note: Due to treaty agreements, works published outside the United States that would have fallen under this may have have had their copyright restored and may be protected.)

  Starting in March 1989, Congress dropped the notice requirement. Absence of copyright notice is no longer a reliable indicator of whether a work is protected.

  If a Notice is Used

  When a notice is used, copyright law requires that it consist of three elements:

  • the symbol © (the letter C in a circle, not the letter C in parenthesis), or the word Copyright, or the abbreviation Copr., and
  • the date (some exceptions)
  • the name of the owner of the copyrighted work, or an abbreviation or other name by which the owner can be identified

   Value of Notice

Where a notice is used, innocent infringement may not be claimed, in most instances, by the defendant of an infringement suit to mitigate actual or statutory damage awards.

Updated Sunday, 11. October 2009, 14:25 by Michael Goad ()

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