At the beginning of every year, I begin to notice many of the copyright dates out there haven’t been updated to reflect the current year. Is this even important? No, not necessarily, but it is common practice. Besides, when I see things like this, it irritates the proofreader in me!
Copyright notices tend to be found in the footer of a website as this area is generally identical on each page. You’ve probably seen something similar to the examples below.
© 2017, Name of Business. All Rights Reserved.
© 2017 All Rights Reserved.
© 2008-2017, Name of Business.
Think about this. If you come across a website that looks as if some of the material is no longer relevant, what do you do? If you’re a nerd like myself — and even if you’re not — you may scroll down to the footer to see if there’s a copyright date. At least, that’s what I do. If it’s dated a few years prior, I move on. I no longer consider it a worthy source of information nor a business I want to learn more about.
IF I DON’T ADD A COPYRIGHT, IS IT FREE TO BE DISTRIBUTED? The short answer is no. Protection of your content is inherent once it’s published. If you produce, for example, a web-based course, a movie, a book, etc., it’s a smart step to take. You can register your material here, and learn more about the process in this document published by the U. S. Copyright Office.
This helpful tool can be used to create a dynamic copyright for your site. Plug your particulars into one of the snippets provided, and paste the code in the footer of your site.
Keep in mind, though, if you choose to add a copyright to your site, it’s important to keep it updated, so your site appears to be regularly maintained when uber-nerds like me come around.
WHAT IS A COPYRIGHT? I’ve found endless documentation about the laws and requirements of copyright material. I could quote it for days and bore the pants off ya. (Ugh! How boring! Unless you’re into that sort of thing.) Fear not, I will provide only a brief summary.
ONE EXTENSION OF A COPYRIGHT is when photographers apply a Creative Commons license to their work. I’ll elaborate on this topic another day. In the meantime, thank you to all you creatives out there who have provided me with each and every photo on my site, by the way. You’re amazing!
ULTIMATELY, IT BOILS DOWN TO YOUR PREFERENCE. If you want to use a copyright, add it and update it annually, or use the tool above to create a text element which automagically updates without further input from you. If you don’t want to use a copyright, that’s okay too.
Let me know what you think! Is it important? Not important? Couldn’t care less? Share your thoughts on the subject, and as always, thank you for reading!