We all want to protect the content that we create for our blogs and websites, right? Wouldn’t it be terrible if someone copied your site’s content and you later found out that your copyright notice was wrong and offered you no legal protection?
Well, I thought I was diligent by slapping the standard copyright statement at the footer of every page of all of my websites. My copyright statements looked like this:
© 2013 www.mysite.com
© 2013 mysitename
After all, the second one is what many WordPress themes give you by default (if they have any copyright notice at all). Does anyone see the problem? I didn’t. It turns out that these copyright notices are incorrect and don’t give me copyright protection unless the blog name happens to be exactly the same as my name or my company name.
How to Do it Right
One of the most useful talks I’ve ever been to was at Tech Day Camp 2013 in Franklin, MA. It was given by Louise Leduc Kennedy, an attorney at West Hill Technology Counsel, a firm specializing in legal matters for tech companies.
Louise said that copyrights should be assigned to legal entities like people or companies. URLs and websites aren’t legal entities. Copyrights need to be assigned to a company or a person as follows:
© 2013 My Great Company, LLC.
© 2013 Joe Schmo
For added protection, she said, add “All rights reserved” after. So, the final correct versions are:
© 2013 My Great Company, LLC. All rights reserved.
© 2013 Joe Schmo. All rights reserved.
I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know the details of what “All rights reserved” does exactly, but hey, it’s easy to add.
As soon as I got home from the conference, I scrambled to fix all of the copyright notices on my blogs and websites. I sighed a breath of relief that someone finally told me the right way to do it.
I wonder how many sites are either missing the copyright notice or have it wrong. Do you have copyright notices on your website? Are they correct? – Brian
Note, this article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice! I am not a lawyer! Get a real lawyer if you need legal advice!