Writing a Copyright Notice (Guidelines and Examples)

How To Write A Copyright Notice

Copyright Notice is a legal instrument that grants an original owner of a piece of work some exclusive rights on its use, sale, and distribution. The rights last a predefined duration of time. The scopes of the rights vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and from work to work.

In case you have some work which you intend to protect by copyright, there are some procedures to follow. In the proceeding conversations, we are going to lay bare these procedures.


Step I: Determine whether your work is eligible for copyright protection

The first and foremost step is to determine whether your work is indeed protected by copyright or not. Not all works of art are protected by copyright laws. Some are protected by patents, yet others are left to their own devices. Other than that, the work has to be truly original to be eligible for copyright protection. Pay a visit to the websites of the relevant statutory bodies to check this out.

Step II: Ascertain the Scope or Extent of the Copyright

Once you have determined that your work indeed qualifies for copyright protection, you now have to ascertain the extent or scope of such protection. Copyrights fall into three categories. These are ‘All Rights Reserved’ which grants exclusive rights to the content owner; ‘Some Rights Reserved’ which grants partial rights and the ‘No Rights Reserved’ which reserves no right at all. To be on the safe side, you should choose the ‘All Rights Reserved’ as it is the one that is most comprehensive.

Step III: Create the Necessary Symbols

Next, you will have to decide which symbol to use to display to the public. Copyright symbols are mainly three. They are ©, ‘Copyright’ and ‘Copr’. This is the symbol which you will use to alert would-be plagiarizers.

Closely related to the above is the need to identify the year of publication. This is the year in which the respective work of art was originally produced and released into the market. These two go hand in hand and are placed side by side on the copyright notice.

Step IV: Register your Copyright

Copyrights uniquely identify one piece of work from another. For this reason, you will have to register it with the relevant authorities. Determine which government office or statutory body handles the registration of copyrights in your area of residence. Proceed to register the copyright with them.

The registration process may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It however generally entails filling an online form or paperwork, furnishing the accompanying documentation, and receiving a certificate of approval.

Step V: Place the Copyright Notice on the Relevant Work

Once you receive your certificate of approval, you now have to place the copyright notice on your work of art. You should place it in such a way that it is clearly visible to an observer. As such, it should not be hidden from view. Some of the best areas to target are the front pages of books, the feet of websites, or a specific portion of a screen (for motion pictures).


In reality, generating a copyright notice is more complicated than writing a legal statement of facts. This is because as stated, the procedure varies widely from one jurisdiction to another. It also involves obtaining clearance from relevant statutory bodies. For these reasons, you are advised to consider obtaining the assistance or companionship of an expert.

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