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Why Copyright Dates are Important to Your Business & Website

Updated: Dec 8, 2023


 

Copyright dates and why they are important to your business and website

Creating a business and website takes a lot of time, work, and effort. Therefore. protecting the content and information on your website is important. When you create original content for your business or brand you want to be able to reproduce this content and use it to grow and scale your business.


One way to ensure that your original work and creations are safeguarded is through copyrights. Copyrights can help businesses protect what is theirs through the legal structure.


What is a copyright?


According to the U.S. Copyright Office, "a copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression." What this means is that when someone creates something that is original (not duplicated and comes from original thinking) it can fall under copyright protection laws if the person creates a tangible piece of work like a video, image, or website that displays the content.


However, not all items can be subjected to copyright protection. Things like names, brands, titles, slogans, domain names, etc. cannot be subject to copyright laws. Copyright laws were created and aimed to protect creative expression and not around protecting ideas, concepts, or the theories of someone. To have copyright protection the work needs to be in physical form to show ownership in order to protect the intellectual property.


Who is given copyright ownership?


Anyone who creates original content is subject to copyright ownership. Once an original piece of work like an image, painting, video, etc. is produced in a tangible form, such as writing the information down or recording a song or video, it becomes "fixed". When something is "fixed" you can show the original creation date and ownership of the piece. This can be important if you are ever in a legal situation where you need to provide proof of the work and content ownership. This is especially important today with how accessible things are on the internet and how easily items can be copied.


How can you use copyrighted information?


If you find things that you want to use in your business or website that are copyrighted it is possible to use them, but you need to do a few things.

  1. Get consent from the content owner that you are able to use their work or share their files.

  2. Purchase licensing fees - usually creators have personal or commercial licensing fees that they charge for their work to be used. The commercial fees are usually more expensive but can be redistributed for particular needs. Depending on the content, make sure to read what the license covers and does not.

Make sure to read licensing agreements or terms of products before using them for business use. This will help verify you have the right commercial licenses to use in your work. If you are still unsure after reading the information, reach out to the content owner. They can help direct you in the right direction for your particular need or use.


Where to put copyright information?


Copyright information should be displayed on each page of your website. A great place to do this is in your footer., which is typically the most popular method. Other places where you can place copyright information are in the terms and conditions and on images and videos if you choose to do so.


How should copyright information look on your website?


You can display thy copyright information in any of the following ways:

  1. Copyright symbol ©

  2. "Copyright" text

  3. "Corp." abbreviation

In addition, the year of the content and business name should be included in addition to one of the above points. The copyright details (symbol, text, or abbreviation) come first and then you can choose to show the date or business name following that. It is up to you how you want to display the information, but a good example is shown below.


Another point to note is to include the range of years representing when your content was originally created until now. If you only have had your website in the current year then you do not need to show a date range, but if you've had your website for multiple years a good way to show your copyright dates is by creating a date range.

how to show copyright dates in your website footer

Why should you update your website copyright date?


Sometimes updating the copyright information on your website can get overlooked. There are other tasks that may take precedence or seem more important at the time but updating this information can help protect you in the long run. And it only takes a few minutes of time on your website.


Another reason why you should update your copyright date on your website is that it can help establish authority with your website visitors. When a visitor sees your copyright information is up to date this can show:

  1. That you care. You are showing visitors that your website is important to you, and it matters. You've taken the time to update your site and show visitors you are displaying the latest information.

  2. Builds trust with visitors.


What to do if you find your copyrighted items somewhere?


Copyright laws can be difficult to understand and sometimes individuals may be unaware that they are even violating someone's copyrighted information. If you come across a situation where you find your original work being used by another the best approach to take is the following:

  1. Reach out to the individual/business and let them know that they are using your copyrighted work. Explain the situation and violation, why your work is protected, and when you created the item. This can be in the form of a copyright infringement notice.

  2. Ask the individual/business to take down the piece of work from wherever they are reproducing the content (i.e., website).

  3. If you have commercial licensing agreements set up for your work, this may be an option to offer the individual. They can purchase your copyrighted work to use in accordance with your licensing agreements.

  4. If someone refuses to take down the work or continues to use your information without your consent, this may be the time to get legal advice and address the situation with a copyright attorney. An attorney can send a cease-and-desist letter on your behalf, or the matter can be addressed in a civil lawsuit. While this is an extreme situation and most people will comply when told they are in violation, this is an option that you have and there are lawsuits that happen over copyrighted work to protect the owner.

Now that you know the basics behind what copyright is, how copyrights can protect you and your business, how to use them, and what to do to address copyright situations this can better equip you to create original content and know what to look for.




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