wikiHow to Make a Copyright Notice

A copyright notice is a notation placed on a work that is protected by copyright. It contains information to identify the work as protected by copyright law. A copyright notice is often seen in books, on music albums, videos, and artwork, which are all eligible for copyright protection. Copyright protection exists immediately when you create a work of the type that is eligible under the Copyright Act, and does not require registration to be valid. For example, once you have finished creating a painting, you have copyright protection of the painting. Additionally, you need not formally seek out permission to use a copyright notice on your work.


  1. Image titled Make a Copyright Notice Step 1
    Determine if your work is protected by copyright. According to the United States Copyright Office, copyright “protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.” If you create an original work that fits within the categories listed, your work is protected by copyright. Other things, like facts and ideas, are not eligible for copyright protection.
  2. Image titled Make a Copyright Notice Step 2
    Identify your work as being protected by copyright law. Use the copyright symbol ©, also known as “The C in a circle,” the word “copyright,” or the abbreviation “copr.” to show that your work is protected by copyright law.
    • While in the past, the use of this notice was required to have copyright protection, current copyright law (as of March 1, 1989) does not require notice to be given on any type of work.
    • It is still a good idea from a legal standpoint to post such a notice, in order to deter others from plagiarizing your work.
  3. Image titled Make a Copyright Notice Step 3
    State your name, or the name of the copyright owner. Use your real name or any other name that you have the legal right to use.
    • If you have a stage name, but have not secured the legal right to use that name (by creating a business with the name, for example, or obtaining a “Doing Business As” license), you should use your given name in your copyright notice. Since your stage name does not legally exist, it cannot have ownership of a copyright.
    • The same is true for the names of businesses, websites, etc. Unless you have registered the name as a business, that name does not exist from a legal standpoint and therefore cannot own a copyright.
  4. Image titled Make a Copyright Notice Step 4
    Identify the year in which the work was first published. In terms of copyright law, the word “publish” refers to the year in which you created the work.
    • Copyright protection does not protect mere ideas; the idea must be put into something tangible. If you created a song, for example, you must either record the song, write out the notes or lyrics to the song, or otherwise make the song exist somewhere other than in your mind for it to be eligible for copyright protection. So, for example, if you thought of a song in 1998, but did not record it or write it out until 2005, the date of first publication for your song would be 2005.
  5. Image titled Make a Copyright Notice Step 5
    Place a copyright notice on your work. Include a copyright notice on all pages and copies of your copyrighted work. There are no requirements for placement of the notice, so choose a place where those viewing your work will be likely to see it.
    • Copyright notice is most often found in the footer of a website, at the bottom of a piece of written music, or in the first few pages of a book. If your work is a sound recording, you may state during the recording “Copyright [Name] [Year].” In a video, you may include a copyright notice in the credits.


  • If you own a website or a blog, the year in your copyright notice might take the form of a range in years in you have created content over several years. For example, if you started writing your blog in 2008, and have continued adding to the blog every year since then, the years listed on your copyright notice will be 2008-2011 because some of the content was originally created in 2008 and some was not created until 2011.


  • Using a copyright notice on a piece of work that would not otherwise qualify for copyright protection will not give you copyright protection. For example, typing out the words of another author’s novel and placing your own copyright notice on the pages will not give you copyright protection, as you are not the author of the work.

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