website copyright

What You Need to Know About Website Copyrights

By Princess Jones

The copyright notice is usually the line of text in your footer that notifies visitors that your website is under your copyright and not to be reproduced or used without your permission.

Do you need a website copyright in your footer?

The content that you create on your website is your copyright without you having to do anything extra. So, if you’ve authored all of the content on your site, it’s yours. If you have your employees create content for your website, that’s work for hire product. You automatically have the copyright to that, too. Where it gets sticky are the other elements of your website. Images, guest posts, and other items that you may not own the copyright to, yet you have the right to use.

But all of these rights exist without you putting a copyright notice on your website. So no, you don’t have to have one if you don’t want to have one.

But why wouldn’t you want to have one? Most DIY website services — Squarespace, WordPress.com, Blogger, etc. — include a copyright notice with your setup. Even if you’re using a self-hosted website, it only takes a few minutes of your time to do so.

What date should you put on a website copyright notice?

Another common question about copyright notice is whether you should use the current year date or whether you use a notice with a date range. There has been some question about whether the year of publication is the year of the original posting or if the content being current only online makes the year of publication the current year. When you see websites using a date range, it’s to cover any bases just in case.

How can you update your website copyright footer in WordPress?

If you’re ready to update your website’s footer, open your WordPress dashboard. On the left hand toolbar, click “Appearance” and then click “Editor.” Once there, you can open your Footer file by clicking it on the right side of the screen. Find the following code:

<p id=”footer-info”>

This will begin the start of your footer copy. After this you can put whatever you’d like but a simple “&copy” followed by the current year or the years you have been active will work. You can also add your website or business name will work. Add “All Rights Reserved” if you’d like to emphasize that you’d like to keep any rights automatically given to you.

If you want to really get fancy, you can use <?php echo date(“Y”) ?> in place of the year. This pulls the year from your WordPress installation, keeping it always up to date. And you can use <?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?> in place of your website name to pull whatever name you entered in your WordPress settings. And when you’re done, hit “Update File.”

So although it’s not necessary to include a copyright in your footer, it is very good practice. While it won’t deter copyright violators who are dead set on ignoring your rights, it will show the casual or unknowing violators that you know your rights and intend to exercise them. And should you ever need to assert your copyright in a legal matter, you can show that you made a reasonable effort to notify your visitors of it.

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Princess Jones
Princess Jones is the evil genius behind P.S. Jones Copy & Design, where she helps food and drink businesses speak the language of their audiences. For more talk about copywriting, design, and the tools to pull them off, follow her on Twitter @imprincessjones.

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