What Everybody Should Know About Copyright Notice

What Everybody Should Know About Copyright Notice

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What Everybody Should Know About Copyright Notice

When an author creates a work, he or she has a copyright on that work. This means that the author is given exclusive rights to use, recreate, distribute, sell, license and transfer the work. Works eligible for copyright include motion pictures, photographs, sound recordings, paintings and drawings. 

When a work is copyrighted, the author will usually place a copyright notice on it to show that the work has exclusive rights and cannot be used by any other individual or entity. Copyright notices before March 1, 1989 were required to be included when a work was published. Otherwise the work would become public domain.


Works published on or after March 1, 1989 do not require the notice to be protected, though it is beneficial to include it. The notice ensures that the original owner will receive full damage awards if copyright infringement is charged.


How are Copyright Notices Presented?

The mediums through which works can be presented vary a great deal. For instance, a motion picture has both visual and audio elements which are copyrighted. A photograph only has visual elements, while a sound recording has only audio elements.


Depending on the type of medium, a copyright notice is presented in two different ways. For a work with both visual and audio elements, such as a motion picture, the visual rules will apply. An audio recording, absent of visual qualities, will not be placed on the work itself, but rather on the packaging from which it is contained.

Visible Copies:

When a work has visual elements, the notice will be placed somewhere within its presentation. In motion pictures, it may be placed at the very end. In photographs, paintings and drawings, a small notice is placed on the bottom corner of the work. In any case, it should be easily identifiable and easy to find.

Audio Copies:

For audio works, there is no way to practically present a copyright notice without it being distracting. As a result, audio recordings usually have a copyright notice placed on the packaging in which it is placed. In most cases, audio recordings come from LP records, audio cassettes, and compact discs. If this is the case, the copyright notice will be printed and visible on the labels of these mediums.

What is Contained in a Copyright Notice?

A copyright notice must have three key elements in order for it to be valid.

1. An encircled "C" (if it is a visual work) or an encircled "P" (if it is an audio work). This is the symbol that indicates that the notice pertains to copyright laws and is a clear indication that the work has indeed been copyrighted. The encircled "C" may be substituted with the word "Copyright".

2. Next, the year of the first publication date should be included after the copyright symbol.

3. Finally, the name of the individual or entity which owns the exclusive copyrights to the work is placed after the year.

 

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