When an author uses the copyright notice on his or her visual work, it does not need to be first submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office. Even so, in order to be valid, it must contain several required elements. First, the copyright symbol should be added to the beginning of the copyright notice.
The copyright symbol is an encircled “C” (©). A substitute of the copyright symbol is the word “Copyright” or the abbreviation “Copr.”.
Next, the notice should contain the year of the work’s first publication. If the work is a derivative or compilation, it may contain the year of the first derivative or compilation publication date. Finally, the copyright notice should have the name of the owner of the work or some kind of identification that can be recognized.
Example: © 2008 John Tavern
Since the copyright notice can only be seen and not heard, musicals and other audio-only works do not contain this type of copyright notice. As a result, the “C” in the circle cannot be used for anything other than visually perceptible copies of works. Audio works require other methods of copyright notice.