Copyright:
Notice

Summary | Optional | Benefit | The Notice | Where | Microstock | Removal

Summary

Also known as “notice of copyright” CMI, UCC notice.

What is a copyright notice? How do I put a copyright notice on my work?

“A copyright notice is an identifier placed on copies of the work to inform the world of copyright ownership. The copyright notice generally consists of the symbol or word “copyright (or copr.),” the name of the copyright owner, and the year of first publication, e.g., ©2008 John Doe. While use of a copyright notice was once required as a condition of copyright protection, it is now optional. Use of the notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with, the U.S. Copyright Office.”
U.S. Copyright Office, FAQ

Optional

Do I have to add a copyright notice?

“The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U.S. law, although it is often beneficial. .. Notice was required under the 1976 Copyright Act. This requirement was eliminated when the United States adhered to the Berne Convention, effective March 1, 1989.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 1

“Whenever a work protected under this title is published in the United States or elsewhere by authority of the copyright owner, a notice of copyright as provided by this section may be placed on publicly distributed copies from which the work can be visually perceived, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
17 USC §401 (a)

Doesn’t the law say you have to add a copyright notice?

“Prior law did .. and the use of a notice is still relevant to the copyright status of older works.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 3

“Since the Berne Convention prohibits formal requirements that affect the ‘exercise and enjoyment’ of the copyright, the United States changed its law on March 1, 1989, to make the use of a copyright notice optional.”
U.S. Copyright Office, FL-100

Do I have to get permission from the copyright office?

“You do not .. need permission from the Copyright Office to place a copyright notice on your work.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 1

Do I have to register my copyright first?

“The use of the copyright notice .. does not require advance permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 1

Benefit

Although a notice is not required, it allows you to state your ownership and to preclude a defense of innocent infringement.

Why should I add a copyright notice?

“If a notice of copyright in the form and position specified by this section appears on the published copy or copies to which a defendant in a copyright infringement suit had access, then no weight shall be given to such a defendant’s interposition of a defense based on innocent infringement in mitigation of actual or statutory damages, except as provided in the last sentence of section 504(c)(2).
17 USC §401

“Use of the notice may be important because it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication. Furthermore, in the event that a work is infringed, if a proper notice of copyright appears on the published copy or copies to which a defendant in a copyright infringement suit had access, then no weight shall be given to such a defendant’s interposition of a defense based on innocent infringement in mitigation of actual or statutory damages, except as provided in section 504(c)(2) of the copyright law. Innocent infringement occurs when the infringer did not realize that the work was protected.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 1

The Notice

What is the correct way to write the copyright notice?

“If a notice appears on the copies, it shall consist of the following three elements:

  • (1) the symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word “Copyright”, or the abbreviation “Copr.”; and
  • (2) the year of first publication of the work;
  • (3) the name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner.

17 USC §401

“The notice shall be affixed to the copies in such manner and location as to give reasonable notice of the claim of copyright.
17 USC §401

“The notice for visually perceptible copies should contain all the following three elements:

  1. The symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word “Copyright,” or the abbreviation “Copr.”; and
  2. The year of first publication of the work. In the case of compilations or derivative works incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the compilation or derivative work is sufficient. The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying textual matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or any useful article; and
  3. The name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner.

U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 1

“Example: © 2011 John Doe”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 1

“Under the UCC, any formality in a national law can be satisfied by the use of a notice of copyright in the form and position specified in the UCC. A UCC notice should consist of the symbol © (C in a circle) accompanied by the year of first publication and the name of the copyright proprietor (example: © 2006 John Doe). This notice must be placed in such a manner and location as to give reasonable notice of the claim to copyright. Since the Berne Convention prohibits formal requirements that affect the ‘exercise and enjoyment’ of the copyright, the United States changed its law on March 1, 1989, to make the use of a copyright notice optional.”
U.S. Copyright Office, FL-100

Can I separate the name and date?

“The three elements of the notice should ordinarily appear together..”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 1

How do I type the © symbol?

Making the © symbol
WindowsAlt+0169
MacOption+G
HTML©copy;

Where

Where should the copyright notice be added?

“The copyright notice should be placed on copies or phonorecords in such a way that it gives reasonable notice of the claim of copyright. The notice should be permanently legible to an ordinary user of the work under normal conditions of use and should not be concealed from view upon reasonable examination.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 3

“For works embodied in two-dimensional copies, a notice may be affixed directly, durably, and permanently to:

  • The front or the back of the copies; or
  • Any backing, mounting, framing, or other material to which copies are durably attached, so as to withstand normal use.

U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 3

“For works on which it is impractical to affix a notice to the copies directly or by means of a durable label, a notice is acceptable if it appears on a tag or durable label attached to the copy so that it will remain with it as it passes through commerce.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 3

I don’t want to put a date on my postcards. Do I have to?

“The year may be omitted when a pictorial .. work, with accompanying textual matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or useful articles.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 3

“The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying text matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or any useful articles; and ..in the case of compilations or derivative works incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the compilation or derivative work is sufficient.
17 USC §401

What if I don’t include a copyright notice?

“The omission of notice does not affect copyright protection, and no corrective steps are required if the work was published on or after March 1, 1989.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 3

Microstock

“We do not accept images with copyright notices added, regardless of the colour, size, or position on the image.”
iStockphotos, Legal Requirements.

“Don’t send images with date stamps or copyright notices.”
Shutterstock, Submitter Guidelines.

“Do not embed your own watermark, website name, or copyright notice in your images. We protect your images with our own watermark, which is applied when your image is accepted to our site.”
Shutterstock, Submitter Guidelines.

Removal

“Protection under this title is not affected by the removal, destruction, or obliteration of the notice, without the authorization of the copyright owner, from any publicly distributed copies ..”.
17 USC §405

1. Register Copyright

PRO:If trouble occurs, you can threaten to take the case to court for statutory damages of up to $150,000 per instance of willful infringement.
CON:Costs some time and money, and doesn’t physically stop copying.

File a form online with the Copyright Office, upload your work and pay a fee. You can register any number of photos in one submittal for one fee.

Why register?
Not registeredonly get actual, not statutory damages.
Registeredcan get statutory damages up to $150,000 for a willful infringing use and legal fees.

Tips:

  • Register as many images as you want with one application and for one fixed fee.
  • Zip images, fill out eCO form, upload zip file of your images, pay $35.
  • Can’t mix unpublished and published, so separate into two applications.

register

2. Copyright Notice

PRO:Traditional, professional and legally wise.
CON:Doesn’t physically stop copying.

Photos are often shown with a credit notice such as © 2012 Joe Bloggs. This is not required under copyright law, but it does assert your protection and states your ownership to viewers.

In a lawsuit, a display of the copyright notice helps establish your case and turn infringement from innocent to willful, which increases the potential monetary damages. Innocent can be $200 but willful is up to $150,000. Most photographers and magazines include copyright information.

Making the © symbol
MacOption+G
WindowsAlt+0169
HTML©

Format:  Copyright  Year  Name

The format is not legally defined, any similar approach will do. The year is the year of first publication. The name is that of the person who owns the copyright, which is usually the photographer (unless a full-time employee).

The copyright notice is one type of Copyright Management Information (CMI) which is given legal protection under Section 1202 of the DMCA which is part of the U.S. Copyright Act.

Drawbacks: Since this text is part of the web page and is not attached to the photo itself, it is lost when someone right-clicks a copy. So also included the notice within the image file, such as in the metadata.

For more information, see U.S. Copyright Office Circular 3: Copyright Notice (PDF).

How to add the copyright notice to a webpage

The simplest way is to place a paragraph tag after the image tag. For example:

<img src="photograph.jpg" alt="Image copyright 2012 Joe Bloggs" />
<p>Photo &copy; 2012 Joe Bloggs</p>

&copy; is an HTML entity name which displays the copyright symbol ©. Adding “Photo” before the © symbol helps identify the copyright with the photograph, as opposed to the text or the entire HTML page.

You can also add the information to the <img> tag directly using the alt and title attributes.

Alt is a required attribute for the <img> tag which specifies an alternate text for an image. Google Images uses this information to categorize and index your online photos.

Title is an optional standard attribute which specifies extra information about the element. The text in the title attribute may be displayed in the browser when the cursor hovers over the image.

<img src="photograph.jpg" alt="&copy; 2012 Joe Bloggs" title="Photo &copy; 2012 Joe Bloggs. Please enjoy but don’t steal my images." />
<p>&copy; 2012 Joe Bloggs</p>

Photo © 2012 Joe Bloggs

Copyright Management Information (CMI)

CMI is “any .. [identifying] information conveyed in connection” with copyrighted works. This includes a copyright notice, and credit lines. It can be illegal for someone to remove or falsify CMI to hide or aid infringement.

“[Copyright Management Information (CMI) is] identifying information about the work, the author, the copyright owner, and in certain cases, the performer, writer or director of the work, as well as the terms and conditions for use of the work, and such other information as the Register of Copyrights may prescribe by regulation.”
U.S. Copyright Act, Title 17 means any of the following information conveyed in connection 1202, as amended by DMCA (1998).

Examples of CMI

CMI could be anything “conveyed in connection with copies” that identifies the origin and licensing terms of a work. For example:

  • a copyright notice
  • a serial number
  • a Creative Commons License
  • licensing metadata
  • “credit lines” and “attributions .. next to the images” (see Agence France Presse v. Morel, 2011).
  • the photographer’s name in a “printed gutter credit” — Murphy v. Millennium, 2011

[CMI is] extremely broad, with no restriction on the context in which such information must be used.”
— Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group LLC, 2011 WL 2315128 (3d Cir. June 14, 2011).

Definition of CMI

CMI was introduced in the Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 that amended and is contained within the U.S. Copyright Act which forms Title 17 of the U.S. Code.

As used in this section, the term ‘copyright management information’ means any of the following information conveyed in connection with copies of a work or displays of a work, including in form (such as in the metadata of your photo file):

(1) The title and other information identifying the work, including the information set forth on a notice of copyright.

(2) The name of, and other identifying information about, the author of a work or

(3) The name of, and other identifying information about, the copyright owner of the work, including the information set forth in a notice of copyright.

17 U.S.C. §1202(c)

Removing or altering CMI

Fines for illegal CMI removal or alteration range from $2,500 to $25,000, plus attorneys’ fees and damages. The copyright of a photograph need not be registered in advance to recover damages under this statute.

No person shall, without the authority of the copyright owner or the law —

(1) intentionally remove or alter any copyright management information,

(2) distribute or import for distribution copyright management information knowing that the copyright management information has been removed or altered without authority of the copyright owner or the law,

17 U.S.C. §1202(b)

© notice

Next: Ownership »

Comments

Comments


Reply by Jacquelyn

July 5, 2012

I was informed last night that my profile and pictures are on a dating site that I am not a part of.When I veiwed for myself I seen they took pictures and commments from my facebook page that I had posted last year,This site is using my photos to get men to join the site.By law can they do this?


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