If you are publishing original content on the web, you should protect your work with a copyright notice. Your website footer is a good place to claim your site-wide copyright as it will be displayed at the bottom of every page.

What is a Copyright?

The U.S. Government has a website and pdf devoted to copyright information and rules. Here is an excerpt.

What is copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

You automatically own all of your original work, whether published or not, and whether you claim the copyright or not. The real purpose of claiming your ownership is to warn others away from copying or stealing your original work, and to provide a way to prove it.

Include the Date in Your Copyright Notice

You may choose to show only the copyright symbol © with your business name, as Google does. Many websites show the current year with their business name and the copyright symbol. My preference is the use the earliest date (the year your website was created) along with the current year, business name, and copyright symbol.

copyright notice

Keep the Notice Current

When a new reader comes to your website, one of the first things they look for is freshness. Is your content current or dated? Are you continually updating the site or have you taken a year-long break? We lend more trust and authority to sites that are active, alive, current, and seeing last year’s date in the footer undermines that.

Include the Date on Each Post

If there is ever a question about plagiarism, including the date on each post could help you prove that you created the content first (although the data on your hard drive or server may be better evidence).

What about Trademarks?

While copyrights are automatic and require no legal process, trademarks must be registered. Here’s how copyright.gov defines a trademark:

A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.

If you have a phrase, symbol, or design that you would like to protect, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office has a site that will help.

Disclaimer: This information is my interpretation and should not be construed as legal advice. Please seek legal council before taking action.