Copyrights – Top 10 Questions
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Questions 4 - 6
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Question 4 – How Do I Let Others Know About My Copyright?

You should put others on "notice." This means you should let everyone else know you’ve created this original piece of work. The "notice" should include 3 main elements, including:
  1. The word "Copyright" and a copyright symbol "©";
    • We recommend you use both the word "Copyright" and the symbol for any internet purpose because some web browsers may not be able to show the copyright symbol
  2. The date of publication; and
  3. The name of the copyright owner
For example, assume Larry Mills created a short poem that he posted on the internet in 2009. Larry wants to protect his poem from others misusing it. So, Larry should put others on "notice" about his copyright claim in the following way: "Copyright © Larry Mills 2009"

Question 5 – Should I Put Others on "Notice" About ALL Works I Copyright?

You probably won’t put others on notice on all works that you create. For example, there might be many types of works that you don’t care if others use, such as a few comments on a blog, a simple drawing, etc. However, whenever you create any work in which you want protection, you should definitely create a copyright notice and likely register your copyright with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Question 6 – How Long Does Copyright Protection Last?

For individuals who create a copyrighted work on or after January 1, 1978, the work is automatically protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. If the work was created prior to 1978, different rules apply. And works published prior to 1923 generally fall into the public domain, which means you can use the work without the owner's permission.

If the copyrighted work was made as a "work made for hire" (i.e. by an employee or independent contractor for an employer), the work is protected for 95 years from publication OR 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter. Please read "Work Made for Hire" and "Work Made for Hire - Top 10 Questions" for further details on issues with works made for hire.

Next, we’ll go over copyright questions 7 – 9.