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It appears that the "c in circle" and/or the word Copyright,
plus the date first published, are the usual choice. There
is no longer any legal necessity for the notice, but it does
serve to indicate that copyright is claimed, and that there is
no intent for the work to be in the public domain.
LC's copyright office seems to take no stand on the punctuation,
but to me the period seems appropriate, because "all rights
reserved" is a sentence in passive voice with an elided
I remember reading somewhere that "all rights reserved" is an old
phrase that no longer carries legal meaning, but it likely does no
harm. At one time it was found in a plethora of languages in
some books, "todos los derechos reservados," "toutes droites
reserve," "alle Rechte vorbehalten," "tutti i diritti riservati,"
and so forth. The words still appear on some web pages, perhaps
having legal meaning in their home countries. For those who
like finding weird web pages, google for "all rights reversed".
Beverley Henderson wrote:
> Help. Where I work, we have stirred up a tempest in a teapot by
questioning how our current copyright notice is punctuated. Marketing,
legal, product development, and business analysts/technical writers (and
we don't all agree) are involved. We need a sane, authoritative opinion
to settle the dust.
> What is the proper way to punctuate this notice? What are the proper
uses of the copyright and trademark symbols? Currently it appears on the
company web site, online help, and printed documentation in various formats:
> ÂCopyright 2006 Name of Company,Â LLC All rights reserved
> Â 2006 Name of Company, LLC. All rights reserved.
> Â Copyright 2006 Name of Company,Â LLC all rights reserved
> Â2003 Name of CompanyÂ, LLC. All rights reserved.
> Only the Name of Company, (not including LLC) is registered because
business structure (LLC, Inc., etc.) has changed several times over the
> A related question: Are the words "all rights reserved" a sentence?
It seems to have no subject and no verb, yet it "looks" incorrect
without a capital A and a period. Is it imperative mood? or what? If it
is "not a sentence," should it eschew capitals and periods?