Re: updating copyright notice date ranges

Subject: Re: updating copyright notice date ranges
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2012 17:24:52 -0800

On 1/3/2012 4:24 PM, Tony Chung wrote:

While Melissa is a lawyer, I discredited her article because she has no
knowledge of publishing conventions. Since when have you ever seen a
professional publisher put the copyright symbol BEFORE the word Copyright?

© Copyright 2012 Tony Chung, Inc.

Say what? The symbol must be prominent, so it usually comes first.
© 2012 Cable News Network

The c with a circle around it is the international copyright symbol. It signifies that the work is a copy and not an original and the symbol is required for copyright protection outside of the U.S in UCC countries.

1. The United States is a member of the Universal Copyright Convention
(UCC), which came into force on September 16, 1955. To guarantee
protection for a copyrighted work in all UCC member countries, the
notice must consist of the symbol © (the word “copyright” or the abbreviation
is not acceptable), the year of first publication, and the name of
the copyright proprietor. Example © 2007 John Doe. For details about
international copyright relationships, see Circular 38a, International
Copyright Relations of the United States.

(It looks like Melissa paraphrased and took a few liberties with the document above.)

As the © symbol and "Copyright" are alternates, one would expect they would
be interchangeable. But as far back as I can remember, the publishing
standard is

Copyright © 2012 Tony Chung, Inc.

They are interchangeable in most copyright situations, but not for international protections. If you want to use multiple declarations of copyright, then use them all with the strongest one first. So, "© Copyright Copr." That's redundant.

Both articles, however, denote the reason for a copyright notice: to
indicate the date of first rights. So, you don't have to update the year at
all, unless new material was added.

Rights will only go back to the year the work was created and not to the beginning of the date range.

If you are indicating a copyright on live content, like a web site, then you only need the current year, since the copyright applies to when the page was accessed and people are not going access today's content last year. The early date, I think, is for effect to show how long the site has been active. More specifically, since the copyright relates to the "copy" of the work, no one can *copy* a web site in the past, so a past year is not necessary. Even if someone goes to the WayBack machine, the copyright year shown will be the year of the page and not of the printing, unless somebody did something silly like make the year a variable for the current year.

Even in publishing, the copyright date stays consistent, and the publishing
date follows as "Editions". New material notifications are © 2012 Tony
Chung, Inc.

I don't agree with year ranges except on website footers, which have
information that started in one year and could easily have content edited
sometime in the current year.

Websites raise certain issues of people thinking that everything on the web is for free use, so now publishers use prominent copyright notices with the international copyright symbol for global protection.


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