Before getting into the detail of drafting a legal copyright notice, we may have a brief look at the form, origin, meaning, relevant laws and other miscellaneous information essential for understanding the term copyright adequately and sufficiently.
Copyright Sub-class of Intellectual Property (I.P.).
Generally, there are two types of belongings, i.e., tangible and intangible the primary parent class of the intangible property is Intellectual Property which is further classifieds into.
So, copyright is the sub-classification of intellectual property which relates to artistic works solely.
The statutory definition as explained in the relevant law may be reproduced as;
A form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for “original works of authorship”, including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations.
“Copyright” means the right to copy, which solely vests with the creator of the original works of authorship. Copyright is a right definite by law to copyright owners for the protection of their work. But any idea, procedure, process, system, title, principle, or discovery, names, titles, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols, mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, colouring, and listings of contents or ingredients cannot be protected under the copyright law.
Copyright history in the U.S.A.
We found the earliest legislation regarding the enactment of the copyright in the U.S.A. in May 1790, and the first artistic work was registered within two weeks. Historically, copyright was created to serve a practical function, namely “to promote science and useful arts. Nowadays, artistic work got protected at the moment it is made, and it may not be necessary to get it to register under any law. However, it is strongly recommended that an artistic work protected by copyright comprises of a copyright notice and be enlisted with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Relevant law and Provisions.
- Copyright Act of 1976.
- Title 17 of the United States Code.
- Copyright and Patent Clause Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8.
Copyright Legal Notice.
To keep it a simple copyright notice is content consisting of hardly a line which implicates that the artistic work is the ownership of someone and can not be copied without explicit consent. A copyright notice does not hold solid legal backing now for the protection of artistic works first issued on or after March 1, 1989, but it indeed provides legal benefits. To use a legal copyright notice now is solely a discretion of the author of the original works of authorship either to use it or not as the creator of the work to identify the ownership of the creative work. The author can get their work registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, which is totally optional and does not affect the rights of the author to challenge the infringement of his work in any court of law.
Format of the legal copyright notice and its place in artistic work.
The legal copyright notice usually consists of three arguments:
- The symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word “Copyright” or the abbreviation “Copr.”.
- The year of first publication of the work.
- The name of the owner of copyright in work.
So, the legal copyright notice can be written by using copyright or the “the C in a circle” (©) symbol for visually perceptible copies and the ℗ symbol for phone records. However, the word “Copyright” or the abbreviation “Copr.” can be used to make it visible that the work is protected by copyright.
Example: © 1996 Facebook, Inc.
The notice must be placed on copies or telephone records of the work in such a way and in a location that a notice of copyright can be notified within a reasonable time frame. In the case of computer software, the copyright notice is usually placed on the distribution medium. If physical media is used for software distribution, a league notice must be posted on the disc containing the software. When downloading software such as a mobile app downloaded from an app store, the displayed page or screen must display a copyright notice. The copyright notice is displayed on the screen when the program starts. One way to do this is to temporarily exhibition a message when the program is initially launched.
Significance of a Copyright Legal Notice.
- Makes the work of an author an asset.
- Right to copy protected clearly alarming the potential infringers.
- Opens a way for licensing of Intellectual property, i.e. artistic work.