A Copyright notice or symbol is an identifier placed on copies of the work in the form the world of copyright ownership. While the use of copyright notice was once required as the condition of copyright protection, it is now optional. Use of the copyright notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with the Copyright Office. Because prior law did contain such a requirement, however, the use of a copyright notice or copyright symbol is still relevant to the copyright status of older works. The use of the notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office. Use of the notice informs the public that a work is protected by copyright, identifies the owner, and shows the year of first publication.

Position of Copyright Notice

The Copyright Notice should be affixed to copies or phone records in such a way as to give reasonable notice of claim of copyright. The three elements of the notice should ordinarily appear together on the copies. Since question may arise from the use of variant form of notice. The Copyright Act 1976, overturned the strict consequence of failure to include copyright notice under prior law.  It contained provisions that set out specific corrective steps to cure omissions or certain errors in the copyright notice. Under these provisions, an applicant had 5 years after publication to cure omission of notice or certain errors. Although these provisions are technically still in the law, their impact has been limited by the amendment making notice optional for all works published on and after March 1, 1989.

Importance of Copyright Notice

Copyright Notice is no longer necessary for a work to be protected under copyrigt law. For any work published after March 1, 1989, the copyright notice is strictly optional, though highly recommended. However, if a work was first published before March 1, 1989, copyright notice was required for the work to be protected under copyright. Works that were published without a copyright notice prior to this date may have lost all right to copyright protection.

Even though the Copyright Notice is no longer required it should be placed on all published work. Use of the notice is recommended for following reasons:

  • It informs the public that the work is protected by copyright.
  • It prevents a party form claiming the status of “innocent infringer”, which may allow a party to escape certain damages under Copyright Act.
  • it identifies the copyright owner and the year of first publication (so that third parties will know who to contact to request a license to the work).

By putting a copyright notice or register your work you inform the public that your work is protected by the copyright. Notice allows someone to contact you for permission to use your work. Notice also limits the ability of someone who infringes your work to claim they did not know of the copyright’s notice. A copyright notice of must be affixed so that it gives a reasonable notice of claim of copyright.