According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyrighting is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, US Code) to the authors of "original works of authorship", including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:To reproduce the work;
* To prepare derivative works (modifications, additional works) based upon the work;
* To distribute copies of the work to the public;
* To perform the work publicly;
* To display the copyrighted work publicly.
It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the owner of copyright (i.e., no one can copy the information from your Web page, without your permission).
Here are some other basic points about copyrighting, from the US Copyright Office:
* Copyright protection starts when the work is created in "fixed", tangible form (putting your works on a Web server as a Web page is considered "fixed form").
* Only the author can rightfully claim copyright.
How Do You Actually Get a Copyright?
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyrighting is "secured immediately when the work is created". No publication, registration, or other action is needed to secure a copyright.
What Do You Have to Do to Visually Notify the Public of a Copyright?
Your visual notice of copyright should contain three things:
1. The symbol ©, or the word "Copyright", or the abbreviation "Copr."; and
2. The year of first publication of the work; and
3. The name of the owner of the copyright.
Example: © 2001 "your name here", or Copyright 2001 "your name here"
The US Copyright Office advises positioning the copyright notice so as to "give reasonable notice of the claim of copyright". As you may have noticed, most companies center the copyright notice at the bottom of their Web pages.
Ultimately, its up to you whether you want to put notice of copyright on your Web site - we advise it because of the small amount of work it requires compared to the large amount of protection it can afford.