How to Automatically Update Your Copyright Year

How to Automatically Update Your Copyright

It’s going to snow tomorrow and get bitter cold (-15 degree wind chill) outside in my neck of the woods which is a good time to stay indoors and work on my business. Hot coffee, a blanket, my laptop, and my snuggle bugs (my two cats...follow me on Instagram and you’ll see a crazy amount of pics of them. I’m a little obsessed.). Doing the same on your end? Drop me a note and tell me about it! We can commiserate about the cold. Brrrrr! If you’re in a warm location, drop me a note anyways, but I won’t promise that I won’t get jealous.

I wanted to share a tip with you that many people don’t think about when a new year starts: Updating the year in your copyright notice.

Gotcha, didn’t I? :)

WHERE TO PUT THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Oh, and maybe you still show “Powered by Squarespace” in your footer? I won’t tell if you do, but I highly recommend removing that and to populate your footer with any or all of these instead:

  • Your contact details (big SEO boost & people will love you)

  • Sitemap

  • Location map if you’re a brick-and-mortar business

  • Links to your policies

  • Social Media links

  • Newsletter sign-up box

  • Links to your legal policies (check this recommendation out)

  • Legal copyright notice (what this post is about!)

If you just launched a website (yay, you!), you should consider the possibility that someone might try to steal your content. Unfortunately, it does happen. While copying a photo you use, or an animation, or a body of text, or design, may seem like the sincerest form of flattery, it’s in bad taste to do so.

To help deter such conduct, a copyright notice should be included on your website whenever it becomes available to the public. Although it’s not mandatory, using a copyright notice costs nothing, and may help to deter infringements. It can also help if, god forbid, you have to sue someone for copying your website (Please make this a last resort. Sometimes all you need is a good, honest conversation with them.).

FORM OF NOTICE

There are strict technical requirements as to what a copyright notice must contain if it is to serve its purpose of preventing an innocent-infringer defense. A valid copyright notice contains three elements:

  • the copyright symbol ©, or the words "Copyright" or "Copr."

  • if website is published, the year of publication, and

  • the name of the copyright owner.

It is not required that these elements appear in any particular order in the notice, but most notices are written in the order set forth above. The purpose is to give unequivocal notice of the copyright protection so that the would-be thief cannot claim that he or she did not know about the protection.

THE CODE

As for updating the copyright year, it’s a small thing that’s easily forgotten. Here is super simple code to use to update your copyright AUTOMATICALLY! Set and forget! My kind of nirvana.

If you’re on the business plan or higher, you can use the Code Block, but otherwise you can use the Markup Block just fine. Enter the following HTML into the block for your preferred style:

Simple:

<p>Copyright &copy; <script>document.write(new Date().getFullYear())</script> Kat Collins Design. All Rights Reserved</p>

Result:

Copyright © 2019 Kat Collins Design. All Rights Reserved

Date Range:

<p>Copyright &copy; 2017-<script>document.write(new Date().getFullYear())</script>Kat Collins Design. All Rights Reserved</p>

Result:

Copyright © 2017-2019 Kat Collins Design. All Rights Reserved.

Center Copyright Notice:

<p style=”text-align: center”> Copyright &copy; 2017-<script>document.write(new Date().getFullYear())</script> Kat Collins Design. All Rights Reserved</p>

Result:

Copyright © 2017-2019 Kat Collins Design. All Rights Reserved.

Any of these formats are considered legal. Just make sure you change my details to your details! This single notice is all that’s required, no matter how extensive your website.

Remember, any piece of writing or artwork is automatically protected under copyright law, regardless of whether it is formally registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. However, placing the “©” conspicuously on the footer of the website provides a clear signal to Internet users that you are aware of your rights and intend to enforce them.

Should you ever need to sue an infringer, or even just have an honest conversation with someone, the existence of the copyright notice will help to establish that the person had actual notice of your rights. Simply put, he or she will not be able to claim ignorance.

Be honest, did you forget to include copyright on your website or forget to update it? I know I forgot to update it on my own website. It happens when you have so much going on. :) Do you have a certain way to remind yourself about these small things? If so, I’d love to hear it!

 
 

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Kat Collins is a Squarespace Website Designer focused on helping you share your brand’s story via your website to take your business to the next level. On the blog, you’ll find a variety of topics that help you succeed in online business, such as website design, branding, social media strategies, blogging, email marketing, Squarespace design tips, and more.