A vast majority of the websites, launched these days, contain copyright notice at the footer. This is usually done as a part of the routine. What does it mean by copyright and what security does it provide to the site? Web professionals should have a clear idea about this vital information.
Here is an outline about certain vital aspects of website copyright.
What is Copyright?
U.S. Copyright Office defines copyright as “… a form of protection provided to the authors of ‘original works of authorship,’ including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.”
Copyright act of 1976 forms the core of US copyright laws. It gives the author exclusive rights to his original works; and an option to grant usage rights to others. The rights usually include the following
• Development of derivative works
• Public display
How to copyright a website
Right from the moment of creation, a website is copyrighted by the laws, provided the site is fixed in tangible form. Fixed tangible form means that ‘the work has to be documented or communicated in an observable way, either directly or through a machine or device’. Examples include those written on papers, saved on hard drives or those which are captured on a recording device. The ideas, systems and methods also come under copyright.
This is a suitable option to protect your online works. This gives a public record of ownership. A public can become a vital evidence of ownership, before filing an infringement suit in court, if at all you have to do it at any point of your life. A registration can be done online or by mail. For this you need to provide an application, a non refundable fee and a non renewable deposit.
It is important to note that the registered copyright includes only those works that come under the deposit. If you update your website, after filing the copyright application, you need to register again for the new material. Mostly, there are two cases. Once you submit the details, you will be able to register in 3 month category, with a copyright that covers three months at a time.
Normally the creator of the website owns the rights, except in a “work for hire” arrangement, i.e like an employer, employee relationship. But if you are a freelancer or a business owner hired you to create a specific work, you are considered the creator, unless you have the “work for hire” agreement with the client that grants them ownership of the work.
Does a Copyright Extend Internationally?
Most of the countries adhere to copyright agreement and conventions for most of their works.
Please note that this information is based on copyright laws in the U.S., as provided on www.copyright.gov. This is provided as general information and is not a substitute for professional legal advice.
Visit http://www.copyright.gov for US copyright details.
Indian companies can log on to http://copyright.gov.in or http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/contact.jsp?country_id=80&type=ADMIN_CR for necessary details.