How to Write a Copyright Notice

How to Notate a Copright

*Quotes are used only to emphasize the words that should be used.


Form of Copyright Notice for Visually Perceptible Copies

  • •    Copyright symbol: © or the word "Copyright" or abbreviation "Copr."
  • •    First year of publication, and
  • •    Name of Owner

Ex. © 1998 OSU

Form of Notice for Phonorecords of Sound Recordings

  • •    Copyright symbol: a P with a circle around it
  • •    First year of publication, and
  • •    Name of Owner

Ex. (P with a circle around it) 1998 OSU

Unpublished works should have:

  • •    The words "Unpublished Work"
  • •    Copyright symbol: © or the word "Copyright" or abbreviation "Copr."
  • •    Year of creation, and
  • •    Name of Owner

Ex. Unpublished © 1998 OSU


How Long a Copyright Protection Lasts

Under terms of Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act passed by Congress on October 27, 1997, copyright terms have been generally extended for an additional twenty years. However, these do not affect those works which are already in the public domain.

Created ...

On or After January 1, 1978
Automatically protected from moment of creation and is ordinarily given a term enduring

  • •    Single Author - Author's life plus 70 years after authors death.
  • •    Joint Work: prepared by two or more authors - 70 years after the last surviving author's death.
  • •    Work Made for Hire, Anonymous and Pseudonymous Works - 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

Before January 1, 1978, but not Published or Registered by this date
Created, but not published or registered have been automatically brought under the statute and are now given Federal Copyright protection

  • •    The same terms as stated above apply: life plus 70 years .
  • •    No works in this category will expire before December 31, 2002, and
  • •    For works published on or before December 31, 2002, the term of copyright will not expire before December 31, 2047.

Published or Registered Before January 1, 1978
Work is protected 28 years from published or registration date. However, during the 28th year, protection was renewable from 28 to 47 years for a total protection of 75 years, BUT

  • •    on June 26, 1992, this law was amended to automatically extend the term of copyrights secured between January 1, 1964 and December 31, 1977 to the further term of 47 years.

To read the government documentation on copyright law ...US Copyright Office


Benjamin Merrell / Copyright Specialist / 541.737.3978 /