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The Footer Copyright Notice

Almost all websites contain some sort of copyright notice in their footer (e.g. Copyright © 2008 Apple Inc. All rights reserved.). But what’s the best way to do this? We’re going to take you through the requirements for your copyright notice, and a nifty JS (or PHP) trick for ensuring that your copyright year is always up to date.

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What’s Required?

The humble copyright notice is always useful to show in the footer, as a way of stating your claim over a site. Interestingly, however, it is not required for you to have copyright over the graphics, content, and artwork of your site. This comes into place as soon as you’ve created the content and placed it in the public domain. Placing a copyright notice is still advisable to deter potential plagiarists and stake your claim. The generally accepted format is:

Copyright © 2008 Design Shack

There are a couple of points to make:

  • Make sure that the year is current (see below)
  • Use the HTML code © to display the copyright symbol, ensuring that your site’s XHTML is valid
  • Ensure the word ‘copyright’ appears

If you have specific requirements for how people can use certain content of your site, using a Creative Commons License would be advised. This allows you to select how content can be used in a more official and controlled manner.

Future Proof

When creating a website, it can be incredibly tempting to simply drop in the basic requirements, and not think too heavily about future proofing your site. One of the most telling signs that a site isn’t regularly updated is an out of date copyright year. This can be very easily made automatic, through the use of a simple piece of PHP or JS code:

Alternatively, if you would prefer to use JavaScript, the following works well:

Stick with one of these methods, and you’ll never be kicking yourself in February again for not updating the copyright year!