After reading this post I was wondering which is best to use for websites out of the following,

  • Copyright © 2010 "COMPANY"
  • © 2010
  • Copyright 2010

Also, if we license everything we produce under the GPLv3 license, should we also include anything about that at the bottom?

  • 1
    Consider licensing your content under the Creative Commons licenses. They tend to work significantly better than the GPL for non-code type works. Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 2:21
  • @Paul McMillan: Do you mean license the code under GPL and the website under the Creative Commons?
    – Metropolis
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 14:04
  • 1
    yeah. CC is a much better license for webpages and that sort of thing. The GPL should be used for the code documentation. The GPL CAN be used for website content, but there are some points that are a bit ambiguous. A CC license wouldn't have that problem. If your docs are also in your website, I suggest dual licensing them. Commented Oct 22, 2010 at 2:25

4 Answers 4


Strictly according to US law the form of the copyright notice shall consist of the following three elements:

  1. the symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word “Copyright”, or the abbreviation “Copr.”; and

  2. the year of first publication of the work; in the case of compilations or derivative works incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the compilation or derivative work is sufficient. The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying text matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or any useful articles; and

  3. the name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner.

No mention about the order therefor you can write them in the order you like as long as you place 1, 2, and 3.

I sometime use Copyright 2010 Marco Demaio, other times © MARCO DEMAIO 2010 depending on what I like most (the way they look changes based on fonts you choose).

Regarding your other question GPLv3, yes you could place a copyright notice (you don't have to if you don't want).


Any of those would do. As the post you posted suggests, anything you create is automatically copyrighted and does not require you to place a copyright notice, although I would suggest that you do so.

In terms of "everything" you produce, I take it that this is open source software. There lies a difference here in that the copyright is for your website and its content while the GPL license applies to the software you distribute. This also has its own copyright and you should include this in the header of each file. With GPL it allows users to add/modify your code given that your credits for your work remain.

  • Right, I understand all of that about the GPL, but I am just wondering if there is any reason to mention that on the website?
    – Metropolis
    Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 4:17
  • Also, my reason for asking this question is because, I have heard that the copyright symbol can not be read by search engines, and so some people believe you should not use that. But I see that Google just has © Google, so maybe that is all wrong.
    – Metropolis
    Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 4:18
  • 1
    @Metro - I've never heard of any search engines having trouble interpreting HTML entities like © or ™ and we use it on all our sites without any issues. Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 4:22
  • Yes Farseeker is correct. You should also put the copyright on your site's footer.
    – mar10
    Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 8:47
  • @Metropolis: To be more precise, search engines read copyright symbols simply as part of the page content. But they don't "parse" it or do anything special with it because they have no reason to - websites are indexed exactly the same whether they have copyright or not. Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 9:20

Or even,

Copyright © "COMPANY", 2010.

I realise most people update the date in the copyright notice to reflect the current year (which is easy to do on a dynamic webpage) and this does seem to be accepted usage. However, I have always been under the impression that strictly speaking this should be the date/year the document was initially created (which is how it works with printed material). Only if the document is sufficiently updated at a later time should the year of copyright be updated.

Copyright does not expire at the end of the year, so a document that states "Copyright © 1997" is still under copyright in 2010.

EDIT: For information regarding the formal use of copyright notices in the UK, see: http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p03_copyright_notices

Interesting to note that:

Some countries will not accept the symbol alone, they also require the word Copyright to appear in order to consider the notice valid. Using the word ensures that there can be no confusion.
eg. Copyright © 2004 Bobby Smith.

Which in some ways conflicts with what @Marco has quoted above regarding US Law. Either the symbol OR the word, not necessarily both?


You should have a copyright and ip policy on your site. You should also have a media kit and media contact where if someone wants to share an article, artwork, or text from yoru site they can contact you.

Having a copyright policy ensures your visitors, participants, partners, users, etc know your stance on what is shared, and what is not.

Take a look at the copyright policy here.

Also copyright policy is a cool way to tell your visitors you have been in business from 1997-2010

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