Not a major issues, just a small thing that bugs me.

In so many websites and applications, when scrolling down to the footer, you see the year and it's not the present year (2015).

Why not auto-update webpages with:

<?php echo date("Y"); ?>

For applications, am sure they can fetch the current year from their server if online.

I know the year might be used to indicate the last year of update, but on most of these websites the visitor should be made to feel the company is up to date.

EE Mobile


  • I always thought the copyright date on a website (if displayed at all) should be the date of first publication (or perhaps the date of the last significant update). It doesn't seem correct to only show the current year? That would seem to suggest that you are only claiming copyright from the current year, going forward? This answer on SO seems to be along the same lines... stackoverflow.com/questions/2390230/… An alternative might be (c) 2006 - 2015? (Although copyright includes the future, which a date range might not convey?)
    – MrWhite
    Feb 1, 2015 at 23:32
  • I agree. If you update your site, you should add the publication year in which the update occurred, as covered here, but if some of the content is unchanged from the earlier date, then leave that as well. So a range that w3d suggests is probably wisest, since it covers the initial publication date through the updated date.
    – dan
    Feb 2, 2015 at 0:31

2 Answers 2


Copyright protection law can be interpreted differently by legal systems in different countries. In the U.S., as indicated by the United States Copyright Office here, copyright protection begins:

The moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Copyrights are only assignable however to original work. If you do not register your copyright with a copyright protection agency in your country (or international countries), your copyright claim would then be considered to be based on common law.

To indicate either a common law or registered copyright, it's standard practice to state the year you first "created and fixed in a tangible form" (i.e., published) said work (e.g., website, web application, etc...) in the form of: Copyright © 2013 company/author

If you add minor revisions to your works, then it's not necessary to update the copyright year as indicated here. If your updates contains substantial changes to the original works:

it is considered to be a separate work of authorship in its own right. The notice for such a derivative work should contain the date the new work was published. The notice need not contain the date or dates of the prior version or versions; however, it is common practice to include such dates in the copyright notice.

In this case, it's considered common practice to indicate a range of years: Copyright © 2013 - 2015 company/author

Dynamically changing the copyright year to the current year would be indicating that the date for either a copyright registration or common law copyright notice was the current year. This could weaken a claim to a copyright, as it might be argued by another party with the same content that they created the original work due to a prior copyright notice.

In short: Copyright notices should remain static, and reflect updates accordingly. For questions about copyright law and protection, it's wise to consult with an attorney who specializes in Intellectual Property.


Technically it doesn't matter. Once you publish the content is is automatically copyrighted. So the year displayed doesn't matter and if it's not the current year it is no less unimportant.

From a technical perspective, there is overhead in having a dynamic year. It's small but when performance matters and/or you have to scale to handle heavy server loads, it's an unnecessary hit. Static content is always faster.


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