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Copyright notice

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A website copyright notice, incorporating an assertion of copyright ownership and a licence of copyright.


"Copyright notice" has two different meanings. The phrase may refer to a short statement asserting the ownership of copyright in a work, or it may refer to a text setting out various copyright-related matters in relation to a work. The second type of copyright notice may, and very often will, contain the first type of copyright notice.

This template is a copyright notice - or, to be more accurate, a tool for the creation of a copyright notice - in the second sense. More specifically, it has been designed to assist with the creation of a copyright notice for a website.

Websites are not in themselves copyright works. That is to say that the categories of work that are protected by copyright are closed, and they do not include websites. However, a typical website will incorporate a range of different copyright-protected works. Indeed, almost anything that can be said to be part of a website can be protected by copyright.

Any software code used by or forming part of a website will be protected as a literary work. CSS and HTML files comprised in the website, whether written by hand or generated by software, may also be protected as literary works, provided that they are sufficiently "original". Logos, illustrations and photographs published on a website will also usually be protected as artistic works. Video and audio files on a website may contain layer upon layer of rights, whilst even plain text will be protected as literary copyright, assuming that it can surmount (the low) threshold test for originality and that there is sufficient novel text to merit protection.

This means that a website may contain many works protected by copyright, and the copyright may be owned by many separate persons. This copyright notice gets round this complexity by simply referring to "the website operator and its licensors".

A short (first sense) copyright notice is contained in the document is in the form approved by the Universal Copyright Convention (the "UCC"), eg "Copyright (c) 2014 SEQ Legal LLP". Elaborating on the UCC-style statement, the notice expressly provides that all copyright and other intellectual property rights in the website are owned by and reserved to the operator and its licensors.

Next, the copyright notice includes a licence setting out the basis upon which the website may be used. In addition, there are negative provisions specifying what users may not do in relation to the website (eg republish material from the website). A short-form acceptable use clause covers usage issues that are not, at least directly, copyright issues.

The remaining provisions of the notice relate to the reporting of copyright infringements and other abuses to the website operator, the enforcement of copyright by the website operator, and the method for seeking permission from the operator to reuse website materials.

Most of the provisions of the copyright notice are reproduced in our various website T&Cs templates, and if you are using one of those documents you will not usually need a separate copyright notice.

  1. Copyright notice
  2. Copyright licence
  3. Acceptable use
  4. Report abuse
  5. Enforcement of copyright
  6. Permissions

Document statistics

  • Total words: 1250
  • Total characters: 7706
  • Document pages (approx.): 2
  • Guidance notes pages (approx.): 2
  • Total pages (approx., including cover): 5
What are the terms of the licence included with the copyright notice

The notice includes a simple copyright licence, designed to cover the basics of website use. In summary, the licence is a worldwide non-exclusive royalty-free revocable licence view the website via a web browser, store the website in browser cache, and print pages from the website. All the rights not expressly granted are reserved to the owner. There are a number of explicit prohibitions on the use of the website, these include prohibitions on republishing and redistributing the website and its content without prior written permission.

Would a copyright notice help me to bring a claim for breach of copyright if someone steals my website text and pictures?

In such a claim, it may be important to demonstrate that the content thief was not licensed to use the material and had no reason to think that he or she was licensed to use the material (e.g. to defeat an innocent infringement defence or plea in mitigation). A properly prepared copyright notice could help with these points.

The "enforcement" section of this template copyright notice puts users on notice that, if an infringement is discovered, legal proceedings may ensure. It also invites users to report any infringements of which they become aware.

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