Re: Valid copyright notice


Terry Carroll (
Thu, 15 May 1997 12:01:08 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 15 May 1997, Joseph O'Rourke wrote:

> Can someone please suggest a valid copyright notice to place
> into my FAQ? Currently I have none whatsoever, and this
> discussion convinces me I should have one. I gather that
> Copyright (c) 1997.
> is not the best. Should it be
> Copyright (c) 1997, [my name].
> Who holds the copyright?

You hold the copyright to 1) the parts you've written; and 2) the
compilation as a whole, regardless of who wrote the individual
contributions. The individual contributors, if any, hold the copyright to
their respectiev contributions.

A "copyright notice", strictly speaking, is nothing more than the
following three things:

1. one of the following:
(a) the word "copyright";
(b) the abbreviation "Copr."; or
(c) the C-in-a-circle symbol;
2. the year of first publication; and
3. the name of the copyright owner.

In addition to a copyright notice, many people put in a limited license or
waiver allowing some distribution. That's not really part of the
copyright notice, but a lot of people call it that.

Here's what I have in my Copyright FAQ. This may not be applicable to you
because 1) may FAQ is writen entirely by me, with no contributions from
anyone else, so I don't have to worry about contributors, and 2) quite
frankly, I don't think it's the world greatest license (e.g., what the
hell is a "commercial document"?). I would make it very different today.


This article is Copyright 1994 by Terry Carroll. It may be freely
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and does not purport to provide legal advice. If you require legal
advice, you should consult with a legal practitioner licensed to
practice in your jurisdiction.

Terry Carroll       | "The invention provides means for continuously
Santa Clara, CA     | trapping sparrows and supplying a cat and     | neighborhood cats with a supply of sparrows."
Modell delenda est  |                - U.S. Patent no. 4,150,505