Copyright Notice

Why doesn’t my Copyright notice say “2016”? And why yours shouldn’t either.

It’s a common (uninformed) misnomer that the year should be “current”.

Here’s why:

The copyright notice on a work establishes a claim to copyright. The date on the notice establishes how far back the claim is made. This means if you update the date, you are no longer claiming the copyright for the original date and that means if somebody has copied the work in the meantime and they claim its theirs on the ground that their publishing the copy was before your claim, then it will be difficult to establish who is the originator of the work.

Therefore, if the claim is based on common law copyright (not formally registered), then the date should be the date of first publication. If the claim is a registered copyright, then the date should be the date claimed in the registration. In cases where the work was substantially revised you may establish a new copyright claim to the revised work by adding another copyright notice with a newer date or by adding an additional date to the existing notice as in “© 2000, 2010”. Again, the added date establishes how far back the claim is made on the revision.

Here is a little more info: