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Copyright Protection – Publishing copyright notice on Articles

Q: I have been publishing articles for several years but I have not used a copyright notice on any of my published articles. Have I lost all copyright protection because I did not put a copyright notice on the article?

A: No. Generally, since 1989, owners of works are no longer required to use a copyright notice on their works. Copyright protection attaches to a work regardless of the presence or absence of the copyright notice. However, there are benefits to using a copyright notice, and so it is worth taking the time to properly place a copyright notice on your works. A copyright notice acts as public notice that the work is protected by copyright, and it informs the public who owns the work and the first year of publication.  Also, a copyright notice acts as evidence against an infringer’s claim of innocent infringement to mitigate damages. Innocent infringement is the defense that the infringer did not know that the work was protected. Generally, if your work is infringed upon, and you show that you had a proper copyright notice on the published works, a court will not give weight to an infringer’s defense of innocent infringement in mitigation of actual or statutory damages.

 

Submitted by:

Kimberly S. Grimsley, Esq.
Bowie & Jensen, LLC
29 W. Susquehanna Avenue, Ste. 600
Baltimore, Md. 21204

Published with permission from Bowie & Jensen, LLC, a LawPact member firm.

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