Tips for protecting your content + writing copyright notices

My last post in this bloggers guide to copyright series was an overview of Copyright, Creative Commons, Plagiarism, Fair Use and Copyright Infringement. Today I’m going to talk a little more about how to protect your blog content (articles, posts, images, etc) and the kind of notices you should display on your site to let your readers know what rights you have and how they may reuse your content.


I am not a lawyer, this post is based on personal experience and learnings. If you have questions about plagiarism, copyright laws, etc., be sure to consult a qualified legal professional.

Your content is automatically protected by copyright

Even though your content is automatically protected by copyright, it is important to make the terms of reuse very clear to your readers. If everything is clearly stated then your readers can’t play ignorant and say they didn’t know. If your policy is explained then you can refer your readers to it and most will respect it.

Just because information is on the Internet does not mean it’s “free” to take, taking copyrighted material without permission is stealing. Information, writings, images, graphics, designs and photographs are all are protected under copyright laws, these materials are known as intellectual property. It’s important to understand that taking content that isn’t yours is illegal, be it photos, videos or writing on a blog, site, PDF or other.

Tips for protecting your content

  • Include a copyright notice in your footer or sidebar as it reminds others of legal implications and their responsibility to check your terms. This is usually overlooked so I like to include a link to my copyright and terms of use policies to provide further information and details.
  • Include a copyright notice on each publication or in your post footer and RSS Feed Footer.
  • Include a clear copyright policy that explains what is protected and how. Give details about what they are allowed to do with your content and how to go about getting permission.
  • Also include a clear terms of use policy. Is your content free to reuse? Are there any requirements? Clearly state how you want others to reuse your content.
  • Add a plugin which allows site attribution if copy/paste occurs.

Writing a copyright notice

Most of the time the format is – Copyright or a copyright symbol, year or the year range of creation/publication, author/site name and the rights statement. Your rights statement isn’t necessary but can provide extra information. It depends on how you want your content to be protected. If you don’t want to allow any copying or just want everyone to ask permission, simply say “All Rights Reserved”. If you use a Creative Commons License, you can use “Some Rights Reserved” along with the scope of the CC License, if you want to give all rights away and allow people to use your content however they want simply say “No Rights Reserved”.

Examples –

Copyright 2014 John Doe All Rights Reserved

© 2011-2014 Jane Doe Some Right Reserved

Writing a Creative Commons License

Luckily, Creative Commons does all the hard work for us when it comes to creating a CC License. Go to Creative Commons and read the scope of each license. You can then go to the choose a license section and pick what suits you best, fill in your ownership details. From here you can copy the code and place the badge on your site/blog. Don’t remember what a CC License is? Revisit my post explaining Copyright, Creative Commons and Fair Use.

If using content which is protected under a Creative Commons License you must make sure to properly attribute the work in compliance with the terms given.

Writing a terms of use policy

Your terms of use states what can and cannot be done with your copyright material. You may want to let others share however they want as long as they credit you properly, perhaps you want people to only use an excerpt or just the post title. It can also explain the terms which your copyrighted work can be used commercially. You should also include how one can get in contact with you if wanting to use some of your work.

Example –

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [NAME/BLOG NAME] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rest of the Copyright Series

What is Copyright, Creative Commons and Fair Use? – An Overview
Tips for protecting your content + Writing a copyright notice
How to check for plagiarism and what to do if someone steals your content
How to legally use images in your blog posts
How to find the source of any image online and see who is using your images

Further Information / References

Plagiarism Today
Creative Commons Licenses
20 Best Free Anti Plagiarism Tools by Blog Herald
Copyright Explained – I may copy it right by Smashing Magazine
What to do when someone steals your content by lorelle

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