Copy Right, Copy Sense



Bellsouth vs. Donnelley

Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony

Copyright CodeA Linked Index

Feist Publications vs. Rural Telephone

Peter Veeck versus Southern Building Code Congress International Inc.,

Publications International  v. Meredith Corporation

Trade-Mark Cases, 100 U.S. 82 (1879)

U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8

Information on this site cannot be considered legal advice.  If you need legal advice on copyright, please consult an attorney or refer to one or more of the sponsor links on the right side of the page. Another place you might look is the US Copyright Office web site.

The copyright information on this site applies to U.S. Copyright, unless otherwise stated.

Copyright Notice

Is it Really Copyrighted?

Everything that is copyrightable is not necessarily copyrighted.

In some instances organizations and individuals choose not to copyright their work in order to encourage duplication and distribution.

Before January 1, 1978, copyrighted works were required to carry a copyright notice. Lack of a copyright notice indicated lack of copyright protection. A work published under the copyright holder's authority without proper copyright notice automatically entered the public domain. (Note: Due to treaty agreements, works published outside the United States that would have fallen under this may have had their copyright restored and may be protected.)

From January 1, 1978 through February 1989, copyrighted works were still required to carry a valid copyright notice.  Omitting the notice could result in loss of copyright protection if corrective action was not taken within a certain amount of time.

Starting in March 1989, Congress dropped the notice requirement. Absence of copyright notice is no longer a reliable indicator of whether a work is protected.

If a Notice is Used

When a notice is used, copyright law requires that it consist of three elements:

  • the symbol © (the letter C in a circle, not the letter C in parenthesis), or the word Copyright, or the abbreviation Copr., and

  • the date (some exceptions)

  • the name of the owner of the copyrighted work, or an abbreviation or other name by which the owner can be identified

Value of Notice

Where a notice is used, innocent infringement may not be claimed, in most instances, by the defendant of an infringement suit to mitigate actual or statutory damage awards.

Copy Right, Copy Sense Home

Copyright Articles:

What is Copyright?

My Copyright Infringement

How to Deal With Online Media Pirates

Copyright Fundamentals for Genealogy

My Copyright was Infringed!

What is NOT protected by copyright?

Copyright Claims That Just Ain't So


Copyright Concepts:

Authors Labor

Authors Rights

Civil or Criminal?



Copyright Facts

Copyright Notice


Electronic Mail

Fair Use

Fair Use and the DMCA

Foreign Works

From Creation


Inadvertent Infringement


Infringement Remedies

Licenses and Notices

Not Everything Protected






Public Domain

Purpose of Copyright

Really Copyrighted?

U.S. Government Works

What's Protected -

Who Owns the Law? -

Work Place Training


About Copy Right, Copy Sense


2005, Michael Goad