How to write a copyright statement for online media

In one form or another copyright has been covered by common law since 1709, but creators still experience copyright violations where others use their creations without permission. This is a big problem online – especially on sites like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

Understanding how copyright law works and how to write a copyright statement for sites is key. You might also be interested to read our guide on using copyright to protect your business.

Remember that if you’ve been a victim of copyright infringement, there are steps you can take.

How to write a copyright statement

A copyright statement tells people that a piece of work is covered by Copyright Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988 and reduces the risk of them accidentally breaking the law and reusing work without permission.

A copyright statement can be a simple sentence that includes the copyright symbol ‘©’, the year that the work was created, the name of the creator, and a statement of rights.

The rights statement is commonly ‘all rights reserved’, but if you want to waive some of your rights, the phrasing ‘some rights reserved’ may be applied.

To further protect your company’s assets, you might want to consider trade marking your brand name and logo.

What is copyright law?

Copyright gives creators of things like music, art and films control over how their work is used. It’s automatic, and can protect against unwanted copying, performance, broadcast, or adaptation of the work.

There is more to copyright law, but broadly the work should be original and show ‘labour, skill or judgement’ to be covered by the law.

How to copyright your work

You don’t need to do anything - copyright is automatically applied to, for example:

  • Written work
  • Drama, music and artistic compositions
  • Film and sound recordings
  • Information technology
  • Photography
  • Illustration, sculptures and paintings
  • Architectural design

In theory, any published work should be covered. But, this doesn’t always stop people from using your work, and they may not know they are breaking the law.

Some creators choose to give up some or all their copyright, and to do this they must apply their work under a specific license, Creative Commons is an example of this. 

It allows creators to set perimeters as to how their work can be used, such as allowing audiences to edit a photograph, adapt a story and so on.

Want to learn more about intellectual property rights?

Copyright, patenting, and trade marks are all different types of protection and have very different parameters.

If you’re not sure which is best for your work or creation, or are having issues with intellectual property theft, contract us for a free review of your personal situation.

Learn more about our intellectual property law services.


Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances.


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