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Copyright notice on software agreements?

Can anyone supply a suggested wording to be used on software agreements and packaging to assert copyright protection?


Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |


We just put "copyright 2002-2013 NotACo" on the packaging / download (note, we avoid shrink-wrap like the plague as it can still trigger tax issues)

For the license, it is similar but structured as a mutual agreement that NotACo owns all rights to the software (including derivative works, etc), and is a bit more involved but is readily available as boilerplate. If you don't have this I can scrape it for you.

The belt-and-suspenders addition is to assert (for installation or download) through a check-box or similar that use is limited to that defined in the license, by checking the box they agree to the terms of the license (which asserts ownership).

One HILARIOUS error regarding the last point was a recent Java update: "Use under Java License 11.x, found here Https://xyz". And guess what? No license to be found. If you are asserting rights by reference to an agreement, it must be made available.

Konrad Sosnow
Title: Revenue Recognition Guru
Company: Konrad M. Sosnow & Associates
(Revenue Recognition Guru, Konrad M. Sosnow & Associates) |

U.S. law no longer requires the use of a copyright notice, although it is often beneficial. The 1976 Copyright Act (title 17, U. S. Code), which took effect January 1, 1978, and the effect of the 1988 Berne Convention Implementation Act, which amended the law to make the use of a copyright notice optional on copies of works published on and after March 1, 1989.

Visually Perceptible Copies
The notice for visually perceptible copies should contain all three elements described below. They should appear together or in close proximity on the copies.
1 The symbol © (letter C in a circle); the word “Copyright”; or the abbreviation “Copr.”
2 The year of first publication. If the work is a derivative work or a compilation incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the derivative work or compilation is sufficient. Examples of derivative works are translations or dramatizations; an example of a compilation is an anthology. The year may be omitted when a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying textual matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or useful articles.
3 The name of the copyright owner, an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of owner.

Example: © 2007 Jane Doe


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