Do We Really Need Copyright on Websites?
2011 is approaching fast and as per the usual ritual, my Twitter stream will soon be dotted with “helpful” reminders from people regarding copyright notices that need to be updated. You know the ones - the small snippet of text usually at the bottom of websites. But do we actually need these notices? I asked this question on Twitter and got mixed responses - so I decided to dig deeper. What I discovered is that no, you do not need to put a copyright notice on your website to claim it as your own. There is no legal reason for a copyright notice on most websites. There is certainly no reason for it on small sites and blogs. One twitterer mentioned that a copyright notice helps deter people from stealing content and another stated that it helps make a case for willful misuse. Both are valid points, but thanks to the current international copyright laws both are false. For starters, anything you create is immediately covered under copyright. Be it a web page, a poem, song or pretty much anything thats perceptible. You don’t need to stick a notice on it. You don’t see copyright notices on a painting - why do you need it on a website? If you’ve created a website, you don’t need to “stake a claim” on it. And if someone copies your design or content, you don’t need a copyright notice to prove that they have infringed on your work.