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Sean Clancy Law LLC © 2015-17. All rights reserved, except U.S. government and public domain photos.

Notice is not necessary to claim copyright in the United States and most countries. Copyright vests in the author of a creative work the moment the work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression (such as computer memory). 

Nevertheless, copyright notice is still valuable. If a copyrighted work contains proper notice, a defendant in a copyright infringement action cannot claim innocent infringement to argue for reduced damages, with limited exceptions.

Proper copyright notice in the United States includes the copyright owner, the year of first publication, and the word "Copyright" or the © copyright symbol.

Since the Berne Conventiona statement about reservation of rights is less significant although such statements remain common. A statement can indicate what rights the work's owner intends to reserve or release. With limited licenses such as Creative Commons some owners say, "Some rights reserved." When dedicating a work to the public domain some owners say, "No rights reserved."

Works authored by the U.S. government are not eligible for copyright protection, although the government can receive and hold copyrights by assignment, bequest, or otherwise. If a creative work incorporates material authored by the U.S. government, copyright notice will defeat a claim of innocent infringement only if the notice identifies either those portions of the work in which copyright is claimed or those portions that constitute U.S. government material.

Most photos on this website are either U.S. government works or in the public domain.


This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.