The copyright symbol, represented as “©”, is a universally recognised emblem that denotes the legal protection granted to an original work of authorship.

It stands as an assertion of copyright ownership, communicating to the public that a particular work is protected by copyright law.

Although the use of this symbol is not mandatory in many jurisdictions, its presence can serve a crucial role in deterring potential infringements.

What is the Copyright Symbol?

The copyright symbol, represented as “©”, is a visual indicator that a particular work is protected by copyright law.

For example, “© 2023 John Doe” signifies that the work was copyrighted in 2023 by an individual or entity named John Doe.

However, including this symbol can help deter infringement by reminding the public that the work is protected.

Can I put a Symbol on My Work?

Yes, you can put a copyright symbol on your work. In fact, it’s a common practice to do so, as it helps to signify that a work is protected by copyright.

The presence of the  symbol can deter potential infringement by making it clear that you, as the creator or owner of the work, assert your copyright protection.

Even though the use of the copyright symbol isn’t necessary for protection in many countries (especially those that are signatories to the Berne Convention), it still has practical use.

Its presence can eliminate the defense of “innocent infringement” in a  infringement lawsuit.

In other words, an infringer cannot claim they didn’t know the work was copyrighted if the symbol is present.

To use the  symbol, you typically include it in a noticeable place on your work, followed by the year of first publication, and the owner’s name.

For example, “© 2023 John Doe”. This is not a hard and fast rule, and the placement can depend on the type of work.

For instance, in a book, it’s usually placed on the reverse of the title page, while in a photograph, it might appear in the corner.

Copyright Sign Significance in Content Creation

The copyright symbol, represented as “©”, holds substantial significance in the realm of content creation.

It serves as a visible declaration of ownership, indicating to all viewers, readers, or users that the content is legally protected and cannot be used without the creator’s permission.

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Here are some key points highlighting its importance:


The presence of a symbol notifies the public that a piece of work is copyrighted, making it less likely for someone to innocently infringe on the copyright.


The  symbol can deter potential infringers by reminding them that the work is protected under law, and unauthorised use may result in legal consequences.

Elimination of “Innocent Infringement” Defense

If someone uses a copyrighted work without permission, they may be sued for  infringement.

If the symbol is prominently displayed, it can help eliminate the defense of “innocent infringement”, where the infringer claims they were unaware the work was copyrighted.

Evidence in Court

In case of a dispute, the presence of the symbol can serve as evidence in court that the owner has publicly declared their rights to the work.

Global Recognition

The symbol is recognised internationally, providing a universally understood indicator of  ownership.

While the use of the symbol does not grant copyright (which is automatic upon creation of a work in a fixed, tangible form), it is a highly valuable tool in the arsenal of content creators for protecting their intellectual property rights.

Copyright Symbol Placement Examples

The placement of the copyright symbol (“©”) varies based on the medium of the work. However, in all cases, it should be placed in a location that is reasonably noticeable.

Here are some examples of how and where the symbol can be used:


In a book, the copyright symbol is typically placed on the reverse of the title page, alongside the year of publication and the name of the owner.

For example: “© 2023 John Doe.”


For a photograph, the copyright symbol is often placed in one of the corners, where it is visible but doesn’t interfere too much with the image.

Some photographers also place the symbol and other information in the metadata of the digital file.


On a website, the copyright symbol usually appears in the footer. It often covers all the content on the website, for example: “© 2023 John Doe. All Rights Reserved.”


For musical works, the  symbol might be included on the CD disc label or digital metadata, along with the year and owner’s name.

Sheet music may contain the symbol at the bottom of each page or only on the cover.

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Films or Videos

In films or videos, the  symbol typically appears in the end credits, alongside the year of first publication and the name of the owner.


‘In the case of artworks, the symbol can be placed in a corner or along the edge, or it may be included on a separate label or plaque displaying the work’s details.

Where Do You Put the Copyright Symbol

  1. Books: In books, the symbol typically goes on the copyright page, which is usually on the reverse of the title page.
  2. Photographs: In photographs, the symbol is typically placed in a corner where it can be seen without detracting from the image.
  3. Websites: On websites, the symbol is commonly found in the footer of the webpage.
  4. Music Albums or CDs: In music albums, the symbol is often printed on the disk label or included in the album’s liner notes.
  5. Films or Videos: In films or videos, the symbol is usually found in the end credits.
  6. Artworks and Graphics: For artwork and other graphic designs, the symbol might be placed at the bottom or in a corner that doesn’t interfere with the overall composition.
  7. Software: For software, the symbol might be seen on the startup or loading screen, or in an “About” or “Legal” section within the software’s menu.


The  symbol, represented as “©”, plays a pivotal role in the landscape of law and intellectual property.

While not mandatory for  protection in many jurisdictions, it serves as a critical tool for creators, providing a clear, visible declaration of ownership.

By marking a work with this symbol, the creator communicates to the world that the work is legally protected, thus potentially deterring  infringement.

Understanding how, when, and where to use this symbol is crucial for anyone involved in creating or using copyrighted works.

As we navigate an increasingly digital world where content creation and sharing have become commonplace, knowledge of symbols like this becomes ever more essential in safeguarding one’s intellectual property rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the © symbol mean?

The symbol, represented as “©”, signifies that a work is protected by law.

It’s typically followed by the year of first publication and the name of the owner.
It’s used as a visual indicator that the creator of an original work has exclusive rights to use and distribute that work.

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Is it necessary to use the copyright symbol for  protection?

No, it’s not necessary to use the symbol for protection in many countries, especially those that are signatories to the Berne Convention, an international agreement governing copyright.

Copyright protection is automatically granted upon the creation and fixation of an original work.

However, using the symbol can have benefits, like providing public notice of your claim and deterring potential infringement.

On my piece of art, where should I put the copyright symbol?

The placement of the symbol can vary depending on the type of work. However, it should always be placed in a reasonably noticeable location.

Can anyone use the copyright symbol?

Yes, anyone who has created an original work that is fixed in a tangible medium of expression can use the copyright symbol.

You do not need to have registered the copyright to use the symbol, since  protection is automatic upon creation.

How should the copyright emblem be positioned?

The copyright symbol is usually used in conjunction with the year of first publication and the name of the copyright owner. It typically looks like this: “© 2023 John Doe”.