We all have seen a typical copyright notice (e.g., “Copyright 2013 Anyhow, Inc.”) countless times. However, every once in a while, someone will see a copyright notice with multiple years (e.g., “2010-2013”) and will wonder whether it is legitimate.
- The symbol © (the letter C in a circle), the word “Copyright”, or the abbreviation “Copr.”
- The year of first publication.
- The name of the copyright owner.
The second element is defined as a single year, that of first publication. Copyright law does not expressly permit multiple years.
However, publishers of frequently-updated works, such as software, apparently desire to convey the idea that different versions of their works appear over time, and each is subject to copyright protection. So they provide a copyright notice with multiple years, the first year being the year of first publication.
Such a notice is not a problem. Even though multiple years are not expressly permitted, the three required elements are present, albeit with some extraneous information.
So, yes, a copyright notice with multiple years is legitimate.
Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law +1 510 547-0545 dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
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