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Copyright Notice and Registration 

Copyright Notice and Registration
Ethical and Legal Considerations

Annette Flanagin

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Copyright Notice and Registration

Although use of a copyright notice is not required under copyright law, the US Copyright Office strongly recommends use of such a notice.37 A copyright notice for all visual copies of a work should contain the following 3 elements14(§401):

The word “Copyright,” or abbreviation “Copr,” or the symbol ©,

The year of first publication of the work, and

The name of the copyright owner

Example: Copyright 2007 American Medical Association

Note: For JAMA and the Archives Journals, the wording above includes the name of the owner of the journals (American Medical Association), not the name of the journal. It is recommended that all copyright notices be placed in such a “manner and location as to give reasonable notice of the claim of copyright.”14(§401),37 The wording and placement of copyright notices applies equally to print and online works.

The year in the copyright notice should be the year of publication. Journal home pages and other main pages of journal websites should change the year of copyright notice at the beginning of each year, but back-issue content should retain the copyright year for the original year of publication.

According to the US Copyright Office, “registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright.”37 Registration is not required for copyright protection, and failure to register a work does not affect the copyright owner’s rights in that property. However, registration does offer several benefits: it establishes a public record of the copyright claim and is a prerequisite to bringing suit for copyright infringement in US courts.37 Registration requires a completed application form, filing fee, and the deposition of copies of the work (usually 2 copies of printed materials or the submission of identifying material for electronic publications).45 Registration is best made within 3 months of publication.37,45 Registration filing fees vary for single original works, serials (including journals, periodicals, newspapers, annuals, and proceedings), visual and performing arts, sound recordings, and copyright renewals and are available online from the US Copyright Office at

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