Works protected by U.S. copyright law, whether registered or not, should carry a copyright notice. The notice is not technically required, as copyright attaches automatically when a covered work is created and saved in some permanent form (e.g., saved as an electronic file, printed or written on paper). However, having an appropriate copyright notice in the work prevents infringers from asserting the defense of innocent infringement to mitigate damages in an action for copyright infringement (e.g., that they reasonably thought the work was in the public domain or otherwise not protected by copyright). The notice should be in the form of the copyright symbol (the letter “C” enclosed in a circle: ©), the word “Copyright” or the abbreviation “Copr.” followed by the year of first publication of the work and the owner’s name (e.g., © 2018 Jane Doe, Copyright 2018 Jane Doe. or Copr. 2018 Jane Doe).32 The copyright notice must be affixed in such a manner and location as to give reasonable notice of the claim of copyright.33
When sound recordings are involved, copyright notice includes a symbol of the letter P within a circle followed by the year of first publication of the sound recording and the author’s name. (e.g., (P) 2010 Jane Doe)34 The notice needs to be placed on the surface of the phonorecord, or on the phonorecord label or container in such a way as to give reasonable notice of the claim or copyright.
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