The Importance of Updating Your Copyright Dates

Copyright date update

The New Year is here and time to start thinking about updates and changes to your website. One major change that you should be making now, and one that is often overlooked is the date next to your copyright on both the footer of your pages and on the copyright page itself.

You will be surprised at just how many sites forget about this copyright date each and every year with even some of the biggest online brands being guilty of simply forgetting or not caring enough to notice.

Why Is Copyright Important For Websites?

A large majority of websites that we visit will have a copyright notice embedded into the footer of each page, yet what exactly does this do for your website and what exactly does it protect? Well, simply put it protects your rights as the owner of any content, logos, images and anything else that can be found on your site.

Content theft is rife on the Internet, so by copywriting your property you are giving yourself a certain level of protection, particularly if you should need to pursue the legal route of having your stolen content removed from the web.

For that reason, it’s extremely important to have a copyright notice on every page of your site. You don’t necessarily need to have a separate page explaining your copyright, but many sites choose to do so if the copyright for their sites is more complicated than usual. A common example is when there are joint copyrights for certain content on a site, such as an author having the rights to an article but granting joint ownership with the website it appears on.

Why You Should Update Your Copyright Year

Whilst anything that appears on your site is instantly copyrighted even if the year displayed is outdated or not, there are still plenty of reasons you should keep it updated. Most are to do with visitor trust and the image the site portrays of you as its Webmaster.

If a visitor were to notice that a website was displaying last year’s date, they are going to assume the website is outdated or the owner is not bothered enough to change it. This is not good for building brand or trust with visitors and will inevitably affect the engagement and conversions of the site.

  • Build Trust – When your website reflects accurate and current information it helps to build a good level of trust for those that visit it.
  • Up To Speed – By displaying the correct copyright year it shows your visitors that you are on the ball. This subconsciously raises visitor expectations that your site is on top of the latest developments in your niche, as well as the world in general.
  • You Care – By making this change quickly each and every year it shows your visitors that your website matters to you and that you care greatly about it. If you are slow to update, you risk looking disinterested, out of touch or lazy, which are never good looks!

Adding this one simple task to your New Year to-do list will ensure that you start 2015 on a positive note, displaying to your visitors that you’re paying attention, interested in the site and most importantly, on top of your game.

4 replies
  1. Ann says:

    U.S. Copyright Law states that the Copyright Notice should show the year of “first publication”.
    Updating the date after the fact would probably be construed as fraud.

    I do not update my Copyright notices after first publication.

    • Vincent says:

      Hi Ann,

      And should be shown in a. visible place such as a popup etc., or can it be in the footer as a link to a page about copyright?

  2. Shannon Mortenson says:

    I don’t trust a current copyright as there are so many fake news sites that just spring up to counteract the truth usually … so if I don’t see an older copyright date , I won’t read the article .

  3. JoePete says:

    This article demonstrates a poor understanding of copyright. Copyright should always state at least the first date of publication. You can add additional dates of revision or state a range if you want, but the point of the copyright notice is to establish the earliest date you put the content into a fixed form. Unfortunately, every web marketer out there (apparently including the author of this article) thinks copyright means “last updated.” The risk is that if there is a dispute, and someone stole your content from two years ago, you have essentially stated to the world that you have no claim of copyright on that content prior to the current year. At that stage, the thief has not just a legitimate defense (Yes, I know this person has similar content, but they came up with it after I did), they also have grounds to countersue (you stole my content, not the other way around). Now, in the end you may be able to establish the correct date and history, but it will take more work on your part and a tolerant court.

Comments are closed.