Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 2400

2202.2 (A) Advantages to Using Notice on Post-Berne Works

2202.2 (A) Advantages to Using Notice on Post-Berne Works


Although notice is optional for unpublished works, foreign works, or works published on or after March 1, 1989, the U.S. Copyright Office strongly encourages copyright owners to use a notice for the following reasons:



• It puts potential users on notice that copyright is claimed in the work.


• In the case of a published work, a notice may prevent a defendant in a copyright infringement action from attempting to limit his or her liability for damages or injunctive relief based on an innocent infringement defense.


• It identifies the copyright owner at the time the work was first published for parties seeking permission to use the work.


• It identifies the year of first publication, which may be used to determine the term of copyright protection in the case of an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire.


• It may prevent the work from becoming an orphan work by identifying the copyright owner and/or specifying the term of the copyright.


See 17 U.S.C. §§ 401 (D), 402 (D), 405 (B), 406 (A), 504 (C) (2).


Copyright owners may use any form of notice for an unpublished work, a foreign work, or a work published on or after March 1, 1989. As a general rule, Post-Berne works do not need to comply with the notice requirements set forth in Sections 401 or 402 of the Copyright Act or any of the other requirements discussed in Sections 2203 through 2209 below.


NOTE: There is limited exception to this rule. Works published on or after March 1, 1989 may require a notice that complies with Sections 401 or 402 to prevent a defendant from invoking an innocent infringement defense in a copyright infringement action. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 401 (D), 402 (D), 504 (C) (2).