Is my copywriting copyrighted?

Is my copywriting copyrighted?Once you’ve written something – be it an article, brochure, or web content – as long as your work is original you may have the copyright on it.

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “copyright is a form of protection provided by U.S. law to authors of “original works of authorship.”

“The use of the copyright notice is your responsibility as the copyright owner and does not require permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office.”

Here’s how you can indicate copyrights on material you’ve written. As per the U.S. Copyright Office, the notice for visually perceptible copies should contain the following three elements:

1. The symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word “Copyright,” or the abbreviation “Copr.”

2. The year of first publication of the work.

3. The name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner.

Example: © 2000 John Doe

The “C in a circle” notice is used only on “visually perceptible copies.”

Want more details? Visit the U.S. Copyright Office Web site or consult with an attorney who specializes in copyright law.

Disclaimer: The information herein is provided as a service by Debra Jason and The Write Direction. Neither takes responsibility for delivering legal advice. Please consult legal counsel to obtain answers to any specific questions you have regarding the details of copyright law.

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. I never knew this was so easy; I guess that’s 31 ‘C’ this month~
    Andrea Feinberg recently posted…The World’s Oldest Form of MarketingMy Profile

  2. Oh wow, so that’s all it takes to indicate copyright on my written work, thanks a lot
    Sisi Jacobs recently posted…Mom’s the wordMy Profile

  3. Very informative, thank you for sharing.
    Julia Neiman recently posted…A Three Step Equation That Equals SuccessMy Profile

  4. Hi Debra
    However, I’ve discovered that if I write something as a freelancer for an agency, on behalf of one of their clients, the agency owns the intellectual property rights to what I write. By accepting payment I pass the intellectual property rights to the agency. In most cases the agency then grants the intellectual property rights to what I’ve been contacted to write to the client. I’ve had instances where I’ve not been able to post work I’ve created to my online portfolio because the client who commissioned it has not given me permission to do so.
    Peter Algate recently posted…UrecruitmeMy Profile

    • Good point Peter, it’s always wise to understand your agreements with your clients – agencies or otherwise. I once had a client call me and ask me to remove the brochure I had written for them from my online Portfolio. I did as they requested. Of course, I’m not an attorney, so when in doubt, best to get professional, legal advice. Thanks for sharing your experience. ~Debra

  5. When I build a website for a client I always add their copyright at the bottom of the site. The span of years on the copyright in the footer should be updated as the years pass. As Peter points out the copyright passes to the site carrying the work. For big sites, this is always noted in their terms and conditions. Most people don’t notice it and there was a big deal made about the fact that Pinterest clearly said that they owned photos posted there. You’ve brought up a timely and important area for many content owners.
    Linda Sherman recently posted…Power Women Marketing PanelMy Profile

    • Yes Linda, when my clients are creating their website I advise them to include a copyright at the bottom and to update as time passes it as well. And, giving credit where credit is due is always a good thing – I think Pinterest increased everyone’s awareness about that. Thanks. ~Debra

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