Whether or not you actually register the rights to your work with the Copyright Office, you can still use a copyright notice on your work. You have every right and legal claim to your work the moment you put words to paper. It helps to register, but you still own the copyright and you have every right to use a copyright notice on your projects.
The copyright notice simply notifies readers that, yes, the work is copyright protected. You can get as specific as you want with this copyright. Here are the basic features of a copyright notice.
1. Copyright – The word copyright or the symbol © works well to inform people in a clear way that it is a copyright notice. Many people use both the symbol and the word in order to make sure everyone understands the meaning.
2. Name – Your name is another important part of the copyright notice. You should declare whom the copyright belongs to. If it belongs to your company, and not to you, you should put a company name.
3. Date – It helps to at least put the year when the copyright was created. This helps establish when the document was created, and will help others figure out who wrote the document first if there is every a dispute.
4. Reserved Rights – The statement "All Rights Reserved" used to have to be included on copyright notices because certain countries around the world required it. It is still often used with copyright notices, even if it is no long a requirement.
5. Details – If you grant partial reprint rights if your name and link is in tact, or if you do not give anyone permission to use your content, it helps to declare this in your copyright notice.
Sample copyright notice:
Copyright © John Smith 2000 All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced without written consent from the author.
This should be all that you need in order to write a copyright notice for any document. This works for any sort of project, document, web page, piece of music or anything else you create.