Update your Website’s Copyright for the New Year

Update your Website’s Copyright for the New Year

The accurate use of copyright dates is one of the largest gray areas in the web industry. Media communication laws have always had trouble keeping up with the ever-changing state of technology, and a website’s copyright is no exception!

While some argue that the copyright should be updated with each year passing, others argue that a website doesn’t need to have a copyright posted at all. Don’t be fooled though- despite the confusion surrounding your website’s copyright, you should absolutely be paying attention to it.

Why You Should Post (and Update) Your Copyright Date


The worst assumption a webmaster can make is that the copyright goes unnoticed. Trust me, many of your visitors will see the year listed on your website, and it can definitely influence the opinion they form of your business. These are the top reasons that you should post AND update the copyright date:


The copyright protects your ownership right to all of the website’s content. While a copyright technically exists from the second the work is created, listing a current copyright date will discourage others from copying anything and make it nearly impossible for them to get away with it if they try.

Relevance & Trust

If visitors access your site in 2016 and see the year 2012 listed, they will assume you’re not paying attention and be less likely to trust you with their business. It is an easily avoidable way to lose potential customers and lessen conversion rates through the website.

Avoid Confusion

I have heard several stories of visitors assuming that a business’s information was outdated, simply because its website’s copyright date was outdated. Your business isn’t closed, so why let your website appear stagnant?


What You Need to Include in a Copyright

All copyright notices need to have the following elements: the copyright symbol or the word “copyright”, the year(s) of publication, and the copyright owner’s name. The order doesn’t matter, but all three should be listed in order to provide full security of your websites assets.


The Best Way to Update Your Copyright

Despite the lack of clarity on some specifics, there is an easy approach to copyright updating that will cover all of your legal and marketing bases. Here are the things you need to address to get the most from your copyright:

1. Know what kind of website you have

Dynamic – A webpage whose content changes regularly. Most websites are dynamic, since things like information, images, and offers will update as often as necessary. To protect all website assets regardless of their posting date, dynamic sites’ copyrights should take on the format of ©X-Y, where the X represents the first live year and Y represents the current year.

Static – A webpage whose content does not change, such as a blog article or photo album. Static pages should have the initial posting date listed, but the copyright does not need to update for every year as long as no new components are added.

2. Find all instances of the copyright

The most common place to find a copyright date is in the website’s footer, the bottom portion of the site that stays consistent throughout every content page. Aside from the footer, copyright dates can be listed within content pages, attached files, watermarks, and the meta data. Be sure to locate all areas where the copyright is present, and keep track so that they all stay updated!

3. Automate the updating process (if possible)

Rather than manually updating the copyright every year, many coding languages will allow you to automate the process using a simple script. Javascript, PHP, ASP, and Django are just a few examples of languages with a variable for “current year” that will automatically update when the year changes. These scripts are listed below for your convenience.


<?php echo date(“Y”); ?> or <? echo date(Y);?>


<script type=”text/javascript”>
var theDate=new Date()




{% now “Y” %}

If you do not manage your website, talk with your webmaster to see if annual copyright updates can be automated through the coding language they’re using. It will save you a lot of time and hassle in the long-run!


Legal Disclaimer: This article was formed based on my own research and personal experiences in the web industry. I am not an attorney, nor should this information be considered as legal advice. 

For more information on our web design, graphic design, or marketing services, please visit fawkesfx.com.

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