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Copyright lasts a long time. For example, if I bought a CD in December with a copyright date of 2003, it is not legal to copy the music or distribute it, just because the date is not the current year!
Updating the copyright dates without any changes could cause legal complications if your content is copied.
Your copyright date establish you as the original author.
Imagine you wrote something in 2002 and on your websites you mark it with "(c) 2002". Now last year somebody copied it without modification, but you don't notice. If you now update to "(c) 2004" and then find out, you'll have a hell of a time trying to explain to the court how your "(c) 2004" predates teh other guys "(c) 2002".
Don't touch that date, unless the content is sufficiently different not to be covered by the original copyright.
While typing this, I took a look the closest book to my desk, a college reference book updated frequently. The copyright page has a whole line of dates.
we may have finally come to the point where we do not have to place a "CLICK HERE ON THIS BLUE WORD!" line for links for the less tech-saavy visitors, but most people do not have in-depth knowledge about copyrights! im sure product labelers would love to put 'copyright 2002 plus 90 years' in print, but its not a reasonable thing to do.
also, many sites now are dynamic and content, to some extent or another, changes frequently. its more efficient to also dynamically update the copyright line via php, js or other.
You would need to prove (in any copyright infringment case) what was changed in each year. It would be difficult to justify in a legal case why 2004 is present if there was no update.
A book does have a long line of copyright dates. But notice that they usually have years missing, not a range. Each year is a provable update to the book. Maybe simple typing mistakes have been altered or a new paragraph added etc...
If you have 2003,2004 and someone copies your design (but not the content) and you decide to take the competitor through law, you would have to prove that you did not change your design in 2004 when their page was copyright 2003 (that would be deemed the date the design would have been created at the latest). Your's could have been designed in 2004.
So if you want to put latest dates, change something else too and keep good documentation of the changes and why you made them. Just in case.
There would be nothing worse than being in a copyright infringment case and losing - when you know you are in the right!
>>Don't touch that date, unless the content is sufficiently different not to be covered by the original copyright.<<
But isn’t the entire site the work? Ergo, wouldn’t it be proper to change the date if ANY of the site changes?
>>A book does have a long line of copyright dates. But notice that they usually have years missing, not a range. Each year is a provable update to the book.<<
The years missing are years that they did not modify content and are therefore excluded.
Exactly. Modifications can be copyright. You cannot just recopyright something that has not changed. This is why they miss dates out. If you alter any part of the page, then update the copyright dates.
>> Based on legal advice (from a book) I keep records of the changes. This week's change was an additional paragraph, not a redesign.
Which is exactly what I stated. A redesign of format OR a change of content would be valid for a new copyright date. your new paragraph is perfect. And records are ideal.
The only problem by copyright is this: Is it the whole website (thus every date updated) or is it only the page which is copyright (thus you should only update the page(s) with the new paragraph)?
The original poster seemed to indicate that the dates should just be updated because it is a new year, and for no other reason.
SO, would something like [web.archive.org...] be useful in reconstructing at least some of those past changes? Or even valid evidence should a dispute arise?
Wouldn't changing the date constitute a change, and therefore warrant the virtue of the new date? OK, maybe that's a bit over the top ;).
How would I handle a page where the copyright is listed in an SSI include applied to all pages?