Before we get into the copyright disclaimer statement, what is copyright? By definition, copyright refers to a type of intellectual property that protects the original works of the author who filed for it from getting unlawfully reproduced and distributed. Since copyright also means “the right to copy”, it basically means that only the author and anyone granted authorization by the author gain the exclusive right to distribute and reproduce it.

A copyright disclaimer statement is a statement document that serves to claim ownership of the original work, such as music, a literary write-up, or a film. This statement can appear on content that makes use of another copyrighted content, which includes a statement of fair use to avoid a copyright infringement claim. This statement can also appear on websites such as social media to establish ownership of the work. Having this statement protects against theft.

The copyright disclaimer statement usually only consists of the following elements:

There are different kinds of copyright protections, and they vary by the type of work that is to be registered for copyright protection. Here are those:

Literary Copyright Protection. Novelists, nonfiction authors, poets, and other writers are all protected by this kind of copyright which is called literary copyright. Literary works can include but are not limited to textbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, and catalogs. This genre, however, can even go beyond what is typically called literature. Advertisers possess the sole rights to their advertisements’ written content or written copy; computer programs, databases, and the lyrics and other aspects of a song are other examples of literary works that are eligible for copyright protection.Audio Copyright Protection. Speeches, songs, voice recordings, and any other types of sounds are included and protected in audio copyright protection. Frequently, the recordings are also associated with literary works that already have their own copyright. For example, a CD or MP3 file contains a musical performance (usually by a band); audiobooks typically feature a person narrating a book. Both the literary text and the tape of the performance or reading may be owned by music companies or publishers. If, however, another copyright holder owns the literary work, the sound recorder must obtain authorization.Audiovisual Copyright Protection. Movies, television series, videos, video games, and music or audio that is part of a movie or audiovisual are all considered creations in the film and audiovisual category, and as a result, they are covered under this type of copyright protection. Stand-alone music and sound productions are classified as sound recordings. This type of copyright protection often restricts movie and video rentals and buyers to in-home, personal, and private watching. Those who intend to exhibit the work in a public place, including pubs, hotels, schools, and churches, must get authorization from the original owner of the work or apply for a separate license even if the facility in question does not charge an entrance fee.Visual Arts Copyright Protection. Artists hold the right to put their drawings, sculptures, and any other works of art under copyright protection. Images of families, weddings, and other situations may be registered and protected by professional photographers. However, copyrighted photographs cannot be scanned at regular retail photo departments or stores unless the client has been given a release document or appropriate authorization from the photographer. Items that are not generally considered as art, such as structural and other engineering drawings and maps, are included in the visual art category.Dramatic Works Copyright Protection. Scripts for films, television, and radio, as well as dance arrangements and pantomimes, are examples of dramatic performances and are hereby protected under this kind of copyright protection. However, the performances are not protected in and of themselves. The creator must record them on a CD, hard drive, or on another storage device so that they may be reproduced. A television show or radio show that is being broadcast qualifies if the producer also records the work. The copyrights do not grant exclusive rights to the performance’s ideas or conceptions; only the phrases are copyrightable.

Now that you’ve successfully applied for copyright protection, you ask yourself about the rights that you actually hold. Listed below are the rights that you need to know:

Reproduce Works. The right to reproduce works gives the copyright holder authority over the creation of a duplicate of the work. It is undoubtedly the most significant of the rights because it is involved in the majority of copyright infringement cases. This also gives the author the right to authorize others to conduct the reproducing and reproduction on his/her behalf, such as publishing a book or recording a song that is to be sold on physical or digital copies.Derivative Works. A copyright owner also holds the right to generate derivative works, such as sequels, spin-offs, translations, and other types of adaptation. The derivative work right gives the copyright holder authority over the evolution of their creations into new pieces. Annotating, editing, translating, or making other modifications to the work are examples of transformations. This right is implicated by acts such as translating a book, adapting a novel or screenplay into a motion picture, or developing an updated version of existing computer software.Distribution. The distribution right gives the copyright holder control over how a material or a version of the material is distributed to others, whether via sale, renting, lease, or loan. The distribution right also permits the copyright holder to not only prohibit the distribution of illegal (i.e., infringing) duplicates of a work but also to regulate the unlawful distribution of authorized copies. However, this right is subject to a limitation known as the first sale exception.Public Performance. The right to public performance gives the owner of the copyright the authority to govern how work is publicly performed. Performance is deemed to be “public” when it is presented in a public venue, when it is presented in a place in which a significant number of people outside of a family’s and its social associates are assembled, or when it is broadcast to several places. Except for sound recordings, the right to public performance generally applies to all works that can be performed.Public Display of Works. In a manner similar to the right to public performance, writers or authors have the sole right to govern the public presentation of materials that can be presented, such as pictures or graphic designs. This right also includes presenting a piece of literature on a website or exhibiting a single frame from a television show or feature film. The right to public display is analogous to the right to public performance, except that this right relates to the exhibition of a work rather than its performance. The right, however, does not preclude the owner of a legitimately held copy from showing the copy to individuals that are present at the location where the copy is located.Digital Transmission. Similar to the previous two rights, authors or owners of sound recording rights have the sole right to public performance via digital transmission. This allows sound recording owners, for example, to license their material to music streaming services. However, this exclusively applies to audio recordings. And in a manner that is different from the previous two rights, sound recording copyright holders receive a considerably more restricted performance right, which is that they can only perform the sound recording in public if the performance is done via digital audio transmission.

Now that you’ve known what a copyright disclaimer is, it’s time to prepare the appropriate copyright disclaimer statement that is to be included in your work. Having this statement can act as an effective deterrent towards people who attempt to commit copyright infringement. With that being said, this statement is relatively easy to prepare, and here are the steps you can follow:

  • 1. Select the Piece of Work

    This is the first step of preparing the disclaimer statement. To begin, select a piece of work such as your own audio recording, your own literary device, or your own audiovisual film. Once you’ve selected the medium of your choice, apply for copyright protection. Depending on where you are, this can be a relatively simple or complicated process. Once you’re successful, proceed to the next step. If you intend to use a work under fair use that has been copyrighted, you need to explicitly state it in the next steps.

  • 2. Add the Necessary Information

    After you’ve selected the work of your choice, now is the time to add your information such as the name and the date or year when the content was produced. In the case of printed media, the information is added on the title page or the page before, or the page after. In the case of digital media, the information can be edited on the metadata of the file, and on web media, the information is usually located at the bottom of the page or it can also be hyperlinked to a specific page.

  • 3. Add the Copyright Symbol, the Main Disclaimer, and the Reservation of Rights Statement

    This is a relatively easy step, but it can be considered the most important one. Whenever you add the main disclaimer, explicitly state that the work of concern is under copyright protection. If you’ve selected a work that is copyrighted, state that you are using the work under the terms for “Fair Use”. You must also credit the original creator in the disclaimer. To add the copyright symbol “©” on web media in a Windows computer, the combinations of Alt + 0169 on the Numpad part of the keyboard are all that is necessary. You have to hold down the Alt key while pressing the numbers in order for this to work. Then, add the reservation of rights statement, which usually states “All Rights Reserved.” Keep in mind that the copyright symbol is to be added before the name of the original author, and the reservation of rights statement is added after the year. An example of this would be “© John Smith, 1994. All Rights Reserved.”

  • 4. Place the Finished Elements Accordingly

    This usually serves as the final step in creating the copyright disclaimer statement. The statement should be placed accordingly and it depends on what media is used. As stated earlier, in printed matter, you can place the entire disclaimer on the front page or on the back page, as long as it is clearly visible. And on media placed on CDs or DVDs, the disclaimer can be placed on the back part of the cover. And on digital media, the copyright notice is usually edited onto its metadata.


Aside from the symbols, with copyright being “©” and trademark being “™”, the difference between copyright and trademark is that copyright protects original work, is generated automatically when original work is created, and expires after a set period of time, whereas a trademark protects items that discern or identify one enterprise from another, is established through widely accepted use of a mark in the course of trade or business and does not expire as long as the mark is used.

Anyone qualifies as a copyright owner. It basically means that you don’t have to hold a particular title or rank in your business to be able to apply for copyright protection for your own work. To explain further, you are the creator and proprietor of an original work once you make it and fix it, such as shooting a photo, writing a piece of poetry or blog, or releasing new music. Copyright can also be owned by companies, organizations, and individuals other than the creator of the work. Copyright law recognizes ownership through for-hire works, which stipulates that works generated by an employee while on the job are held by the employer. Ownership may also come from signed contracts.

The length of copyright protection is determined by the exact date on which it was created. If it was produced on or after January 1, 1978, have a copyright term of the author’s life plus seventy years after the author’s death under current copyright laws. On the other hand, if the work is a collaborative effort, the term lasts seventy years after the death of the last living author. Lastly, if the work was created on a for-hire basis or if it was created anonymously or under a pseudonym, the copyright protection for that work will last for a very long time, usually 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever duration happens to be shorter.

Copyright Disclaimers serve as a necessary measure for anyone. Whenever you own copyrighted works, such as literary pieces, music, or photographs, it is very necessary to disclose your copyright ownership so that intellectual property theft is prevented. To repeat, should you want to use copyrighted work, you may only do so under the terms of fair use, and it must also be appropriately disclosed. If you want to make a copyright disclaimer statement, you can refer to the steps written in the article or through the examples that are posted above.