Copyright symbol

The copyright symbol, or copyright sign, © (a circled capital letter C for copyright), is the symbol used in copyright notices for works other than sound recordings (which are indicated with the ℗ symbol). The use of the symbol is described in United States copyright law,[1] and, internationally, by the Universal Copyright Convention.[2] The symbol is widely recognized, but under the Berne Convention is no longer required to obtain a new copyright in most nations. For instance, the United States eliminated the copyright symbol requirement as of March 1, 1989, but its presence or absence is legally significant on works published previously.

Copyright symbol


Prior symbols indicating a work's copyright status are seen in Scottish almanacs of the 1670s; books included a printed copy of the local coat-of-arms to indicate their authenticity.[3]

A copyright notice was first required in the U.S. by the Copyright Act of 1802.[4] It was lengthy: "Entered according to act of Congress, in the year         , by A. B., in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington." In general, this notice had to appear on the copyrighted work itself, but in the case of a "work of the fine arts", such as a painting, it could instead be inscribed "on the face of the substance on which [the work of art] shall be mounted".[5] The Copyright Act was amended in 1874 to allow a much shortened notice: "Copyright, 18        , by A. B."[6]

The copyright symbol © was introduced in the United States in section 18 of the Copyright Act of 1909,[7] and initially applied only to pictorial, graphic and sculptural works.[8] A 1954 amendment to the law extended the use of the symbol to any published copyrighted work.[8][9]

The Copyright Act of 1909 was meant to be a complete rewrite and overhaul of existing copyright law. As originally proposed in the draft of the bill, copyright protection required putting the word "copyright" or a sanctioned abbreviation on the work of art itself. This included paintings, the argument being that the frame was detachable. In conference sessions among copyright stakeholders on the proposed bill, conducted in 1905 and 1906, representatives of artist organizations objected to this requirement, wishing to put no more on the work itself than the artist's name. As a compromise, the possibility was created to add a relatively unintrusive mark, the capital letter C within a circle, to appear on the work itself next to the artist's name, indicating the existence of a more elaborate copyright notice elsewhere that was still to be allowed to be placed on the mounting.[10] Indeed, the version of the bill that was submitted to Congress in 1906, compiled by the Copyright Commission under the direction of the Librarian of Congress, Herbert Putnam, contained a provision that a special copyright symbol, the letter C inclosed within a circle, could be used instead of the word "copyright" or the abbreviation "copr.", but only for a limited category of copyrightable works, including works of art but not ordinary books or periodicals.[11] The formulation of the 1909 Act was left unchanged when it was incorporated in 1946 as title 17 of the United States Code; when that title was amended in 1954, the symbol © was allowed as an alternative to "Copyright" or "Copr." in all copyright notices.[9]

In countries party to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, including the modern-day U.S., a copyright notice is not required to be displayed in order for copyright to be established; rather, the creation of the work automatically establishes copyright.[12] The United States was one of the later accedents to Berne (1989); the majority of nations now belong to Berne, and thus do not require copyright notices to obtain copyright.

U.S. copyright notice

In the United States, the copyright notice required prior to March 1, 1989, consists of:[13]

  • the © symbol, or the word "Copyright" or abbreviation "Copr.";
  • the year of first publication of the copyrighted work; and
  • an identification of the owner of the copyright, either by name, abbreviation, or other designation by which they are generally known.

For example, for a work first published in 2011:

© 2011 John Smith

The notice was once required in order to receive copyright protection in the United States, but in countries respecting the Berne convention this is no longer the case.[12] The United States joined the Berne Convention effective March 1, 1989.[14]

Digital representation

Because the © symbol has long been unavailable on typewriters and ASCII-based computer systems, it has been common to approximate this symbol with the characters (C).

The character is mapped in Unicode as U+00A9 © COPYRIGHT SIGN (HTML © · ©).[15] Unicode also has U+24B8 CIRCLED LATIN CAPITAL LETTER C (HTML Ⓒ) and U+24D2 CIRCLED LATIN SMALL LETTER C (HTML ⓒ).[16] They are sometimes used as a substitute copyright symbol where the actual copyright symbol is not available in the font or in the character set, for example, in some Korean code pages.

On Windows it may be entered by holding the Alt while typing the numbers 0 1 6 9 on the numeric keypad. It can be entered on a Mac by holding the Option key and then pressing the "g" key. On Linux, it can be obtained with the <compose key> O C ComposeKey sequence.

Related symbols

  • The sound recording copyright symbol is the symbol ℗ (the capital letter P enclosed by a circle), and is used to designate copyright in a sound recording.[17]
  • The copyleft symbol is a backwards capital letter C in a circle (copyright symbol © mirrored). It has no legal meaning.[18]
  • The registered trademark symbol is the symbol ® (the capital letter R enclosed by a circle), and is used in some jurisdictions to designate a trademark that has been registered in an official office of record (such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the United States).
  • The non-obligatory symbol used in a mask work protection notice is Ⓜ (the capital letter M enclosed in a circle).[19]

See also


  1. ^ 17 U.S.C. § 401
  2. ^ Universal Copyright Convention, Article III, §1. (Paris text, July 24, 1971.)
  3. ^ Mann, Alastair J.; Kretschmer, Martin; Bently, Lionel (2010). "A Mongrel of Early Modern Copyright". In Deazley, Ronan. Privilege and property: essays on the history of copyright. Open Book Publishers. ISBN 978-1-906924-18-8.
  4. ^ "Copyright Law Revision Study Number 7, page 6" (PDF). United States Copyright Office. United States Government Printing Office. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  5. ^ Copyright Act of 1870, §97.
  6. ^ 1874 Amendment to the Copyright Act of 1870, §1.
  7. ^ Copyright Act of 1909, §18
  8. ^ a b Copyright Law Revision: Study 7: Notice of Copyright (PDF). Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. 1960. p. 11.
  9. ^ a b An Act to amend title 17, United States Code, entitled "Copyrights", Pub.L. 83–743, 68 Stat. 1030, enacted August 31, 1954.
  10. ^ Arguments before the Committees on Patents of the Senate and House of Representatives, conjointly, on the bills S. 6330 and H.R. 19853, to amend and consolidate the acts respecting copyright. June 6–9, 1906. Government Printing Office. 1906. p. 68.
  11. ^ "Proposed Copyright Legislation". The Writer. XVIII (6): 87. June 1906.
  12. ^ a b Molotsky, Irvin (October 21, 1988). "Senate Approves Joining Copyright Convention". The New York Times. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  13. ^ 17 U.S.C. § 401(b)
  14. ^ Circular 38A: International Copyright Relations of the United States (PDF). U.S. Copyright Office. 2014. p. 2. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Stephen Fishman (2010), "The Copyright Symbol", The Public Domain, p. 356, ISBN 978-1-4133-1205-8
  18. ^ Hall, G. Brent (2008). Open Source Approaches in Spatial Data Handling. Springer. p. 29. ISBN 3-540-74830-X. Additional ISBN 978-3-540-74830-4. See Open Source Approaches in Spatial Data Handling at Google Books, page 29.
  19. ^ "Federal Statutory Protection for Mask Works (Copyright Circular 100)" (PDF). United States Copyright Office. September 2012. p. 5. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
All rights reserved

"All rights reserved" is a copyright formality indicating that the copyright holder reserves, or holds for its own use, all the rights provided by copyright law. Originating in the Buenos Aires Convention of 1910, it no longer has any legal effect in any jurisdiction. However, it is still used by many copyright holders.

All rights reversed

All rights reversed is a phrase that indicates a release of copyright or a copyleft licensing status. It is a pun on the common copyright disclaimer "All rights reserved", a copyright formality originally required by the Buenos Aires Convention of 1910. "All Rights Reversed" (sometimes spelled rites) was used by author Gregory Hill to authorize the free reprinting of his Principia Discordia in the late 1960s. Hill's disclaimer was accompanied by the kosher "Ⓚ" (for kallisti) symbol, a play on ©, the copyright symbol.In 1984/5 programmer Don Hopkins sent Richard Stallman a letter labeled "Copyleft—all rights reversed". Stallman chose the phrase to identify his free software method of distribution. It is often accompanied by a reversed version of the copyright symbol (see illustration). That said, this usage is considered legally risky by the Free Software Foundation."All Rights Reversed", its homophone, "All Rites Reversed", and/or the "Copyleft" symbol, are occasionally used among those who publish or produce media (or any other material that might normally be copyrighted) as a clever means of saying "This is not copyrighted. Please, do with it what you will." and encouraging the duplication and use of the "copy-lefted" material thereof.

The open source character Jenny Everywhere is released under an "All rights reversed" licence.


C is the third letter in the English alphabet and a letter of the alphabets of many other writing systems which inherited it from the Latin alphabet. It is also the third letter of the ISO basic Latin alphabet. It is named cee (pronounced ) in English.


Circle-c, ©, (C), or variation, may refer to:

Circle C Ranch, a subdivision in Austin, Texas, USA

Copyright symbol (©) a circle circumscribing a "c"

Enclosed C (Ⓒ,ⓒ) a "C" inscribed inside a circle

Copyright notice

In United States copyright law, a copyright notice is a notice of statutorily prescribed form that informs users of the underlying claim to copyright ownership in a published work.

Copyright is a form of protection provided by US law to authors of "original works of authorship". When a work is published under the authority of the copyright owner, a notice of copyright may be placed on all publicly distributed copies or phonorecords. The use of the notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office.

Use of the notice informs the public that a work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication. Furthermore, in the event that a work is infringed, if the work carries a proper notice, the court will not give any weight to a defendant's use of an innocent infringement defense—that is, to a claim that the defendant did not realize that the work was protected. An innocent infringement defense can result in a reduction in damages that the copyright owner would otherwise receive.

US law no longer requires the use of a copyright notice, although placing it on a work does confer certain benefits to the copyright holder. Prior law did, however, require a notice, and the use of a notice is still relevant to the copyright status of older works.

For works first published on or after March 1, 1989, use of the copyright notice is optional. Before March 1, 1989, the use of the notice was mandatory on all published works. Omitting the notice on any work first published from January 1, 1978, to February 28, 1989, could have resulted in the loss of copyright protection if corrective steps were not taken within a certain amount of time. Works published before January 1, 1978, are governed by the 1909 Copyright Act. Under that law, if a work was published under the copyright owner's authority without a proper notice of copyright, all copyright protection for that work was permanently lost in the United States.

Copyright symbol (disambiguation)

Copyright symbol, or copyright sign is the international symbol of copyright represented by ©.

The copyright symbol © may also refer to:

Copyright (band) (or ©), a Canadian music band

Copyright (or ©), a 2010 album by Finnish hip hop band Teflon Brothers

Enclosed C

Enclosed C or circled Latin C (Ⓒ or ⓒ) is a typographical symbol. As one of many enclosed alphanumerics, the symbol is a "C" within a circle.

Free content

Free content, libre content, or free information, is any kind of functional work, work of art, or other creative content that meets the definition of a free cultural work.

In His Own Write

In His Own Write is a nonsensical book by John Lennon first published on 23 March 1964. It consists of short stories and poems, and line drawings, often surreal in nature. The book was the first solo project by one of the members of the Beatles in any creative medium. It was followed in 1965 by A Spaniard in the Works.

Keep on Truckin' (comics)

Keep on Truckin' is a one-page comic by Robert Crumb. It was published in the first issue of Zap Comix in 1968. A visual riff on the lyrics of the Blind Boy Fuller song "Truckin' My Blues Away", it consists of an assortment of men, drawn in Crumb's distinctive style, strutting confidently across various landscapes. The strip's drawings became iconic images of optimism during the hippie era.

Crumb was offered $100,000 by Toyota to reproduce the image for a Keep On Truckin' advertising campaign, but turned it down.

List of typographical symbols

This is a list of typographical symbols.








Copyright symbol





Exclamation mark

Full stop


Question mark

Quotation mark

Registered trademark symbol



Trademark symbol


Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial

Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial is a bronze statue honoring educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune, by Robert Berks.The monument is the first statue erected on public land in Washington, D.C. to honor an African American and a woman. The statue features an elderly Mrs. Bethune handing a copy of her legacy to two young black children. Mrs. Bethune is supporting herself by a cane given to her by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The statue was unveiled on the anniversary of her 99th birthday, July 10, 1974, before a crowd of over 18,000 people. The funds for the monument were raised by the National Council of Negro Women, the organization Mrs. Bethune founded in 1935. It is located in Lincoln Park, at East Capitol Street and 12th Street N.E. Washington, D.C.The inscription reads:

(Front bottom of Bethune's dress:)

(copyright symbol)



(Front of base:)


1875 1955

(Front of base, in script:)

Let her works praise her

(Bronze plaque, front of base:)


JULY 10, 1974





(Bronze plaque running around sides of base:)


Mary McLeod Bethune (in script)


P (named pee ) is the 16th letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.

P (disambiguation)

P is the sixteenth letter of the ISO basic Latin alphabet.

P may also refer to:

P, in Greek alphabet, the Rho, the lowercase p is also sometimes confused with Rho ρ or ϱ

P, in Cyrillic alphabet, the Er

In linguistics, P (also O), the patient-like argument (object) of a canonical transitive verb

Encircled P, or ℗, is the sound recording copyright symbol

p., an abbreviation for page when referencing a page number in a print publication

Portugal country code in the vehicle registration plates of the European Union

Parking, see also Parking (disambiguation).

Public Domain Mark

Public Domain Mark (PDM) is a symbol used to indicate that a work is free of known copyright restrictions and therefore in the public domain. It is analogous to the copyright symbol, which is commonly used to indicate that a work is copyrighted, often as part of a copyright notice. The Public Domain Mark was developed by Creative Commons and is only an indicator of the public domain status of a work, it does itself not release a copyrighted work into the public domain like CC0.

As there is no single definition of public domain and copyright laws differ by jurisdiction, a work can be in the public domain in some countries while still being under copyright in others (so called hybrid status). It is also difficult to assess the legal status of many works. The PDM is recommended to be used only for works that are likely free from any copyright restrictions worldwide.

Registered trademark symbol

The registered trademark symbol (®) is a symbol that provides notice that the preceding word or symbol is a trademark or service mark that has been registered with a national trademark office. A trademark is a symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product. In some countries it is against the law to use the registered trademark symbol for a mark that is not officially registered in any country.Trademarks not officially registered can instead be marked with the trademark symbol ™, while unregistered service marks are marked with the service mark symbol ℠. The proper manner to display these symbols is immediately following the mark, and is commonly in superscript style but is not legally required.

The registered trademark symbol was originally introduced in the Trademark Act of 1946.

Sound recording copyright symbol

The sound recording copyright symbol, represented by the graphic symbol ℗ (a circled capital letter P), is the copyright symbol used to provide notice of copyright in a sound recording (phonogram) embodied in a phonorecord (LPs, audiotapes, cassette tapes, compact discs, etc.). Present in Europe since at least the mid-1960s, the use of the symbol in United States copyright law after 1971 was codified at 17 U.S.C. § 402 and is specified internationally in the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms.The P stands for phonogram, the legal term used in most English-speaking countries to refer to works known in U.S. copyright law as "sound recordings".A sound recording has a separate copyright that is distinct from that of the underlying work (usually a musical work, expressible in musical notation and written lyrics), if any. The sound recording copyright notice extends to a copyright for just the sound itself and will not apply to any other rendition or version, even if performed by the same artist(s).

In the United States, the sound recording copyright notice, which may only be affixed to a phonorecord, consists of three elements:

the ℗ symbol;

the year of first publication of the sound recording;

an identification of the owner of the copyright, either by name, abbreviation or other designation by which it is generally known. The identification can be omitted if the owner is the sound recording's producer, and the producer is identified on associated packaging.The symbol in Unicode is U+2117 ℗ SOUND RECORDING COPYRIGHT (HTML ℗), with the alternative names "published" and "phonorecord sign". It closely resembles U+24C5 Ⓟ CIRCLED LATIN CAPITAL LETTER P (HTML Ⓟ) and U+24DF ⓟ CIRCLED LATIN SMALL LETTER P (HTML ⓟ)The symbol was introduced in 1971, essentially simultaneously in both domestic United States law and international treaty.

In the United States, it was added by Pub.L. 92–140, 85 Stat. 391, enacted October 15, 1971, which amended the 1909 Copyright Act by adding protection for sound recordings and prescribed a copyright notice for sound recordings:

(c) In section 19, title 17, of the United States Code, add the following at the end of the section: "In the case of reproductions of works specified in subsection (n) of section 5 of this title ["Sound recordings"], the notice shall consist of the symbol ℗ (the letter P in a circle), the year of first publication of the sound recording, and the name of the owner of copyright in the sound recording, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner: Provided, That if the producer of the sound recording is named on the labels or containers of the reproduction, and if no other name appears in conjunction with the notice, his name shall be considered a part of the notice.

Title page

The title page of a book, thesis or other written work is the page at or near the front which displays its title, subtitle, author, publisher, and edition. (A half title, by contrast, displays only the title of a work.)

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