It’s a new year and now I need to update the copyright on my website — or do I?

A lot of people tend to want to change the copyright year on their website as soon as January 1st rolls over but that’s not technically the correct way to do it.

However, before reading any further, I need to make this clear…   I’m not a lawyer, I don’t play one on TV, and I don’t even think I’m related to one!     This is not legal advice — talk to YOUR lawyer about this (and make sure you’re not pretending to be a lawyer yourself).

First, let’s define what the purpose of copyright is.    The copyright date is there to protect you and show your right to ownership by demonstrating when the content was first created.     If the date of the site’s creation is later than the date that the content itself was created (photos taken, images drawn, or text written), then you’d use a date range such as 2010-2014.

You should only ever add a year to your copyright when you add newly created content.

So, in summary, here’s how it works…    A website that has a single year would reflect that the site and all of its content was written on that particular year.    A website that has a date range will show the range of years in which content was created from oldest to newest.

By changing your copyright year, to the current year, you are falsely claiming that the site and all of its contents was newly created this year which could cause issues for you down the road if there ever is a copyright dispute.

Hopefully that clears that up for you.   If it doesn’t, talk to your lawyer.    If it does, maybe talk to your lawyer anyways — chances are, you need to find out about the new privacy laws surrounding email permissions and spam that could cost you a LOT of money and jail time soon.