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Copyright date on websites

Copyright is automatic on the day you post something anywhere. That starts the "death plus x years" clock ticking.

Copyright on a site is a marketing tool. He who ignores it is making a mistake. It shows lack of interest in making the site up to date. "No one is minding the store."

Some WordPress themes will automatically update copywrite date if set to.

Actually, I would suggest to leave the copyright date entirely away or to use a notice that includes both the original creation date and the most recent date in which content was added or modified.

Something like this:

“© 1999–2020 Test Company”

When using this format the first date represents the year the site was launched. The second date represents the year in which the most recent content was added.

It would also be appropriate to use ”© 1999 Test Company” or ”© Test Company”

From a litigation point of view you would not prefer to use ”© 2020 Test Company” because this will be used against you as this can mean that the site was created in 2020.

But ultimately it does not matter much. Copyright lawsuits are rare and they only make sense in the USA and in Germany, because these are the only places where so-called “statutory damages” are worth mentioning in practice.


Copyright is automatic on the day you post something anywhere. That starts the "death plus x years" clock ticking.

Copyright on a site is a marketing tool. He who ignores it is making a mistake. It shows lack of interest in making the site up to date. "No one is minding the store."

Some WordPress themes will automatically update copywrite date if set to.

Actually, I would suggest to leave the copyright date entirely away or to use a notice that includes both the original creation date and the most recent date in which content was added or modified.

Something like this:

“© 1999–2020 Test Company”

When using this format the first date represents the year the site was launched. The second date represents the year in which the most recent content was added.

It would also be appropriate to use ”© 1999 Test Company” or ”© Test Company”

From a litigation point of view you would not prefer to use ”© 2020 Test Company” because this will be used against you as this can mean that the site was created in 2020.

But ultimately it does not matter much. Copyright lawsuits are rare and they only make sense in the USA and in Germany, because these are the only places where so-called “statutory damages” are worth mentioning in practice.