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When you make a really cool animated GIF or make up some text that could be really useful you don't want it copied or reproduced without your permission, with someone else taking the credit, right? ok, so that's where copyright comes in.

Copyright isn't something you have to pay for (fortunately!). By writing a copyright notice for your pages you have specifically stated youe rights to the ownership of the content you have copyrighted. Trademarks are a different matter... If you have a lot of money to spare, you can apply to the Patent Office (England, or the US), and they will check out your claim to a specific "brand" or name. You'll have to pay quite a bit for this. If you actually want to hold the rights to this name you basically pay a "rental" fee of it, which costs... Most people like me don't need to register a trademark, just stop people being able to legally freely copy my work. If you want to copyright something in an absolutely watertight fashion, place a copy of it (if it's software use a CD or disks, as opposed to printing stuff), in a sturdy envelope, seal it securely, and then send it to yourself by registered post. This way the package will have a date on it which cannot be disputed. When you receive the package DO NOT open it, instead keep in a safe place. If someone does copy your work, you can then prove that you had the idea first because you have the sealed package with the date you copyrighted it on. It's not really worth it with a web site, but with any applications software you may write it is a must do.

All you have to do to make sure some surfer out there doesn't take your stuff is put a copyright notice in your page(s). This can either be on every page (like I have done), or on the very first page, saying that everything in the site is copyrighted. Personally, I think that putting it on every page is best, as people can enter your site in any way, and not necessarily through the main/first page...
Copyright notices should say something like:
All material Copyright 2000 your name. All Rights Reserved.
It's also a good idea to make another page with further legal stuff, basically expanding on the copyright policy and telling people they aren't allowed to sue you for anything that goes wrong with anything...! Take a look at mine.

Well, basically, that's it, I'm not a lawyer! *laughs*



Copyright 1998 Iceman. All Rights Reserved. Further Legal Stuff

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