By ucylcjh, on 31 May 2016
UCL authors sometimes ask about suitable copyright notices to add to their works to ensure that they are protected. In the UK and in the European Union generally there is no requirement for works to be registered for copyright protection. Copyright applies automatically once a work is “fixed” in some form, regardless also of whether it has been published or not.
It follows that adding a copyright notice such as “Copyright 2016. All rights reserved” does not increase copyright protection in the least. It may still serve other useful puposes such as reminding people about copyright restrictions and indicating the likelihood that a rights owner may take action against infringement.
If the notice identifies the rights owner it also serves the purpose of advising whom to contact for permission to reuse the work. It can even be a form of licence if it specifies what is acceptable, such as “You are permitted to make one copy for non-commercial educational purposes” or the like and may be a DIY alternative to attaching a Creative Commons licence to your work if you are happy to allow certain kinds of reuse.