In copyright law, you lose all rights to claim the copyright if you fail to defend them yourself. So this phrase, translated from lawyerspeak, means: We have the copyright on Foo, and if anyone even says the word foo without our permission, we'll sue.

One of the earliest international copyright treaties was the 1911 Buenos Aires Convention on Literary and Artistic Copyrights. This treaty provided that, once copyright was obtained for a work in one signatory country, all other signatories accorded protection as well without requiring any further formalities (ie: notice or registration), provided that the work contained a notice reserving these rights. The typical notice complying with the Buenos Aires Convention was "All Rights Reserved."

The Buenos Aires Convention is essentially dead today, and the "All Rights Reserved." notice no longer serves much useful purpose. It lives on mostly as a testament to inertia on the part of publishers and in the lawbooks of some African countries.

Now most countries aqnowledge the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works was established in 1886 in Berne, Switzerland. The text has been revised, and the current edition (and the one to which the United States of America and most other nations are a signatory) is the 1971 Paris text. The treaty is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an international organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Berne Convention has four main points: national treatment, preclusion of formalities, minimum terms of protection, and minimum exclusive rights.

The correct form for a notice is: "Copyright <dates> by <author/owner>".

You can use © (a C in a circle) instead of "Copyright" but "(C)" has never been given legal force.

Cool fact: The United States of America Congress has effectuated the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act, PL 101-553, on 01 June 1991. This law added section 511 to the Copyright Act, which had the effect of removing the immunity defense for the government and other federal and state institutions. (Hint: sue them if you get the chance, they have too much money anyway.)

See also: Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Universal Copyright Convention, fair use, Common Law Copyright, etc.

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