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How do I Copyright a Blog?

Diane Goettel
Updated: Feb 27, 2024

It is possible to copyright a blog by working with a governmental copyright office or by gaining a distribution license from a company or organization that extends such licenses to bloggers. In the United States, one can copyright a blog by registering the blog with the United States Copyright Office (USCO). Registering for a copyright gives bloggers a public record of their claims to their own intellectual property. Doing so makes it easier for bloggers to protect themselves and represent their claims in instances in which their work has been stolen or plagiarized. In such instances, it is not always necessary for a blogger to have established a copyright in order for him to send cease and desist letters.

The instructions for how to copyright a blog in the United States are set forth in relatively clear terms by circulars distributed by the United States Copyright Office. Such circulars can be requested by mail or downloaded from the USCO website. In most cases, bloggers are required to send the content of their blogs on a disk along with other application materials. There may be a fee associated with making this application.

For those who decide to copyright the material that they post on their blogs, it is important to let readers and site visitors know that the work is under copyright. Each page of the blog should have the copyright symbol, which is the letter "c" with a circle around it, posted somewhere on the page. It is common for people to post this symbol at the bottom of each page. Along with this symbol, the name of the person or organization who owns the copyright should be posted. Additionally, the year or years of the copyright should be posted.

In order to very securely copyright a blog, a blogger should also note copyright information if content from the blog is used elsewhere. Some bloggers, for example, are careful to post copyright information in RSS feeds that include content from their blogs. The same can be done if content from the blog is disseminated in some other way, such as in the body of a web-based newsletter.

Those who choose to get a distribution license may not need to get a copyright as well. To copyright a blog is to disallow use of any of the content of the blog in a manner not expressly permitted by the owner of the copyright. To get a distribution license is to agree to a certain kinds of use of that content.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
Discussion Comments
By Melonlity — On Jun 27, 2014

@Soulfox -- there are methods people can use, such as turning off the ability to simply copy, turning off contextual menus by not allowing people to right click and copy, etc. Those methods require some knowledge of HTML, though, but anyone who runs a serious site should have that knowledge or at least access to someone who does.

For the less technical, you can find some site plug ins and such that can be dropped in easily and will fight against copying.

No method is foolproof, but you can easily frustrate your cut and paste types with a few tips, techniques and some plug ins that can at least cut down on the number of people stealing your content.

By Soulfox — On Jun 26, 2014

Copyrighting material is one thing, but does that really go far enough in this day and age? It seems people will swipe anything, so will some people let a copyright notice stop them from stealing copy? Is there a way to block the ability of people to simply steal any copy whether it is copyrighted or not?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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