The main things to include in a copyright message are the date on which you are copyrighting the item and your name or business name. Depending on which you use, you or your company will own the rights to distribute or copy the item you are protecting. You can include the phrase “all rights reserved,” but this is no longer needed in most areas, although it may help you maintain certain rights if you attempt to file a claim against someone for stealing your work.
You should be aware that no copyright message is actually needed in order for your work to be protected. The moment you finish writing, recording, or photographing something, it is copyrighted by law in most locations. You may be more likely to sway potential violators of that law from copying your work if you included a copyright notice.
When writing a copyright message, you only need to include the date the work was finished or the date on which you are copyrighting it and the name of the person or entity who owns the copyright. In most cases, you would be the sole owner of the copyright. If the work is a written piece that has been published or a musical composition that has been purchased by a record company, the copyright may be partially or entirely owned by the company.
In some cases you may choose to include the name of the piece with your copyright message. This is not generally necessary if the notice is posted on the work itself, but it does not hurt anything if you feel better including it. The basic format for writing the message would be: "name of the work if included, Copyright year by owner’s name." The official copyright symbol, which is usually a “C” within a circle is also acceptable in place of the fully written word.
Keep in mind that if the work you are copyrighting has no commercial value, the chances of winning a lawsuit are slim. This is true even if you do include a copyright message on the work. You would have to determine the amount your work would reasonably sell for in the market. Unfortunately, unknown writers, musicians, and other artists are unlikely to sell their work for much money, but the work of an unknown artist is also unlikely to be stolen to begin with.
One exception to that rule involves the pirating of web articles and other online media. Many written materials and photos posted to the Internet are stolen and resold to other websites. If you have sold or signed over your work to a website, then they may own the copyright and it is their job to track down and deal with content theft. If you still own the copyright, you can contact the webmaster of any site featuring your work without permission and ask for them to take it down, pay to use your work, or add a byline or link to make it known that the work is yours. If this doesn’t work, contact the major search engines and report the site.