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How do I protect my copyright?

Copyright protection is automatic as soon as there is a record in any form of what has been created (there is no official registration). However, steps can be taken by the creator of a work to provide evidence that he or she had the work at a particular time. For example, a copy could be deposited with a bank or solicitor. Alternatively, a creator could send himself or herself a copy by special delivery post (which gives a clear date stamp on the envelope), leaving the envelope unopened on its return. A number of private companies operate unofficial registers, but it would be sensible to check carefully what you will be paying for before choosing this route.

It is important to note, that this does not prove that a work is original or created by you. But it may be useful to be able to show that the work was in your possession at a particular date, for example where someone else claims that you have copied something of theirs that was only created at a later date.

Another useful step for a copyright owner to take when copyright material is published is to mark it with the international copyright symbol © followed by the name of the copyright owner and year of creation. You might consider putting a similar marking on the material on your website. This is not essential in the UK, but may assist you in infringement proceedings, and will be needed in certain foreign countries.