If you’re a content creator, you’ve probably seen the words, “All Rights Reserved”, and wondered, “what does all rights reserved mean?”
Today, some lawyers believe that the words, “all rights reserved,” has become legally obsolete. If you are a content or copyright creator, any copyright work is protected at the moment of creation. There is no need to reserve rights in order to protect your copyright.
Previously, the Buenos Aires Convention of 1910 required a statement “that indicates the reservation of a property right” to accompany copyrighted works in signatory countries in order for such work to be protected. For this reason, the term ‘all rights reserved’ was used to protect copyrighted work under the Buenos Aires Convention.
However, under the Berne Convention, all copyrighted work is protected at the moment of creation. There is no need for a statement that indicates a reservation of a property right. In 2000, the last country that was a signatory to the Buenos Aires Convention, Nicaragua, became a member of the Berne Convention. Thus, all signatory countries of the Buenos Aires Convention now recognize the protection of copyrighted work at the moment of creation. Because of this, some lawyers believe that the words ‘all rights reserved’ have become legally obsolete.
Still, the words ‘all rights reserved’ is useful in copyright infringement cases. It is a copyright notice that serves as a warning to the public that the copyright owner recognizes his ownership over the copyright and does not grant permission for others to use such copyright outside of fair use.
Today, ‘All Rights Reserved’ is used to notify the public that: (a) the work is copyrighted; (b) the copyright owner is asserting its rights to the copyright; (c) unauthorized use of the copyright outside of fair use is not permitted and will be considered infringement; and (d) infringement will be prosecuted.
Although the copyright notice that includes the words ‘all rights reserved’ is optional, it provides an extra layer of protection and will aid in proving your copyright ownership in copyright infringement cases.
Although copyright exists at the moment of creation, you need to register your copyright with the US Copyright Office in order to initiate a copyright infringement case. Once you’ve filed a copyright infringement case, you need to prove to the court your ownership over the copyrighted work. Aside from your copyright registration with the US Copyright Office to show ownership, another way to show copyright ownership is through the copyright notice.
Generally, the copyright notice will include the copyright symbol ©, the copyright owner’s name, the year the work was created, and the reservation of rights. The symbol © is a universal symbol depicting copyrighted work. A name should accompany the symbol to show who the owner of the work is and to let the public know who to contact in case they would like to use the copyrighted work. The year should be included so that the public will know how long copyright protection will last. The statement of rights can be a reservation of rights (all rights reserved) or a declaration that no rights are reserved, allowing the public free use to the work. An example of a copyright notice is: © 2020 ABC Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
The copyright notice, although optional, is still a useful tool that serves as a warning to the public that work is copyrighted and unauthorized use, outside of fair use, is considered infringement.
If you are wondering what ‘all rights reserved’ means, you need assistance in registering your copyright, or you would like to assert your rights over a copyright against a third person, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We have offices in New York City, Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY. You can call us at 212-233-1233 or send us an email at [email protected].