All Rights Reserved, A Copyright Relic
Art Law

All Rights Reserved, A Copyright Relic

It’s not uncommon to come across a document, pamphlet, or other resource with the words “All Rights Reserved” stamped across the bottom. But what do these words mean exactly? What purpose do they serve? Does the author think it’s necessary to use in order to retain his copyright? Is it intended to prohibit all further uses? PSA: The phrase “All Rights Reserved” isn’t necessary today, but it does have historical origins. In order to understand why “All Rights Reserved” isn’t legally necessary for copyright protection, it’s important to remember that the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works — which has 176 contracting parties — did away with formalities. The Berne Convention, which sets minimum standards for protections, provides automatic copyright protection — that is, copyright exists from the moment of creation and is not dependent on registration or notice. While formalities, like registration, might still be required in order to obtain certain remedies (for example, statutory damages in the United States), the existence of copyright is not dependent on such formalities. While notice is no longer required for works created today, it can still serve a useful purpose , for example, to provide information to […]

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