The hidden consequences of an old copyright year in your website’s footer

Come on, this surely isn’t important!

Or is it…

Well, yep it is…and not at the same time.

Firstly, it’s always good to show the current year because it tells the client that your website is up-to-date and features current information.

If your website currently shows the year as 2018, that’s either when the website was built or the last time you touched it so aesthetically it’s always good to get it to show the latest year.

There are other reasons also…

It’s important when you want to assert copyright protection for your content. You’ll want to make sure the current year is displayed so that any new material you’ve added since the website was built is covered under copyright.

Do you just display one year, or a “from and to” i.e. Copyright 2018 to 2022…well it’s also important to do that to demonstrate when your content was first protected by copyright. This could cause problems if you ever had to fight a claim that you copied someone else’s work before it appeared on your site. I won’t go any further into this…it’s a very dark and complex corridor!

Ok, so the next problem is…how do you automatically update it so you don’t have to keep remembering?

It varies depending on how your website was built. If you use WordPress then most themes these days do it for you. If you have a bit more control then you can use a tiny piece of javascript to do it, it’s just one line of code and here it is…

<p>Copyright <script>document.write(new Date().getFullYear());</script></p>

Stay up to date, there are no reasons not to!