The copyright symbol © is used in copyright notices for all works except sound recordings. Sound recordings copyright notices are indicated with the ℗ symbol. The use of the symbol is described in United States copyright law and by the Universal Copyright Convention. The C in the circle stands for copyright ©. A copyright notice usually consists of the © symbol, the word Copyright, the year of first publication of the copyrighted work and the publishers name e.g: Copyright © 2011 Smit & Van Wyk, Inc.

The owner of a copyright can:

  1. copy the work
  2. publicly perform literary, musical, dramatic, motion picture and other audiovisual works.
  3. publicly perform sound recordings.
  4. create derivative works based upon the work.
  5. sell, rent, lease, lend copies of the work.

It is not necessary to have a notice of copyright for material to be copyright protected. Once an original work is published (text, graphics, photographic, music, video) it is copyrighted. Anyone who has created an original work can use the copyright symbol on his work.