Copyright canonical form

One thing that’s nagged at me lately has been the series of applications I’ve seen lately with copyright statements that appear to be from the Bizarro universe. I don’t mean that they have weird license restrictions; rather, they have a copyright statement in their standard About panel that’s formatted strangely. It’s a minor pet peeve to be sure, but it’s a simple thing to get right and getting it wrong looks silly.

Note that the following is not legal advice on asserting or protecting your copyright — you’ll have to go to a lawyer for that — it’s just a suggestion on how to concisely format your statement that your work is covered under copyright.

In a Cocoa application, the standard About panel will show the copyright statement specified under the NSHumanReadableCopyright of its Info.plist file. This should generally be of the form

> Copyright © «YEARS» «HOLDERS». All rights reserved.

where «YEARS» represents the individual year, set of years, or range of years during which the application was authored and «HOLDERS» represent the authors of the application.

Thus if I were to start writing an application in 2007 and finish it in 2008, I would put

> Copyright © 2007–2008 Chris Hanson. All rights reserved.

in the NSHumanReadableCopyright key of its Info.plist file. (Yes, that’s an en-dash between the years, option-hyphen gets you one.) It wouldn’t have the year at the end, or random commas after things, or random abbreviations. Just one simple statement.

Someday I’ll figure out how to add

> Copyright © 2002–2008 Chris Hanson. All rights reserved.

to the bottom of my weblog, too. Hopefully in such a way that I can actually update it easily when the year rolls over…

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