Feeding the Footer III: Your Copyright Line

In the Euro­pean legal area, exploita­tion rights inher­ent­ly belong to the author of a work. She does not have to do any­thing else. In the Amer­i­can legal area, things are dif­fer­ent. There, every work falls into the ‘pub­lic domain’ by default. Only when the author active­ly claims her ‘copy­right’, the work belongs to her.

But what hap­pens with orig­i­nal Euro­pean works in the Amer­i­can legal area? With­out claim­ing author­ship, they prob­a­bly fall into the pub­lic domain. So an author is well advised to mark her Euro­pean pub­li­ca­tions with a copy­right notice, even if this seems super­flu­ous from the Euro­pean view­point.1 And so she should keep it with her Inter­net sites.

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  • Copy the fol­low­ing code into functions.php of your child theme:
  'name'          => esc_html__('Footer Copyright Line', 'bootscore'),
  'id'            => 'footercrline',
  'description'   => esc_html__('Add widgets here.', 'bootscore'),
  'before_widget' => '<div class="container"><small>',
  'after_widget'  => '</small></div>',
  • Copy the file footer.php into your child theme.
  • Replace the fol­low­ing lines:
<div class="container">
  <small>&copy;&nbsp;<?php echo Date('Y'); ?> - <?php bloginfo('name'); ?>
  • by the lines:
<?php if (is_active_sidebar('footercrline')) : ?>
  <div class="small"><?php dynamic_sidebar('footercrline'); ?></div>
<?php endif; ?>
  • Add a text box to the new wid­get Foot­er Copy­right Line aris­ing under Appearance/Widgets.
  • Enter a text line start­ing with ‘©’ YEAR Author-Name’.


Of course, you may also edit your copy­right line direct­ly in the file footer.php on HTML/PHP lev­el2. The bootScore authors pre­fer this method.

I myself choose this “detour”, because I like to add license notes to my line, which I also want to be able to change quick­ly. To down­load footer.php from the pro­duc­tion sys­tem, edit­ing it, and upload­ing it again is too much work for me.

It would be even bet­ter if bootScore offered this way. Then we could save, copy­ing the file footer.php into our child theme. And the few­er files we man­age in our child theme, the eas­i­er it is for us to upgrade to the next bootScore ver­sion. How­ev­er, its authors have a dif­fer­ent opin­ion on this. They say footer.php already con­tains 5 wid­gets, which is more than enough.3 Maybe there are oth­er rea­sons against my way. If I see them, I will men­tion them here.

Final­ly, there is the ques­tion of loca­tion and copy­right sign in the line. In this case, the form is rather sec­ondary: you are not oblig­ed to use the HTML tag $copy; for ©. You can also use images like or — very old-fash­ioned — the string (C). You also do not need to add a town or a coun­try. In case of dis­pute, you only have to prove that You are You. That’s why I often add my place of res­i­dence and my nation. Does that work? No idea. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t give advice; I just tell. And I have nev­er been involved in a dis­pute.

  1. There­fore the FSF says that the free GNU soft­ware is first put under copy­right and then becomes copy­left soft­ware by means of the GPL. []
  2. in the lines named above as to be delet­ed []
  3. cf. dis­cus­sion #389 []
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