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It amuses me just how many sites insist on putting Copyright YEAR on their pages. Some like Google even put it on their emails. For many decades it has been the case that expression is automatically copyright. (Before that you had register. You can also register now, but putting that on your page does not count.) So the Copyright bit serves absolutely no useful purpose other than to litter your page.

The year is even worse. Copyrights last a long time, certainly long after the site has ceased being remotely relevant. In any event they apply to the original date of the expression, not to whatever the page footer says.

I generally see two years displayed. One is the current year, and it is often for content that was obviously not created this year (eg there will be a date stamp from earlier). They are just automatically using the current year which is wrong and misleading.

And then there are the folk who have some random year in the past. What I see on reading that is:

This content is stale, outdated and unmaintained. We don't care about it and neither should you. This has been happening since ...

—Copyright 2011

Google Email screenshot

A recent email from Google. One the other day said 2011.

Apple email screenshot

Apple of course go over the top. I doubt they are trademarking each email sent.

Appengine screenshot

The appengine main selector page. I seriously doubt it is unchanged in over 5 years. According the web server some of it was last changed in 2012, and the rest is so fresh and changing that under no circumstances should the browser consider using a cached copy.

You can see how they made the text less noticeable using grey. But that is still just visual litter. Legally and visually, having nothing is the most effective. Please help stamp out this scourge.

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