A Quick Way To Change Your Copyright Dates

Posted In: How To Guides 

A Quick Way To Change Your Copyright Dates

So…it’s 2008, it’s scary to think this blog has been on the go for almost 2 years, doesn’t time fly?!

I fully intend to start as I mean to go on, so I’m going to kick of this year with a really, really useful, time saving tip for all of you that have a website and/or blog. Picture this scenario:

“It’s January 1st, you are feeling terribly hung over from the night before, your head is pounding and all you want to do is go back to sleep. But you can’t, why?


OK, so maybe you don’t get THAT worked up about changing your copyright notices, but it is still a job that needs doing, and if you have a lot of websites it could take you a full day to change everything to the new date. You could always leave them with the old year on but that does look a bit unprofessional and lazy.

Luckily there is a quick way to change your copyright notices to the correct year, on auto-pilot. As soon as the clock hits 12.01 on January 1st, your copyright notices will update.

How do we do this?

It’s the magical 3 letter word again…..not that one, the other one 😉


Yes, adding a simple snippet of PHP code to your page will automatically show the correct year to your website visitors. I have already implemented it into this blog, scroll right to the bottom and look at my copyright notice, the notice will always show the correct date, you will need to wait until this time next year to test it out but you can take my word for it!

Now let me show you how to do this.

Open up your web page in your favourite editor (Dreamweaver, Frontpage, NVU etc.) and find the place that contains your current copyright statement (HTML/Code view). Replace the year with the following code:

<?php echo date(‘Y’); ?>

That will automatically display the current year on your page, that’s it, dead simple! Just a quick side note, don’t copy/paste the code direct from this page, WordPress tends to mess up the little quotation marks when you copy/paste!

Here’s an example of the statement on a website I built:

As the code is PHP then you need to make sure that your page is saved with a .php extension, and that your web server is capable of running PHP pages. – If it isn’t, why not check out D9 Hosting?

You can also get your web server to display your .html or .htm pages as PHP, just open up your .htaccess file and add the following line. If you don’t have a .htaccess file, you can easily create your own, just create a new text document and then rename it to “.htaccess”

You should now be ready to add auto-updating copyright notices to your websites. If you haven’t yet updated your 2007 notices why not give it a try?

As always let me know if you have any questions and feel free to leave any comments.

Here’s too a prosperous 2008!


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10 Responses to “A Quick Way To Change Your Copyright Dates”
  1. Colin says:

    Hi Dan and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you! Thanks for yet another useful tip!

  2. Dave Ovenden says:

    Hi Dan,

    A great time saving tip for this time of year!

    I have implemented something similar on my sites but, instead of using PHP, I use a small piece of javascript to produce the footer for all of my pages on all of my sites.

    Now I can update the date (or anything else in the footer) on all of my sites by simply updating one file containing the javascript code.

    I learnt this little trick from John Delevera and it workd a treat. 🙂

  3. Dan (el_passo) says:

    WOW, you 2 were quick with the comments, I only just sent the mailing!

    Thanks Colin, and a Happy New Year to you as well!

    Good tip Dave, I tend to stay away from Javascript when I can as some people tend to disbale javascript via their browser.

    You make a good point about using the includes, it’s another great timesaver. I often use them for navigation bars and any copyright notices, you’ve given me something to write about in a future newsletter! 🙂

  4. Randy Smith says:

    Great Tip Dan…..

    That said – With the shear numbers of pages I’d have to alter – I’m inclined to leave the flipping things….lol

    But for new sites – it’s something definately worth considering 🙂

    Oh and Happy New Year and may 2008 be a prosperous one for you and all your readers Dan 🙂

    Warm regards

  5. Tom Parker says:

    Hi Dan,

    Great post. I’ve just got a quick question regarding copyright notices because I’m not fully up to speed on them. What are the implications of not having a copyright notice?

    I did initially have my footer graphics include a copyright notice but quickly realised this would require me to upgrade my graphics each year so instead I now order footers that include “website – all rights reserved”. Should I change this to date based notices? Any assistance woud be appreciated.


  6. Thank You! Thank You!
    How said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…..

    I really appreciate your help Dan.



  7. Dan (el_passo) says:

    Hi Tom,
    As far as I’m concerned there are really no implications of not having a copyright statement there. People tend to copy stuff even if it does have a copyright symbol don’t they?!


    #Suppose I’d better do the usual “I am not a lawyer, my views alone, don’t follow them they are probably rubbish etc.etc.etc”

  8. Thanks, Dan.

    Wonderful post and a darn good trick. Will pass that on.

    Muchas gracias. Merci beaucoup. Vielen Dank. 🙂

  9. Paul says:

    How simple, how amazing to find somebody who will tell you this stuff.