I’ve become something of an addict of Current Affairs. It’s not that I agree with it all the time. But I like the style. I am clearly a member of its demographic. It’s for educated people with a focus on politics. But it is also a magazine of culture. And the two things mix. When they write about culture, they bring in politics; and their political writing always touches on culture. They do a great job. What they can’t seem to do is put a proper copyright notice on the bottom of their pages.
This bugs me. They are smart people. Their website is written with the Bootstrap framework, so they aren’t total neophytes. If you are going to hand-code a site, it’s a good way to go. I’m a big believer in WordPress, but that’s more an indication of my age. I’m just not interested in the technical side of things anymore. (Yes, I know: it’s what I do for a living; but I get paid for caring about it then.) So it makes no sense that at the bottom of every page, we get this:
Let Computers Do What They Do Well
It’s almost 2017. What’s more, the site started at the end of 2015 (29 November is the first time that Archive.org noticed it). So they put in the copyright notice and never looked back.
I know: putting the copyright notice on the bottom of webpages is a pain. Many sites wait well into January before they finally get around to moving to the new year. And some take a good deal longer than that. There is no reason for this! Computers are great at doing really boring stuff like displaying the current year in your copyright notice.
There is an endless number of ways to solve the problem. If you look, you will see that at the bottom of every page on Frankly Curious is this:
And the wonderful thing is that at 0:00 on 1 January 2017, that will say, “© 2009-2017 Frank Moraes.” I never have to think about the issue except when I go to otherwise well designed websites that claim that fine articles published on 19 November 2016 have a 2015 copyright.
Automating Your Copyright Notice
There are a lot of ways to do this. It’s a single line of PHP code for instance. (WordPress is written primarily in PHP)
<?php echo "© 2009-" . date("Y") . " Frank Moraes"; ?>
© 2009 - <script> <!-- document.write(" " + new Date().getFullYear()); //--> </script> <noscript> 2016 </noscript> Frank Moraes
Now this has the disadvantage that it does have to be maintained. It’s just automatic for the vast majority of your visitors. It’s also the case that it doesn’t work with my WordPress theme. The
<noscript> tag is just stripped out and I end up with two “2016” strings. So I use the much simpler solution:
© 2009-<script>document.write(new Date().getFullYear());</script> Frank Moraes
Given this, one wouldn’t necessarily need to do anything but to put in “© 2009- Frank Moraes.” But I think having the current year is clearer and gives the reader the impression that the website owner takes copyright more seriously.
Regardless, none of this is difficult. All anyone has to do is copy and paste some code. I’ll even provide it for the folks at Current Affairs:
<span id="copyright">© 2015-<script>document.write(new Date().getFullYear());</script> Current Affairs</span>
Now they have no excuse. Not that they did before…