PSA Tuesday: Don’t Forget To Check Your Copyright Date

It must have been a leap year thing but regardless the reason, I ran across more than a dozen arts org websites yesterday all with copyright notice dates that were 2015 or older.

Adaptistration Guy CopyrightIt took me off guard at first as this function is usually addressed by automatically changing the year based on the host server timestamp. Having said that, it is certainly something that can be manually entered as text so unless your site’s content is published via a Creative Commons License, take a moment today and check your website(s) copyright notice to make sure the year reads 2016.

If your site was built using WordPress you probably have the auto date functionality in place already. Having said that, your developer may have taken some shortcuts leaving you with a custom theme which cut that part out of the final templates. This makes the job for the developer easier but isn’t necessarily in your best interest. As a result, they probably entered your copyright info into your footer as plain text and either never told you about the need to manually update, or only mentioned it in passing.

If so, here’s a quick way you can get that auto-year functionality back. Yes, it involves some code, but it’s not all that scary (but if you’re the least bit hesitant, err on the side of caution). You’ll need to add the following code to your functions.php file:

function year_shortcode() {
$year = date('Y');
return $year;
add_shortcode('year', 'year_shortcode');

Now you can use a the [year] shortcode and it will automatically display the current year in four-digit format on the frontend. Just use that shortcode in the text of your copyright notice and you won’t have to worry about manually updating the date each year.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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