I am writing a program using VBA because its readily available, the code will be available to Cracks even though I password protect it. I knew this when I chose VBA because portability is more important than protection. My question relates to copyright, I put copyright and my name in the code and on the spread sheet to indicate it is my program but is this enough when people start copying the code? Do you have a strong legal version which I could place in my code?

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    Copyright 2013, Tony Royden, All rights reserved. that's about all the help it gives you.
    – Reactgular
    Jun 7, 2013 at 14:58
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    VBA portable? Where did I wake up this morning?
    – l0b0
    Jun 7, 2013 at 15:05
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    @l0b0 I also question how it's "readily available."
    – alroc
    Jun 7, 2013 at 17:50
  • This seems like more of a legal question. But it is software/legal for sure. It would be nice to find a link to a legal SE forum (if there is one) Jan 7, 2021 at 14:57

2 Answers 2


Copyright is Implicit

If it's personal, it's already copyrighted.

And something like what Matthew Foscarini gave you in his comment would do just fine to really make it clear:

Copyright 2013, Tony Royden, All rights reserved.

If it's you say you release copyright that it's not.

Licensing Isn't

On the other hand, that just tells people you're the rightful owner of some stuff. Doesn't tell them what they can or can't do with it. That comes with licensing terms, which are up to you to define. They can range from "do whatever the hell you want with it as long as I can't be held responsible for it" to a "you damn kids get off my lawn, that's my stuff!". Or the GPL, but it's more verbose and complex to read and get.

Big Fat Caveat: There's No Universal Copyright Law

There are not that many universal laws of any kind, for that matter. This will vary from country to country. This is usually the accepted logic online though, as we mostly talk about US Copyright Laws and laws from countries that adhere to the Berne Convention defining some international copyright agreements.

Your mileage may vary, ask a lawyer.

(Of course, IANAL and stuff...)

  • 2
    Copyright is implicit in some legal territories. IAANAL.
    – l0b0
    Jun 7, 2013 at 15:06
  • @l0b0: Right, I usually mention that in most answers about these stuff. Yeah, Copyright laws aren't universal and vary from country to country, plus international law is a mess, and good luck suing some guy in a garage on the other side of the planet. The usual yadda-yadda. :)
    – haylem
    Jun 7, 2013 at 15:07
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    Actually, "yadda-yadda" is probably as good an answer as anybody is going to get without professional legal help. Copyright, licensing etc. is fiercely complex.
    – l0b0
    Jun 7, 2013 at 15:09
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    @l0b0: yadda-yadda is always a good answer.
    – haylem
    Jun 7, 2013 at 15:09

In the US, if you created it, you already have a copyright on your work. There's a difference between owning a copyright and registering a copyright. So yes, for some purposes it's enough to put your copyright notice on your work and call it a day. If you think you might ever need to enforce your copyright, though, you may want to also register your work with the US Copyright Office.

Start by reading about copyright at the US Copyright Office's FAQ. If you decide that you want to register your copyright, there's a step-by-step guide on wikihow.com that will help. It basically walks you through the registration process.

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