Copyright is automatic in the act of creation and has been so for as long as the Internet has exited, in America or otherwise. You never have to claim copyright, and you can't copy people's work without permission wether they expressively have claimed copyright or not. It's to the point that in a lot of countries (like Germany) you can't even disown copyright and put it in the public domain but have to assign it a liberal license instead.
When Google first launched because the homepage was so simple people were still waiting for it to finish loading when it was done. So they added a copyright notice as an indication to people that the load is complete, not for any sort of legal need and Google today don't have the notice anymore. As told Marisa Mayer by cnet.com/news/were-all-guinea-pigs...
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