Website Copyright Information
You'll be happy to know there's nothing you have to do to officially copyright your content or pictures.
Anything you authentically produce and publish on your site is automatically owned and copyrighted by you.
Of course this doesn't mean people won't try to steal your work. That's one unfortunate thing about the web.
It's very easy to steal content and pictures from other people's websites and you will probably have to deal with this at some level.
Ways to Deter Thieves
Creative Commons is a great resource that helps Webmasters mark their creative work. There's some good information and resources on this site and may be able to answer more specific questions you have about copyrighting.
Another way to scare thieves is to sign up with a copyrighting service that lets you file for a federal copyright. c-Site would be an example. Once your application has been accepted you can then display their official seal on your site.
There are some free options too. For example, CopyScape.com has some banners you can add to your site to warn people that your work is copyrighted.
To be honest, putting their image on your site is more of a plug for them as opposed to protection for you, but it may deter a few thieves.
Add a Watermark to Pictures
If you have pictures that you are concerned about people stealing, you can always add a watermark with your site's domain name at the bottom.
This is a great way to keep people from stealing your images. Most people will not want to put images on their site if they are displaying someone else's domain name. It makes it very obvious they do not own the pictures.
I'm sure you've seen this done by many of the popular photo sites like Getty Images.
Of course, none of the above tactics are going to stop thieves completely. However, implementing one or more of the above ideas may make a few people think twice and reinforces the fact you are watching.
Using Pictures and Videos From Other Sites
If you are creating a site based on a TV show, movie, music, etc. you need to be very careful about the content and pictures on your site.
By law, you are not to use any pictures or content from music, movies, etc. without permission from the owner.
Now I'm sure you're thinking, "What about all the sites out here with pictures of celebrities, music lyrics etc?"
You're right. There are a ton of sites and blogs out here that post pictures. But the majority of these people put them up without permission. And while the likelihood of them getting reprimanded is low, you should still know that it is illegal to post copyrighted information without proper permission.
Now, it's up to you to decide if you want to follow the rules or not. I'm just the messenger. :)
With the explosion of YouTube, you can find clips from almost any TV show these days. Believe it or not most of the TV footage on YouTube is illegal as well because the owners record them from their own personal DVRs and post them without permission from the networks.
So while you are allowed to post these YouTube videos on your site, don't be surprised if you logon to your site one day and find the video has been taken down by YouTube.
When In Doubt, Always Ask
I am a big Scrabble fan and had the idea to create a site based on Scrabble strategies. I contacted Hasbro and they told me I was not allowed to create a site using their trademarked name.
Of course there are sites out here that use it without their permissions. And chances are a big company like Hasbro (and others) have bigger fish to fry than going after "the little people."
But in my opinion, it's not worth the risk. There are so many different kinds of sites you can create using your own work, and the peace of mind is worth it.
If you can absorb the preliminary information on this site, you will have a huge advantage because most people rush and don't take the time to plan and educate themselves before they begin.
If your goal is to make money with a website or blog, absorb the content on this site like a sponge.