Thursday, August 9, 2012

Protecting Your Original Content Online

It’s inevitable that as a publisher of original content, someone will steal it.  What’s important is how you deal with it. With the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), there are ways you can protect your content from people who steal from your site. And you don’t need to be a lawyer to understand how it works. 

There are six ways that you can protect your content online.  By taking these actions, you reduce the chances for your online content to be stolen.  

·         Learn the basics of copyright law. According to the DMCA, your post is protected as soon as you publish it. As a creator – the content becomes your intellectual property and no one can reproduce it without your permission. 

·         Post a copyright notice on your website.  Although having a copyright notice on the bottom of your website does not protect you, it does tell everyone that the content is your intellectual property.  It is used as a warning for others that copying your content is not legal.   

·         Post a permissions policy. Create a permissions policy page which clarifies what people can do with your content.  It allows other webmasters a guide to follow on what they can or cannot do with your content. 

·         Request that they remove your post. Ask the offender to remove your post by email or in the comments – politely.  In many cases, people may not know that they have done an offence and just need to be educated. Most likely they will comply once you’ve notified them.

·         Notify the ISP (Internet Service Provider).  The DMCA allows copyright owners to have ISPs comply with “take down” requests. In this case, ISPs can be any website that hosts the offending website or content. You may have to do a bit of research in order to find the right hosting service or even contact name. However, once you’ve sent them an email, the ISPs will do their research into your request.  If the ISP finds that there is a copyright infringement, they will make their own request to the website owner or take down the site.   

·         Hire a copyright lawyer. If nothing else works, you may have to resort to hiring a lawyer who can go after the offender.  Keep in mind that lawyers can be expensive and there can be no guarantee that you will be successful.  

If you use a Wordpress blog, download and install one of their plugins – the WP Copyprotect. This locks your content so that no one can highlight and copy your content. However, for the real pirates, this won’t deter them as they can merely shut down their website and appear elsewhere with another site.

The best strategy is to create great original content that your readers will love and share. This not only helps build credibility but also brand loyalty that keeps your readers coming back.