You don’t need a degree in IT or be a computer expert to know how to copy and paste; anyone can do it. So how do you protect the content of a website that you so tirelessly put together? It can be very hard, in fact near impossible to prevent someone from copying your content. But, fortunately, there a few handy steps you can take to discourage content theft and protect content on your website.

Copyright Law

Copyright is the first thing point of protection you have over the content on your site. Copyright provides, more or less, legal ownership over the original work that you produce, whether it be articles, photographs, videos or music. Any original work created in Australia and published on the Internet is protected automatically under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). However, a notice of this to users is a good idea (having a statement on your website to the effect of ‘© Business Name, 2016’ for example, will do the job). If nothing else it will communicate to users that you are aware of your legal standing.

The catch is that in reality you still need to be vigilant so you know whether or not your copyright had been infringed. Even though it’s legally yours, it doesn’t physically stop people from taking or copying your content. If you are pro-active, you could even do random Internet searches for plagiarism, by copying unique statements from your website with quotation marks and searching for them through Google.

There is also software called Copyscape that will save you time. However, people can sometimes copy content from websites that are protected by copyright, without realising they are doing the wrong thing. In that case, asking the person to remove it may be all that is required.

Website Terms of Use

Your terms of use are another way you can protect content on your site. Your websites Terms of Use set out the rules for how a person must use your site, but they also are a way to protect your intellectual property. Use this as another opportunity to list exactly how people may use or may not use the content on your website.

Other Ways To Be Pro-Active With Protection

Deter People From Copying and Pasting Your Content

If you have a WordPress site, you can also use software such as WP-Copyprotect, which essentially ‘locks’ your blog so that content cannot be copy and pasted. Other ways to deny a person from copying and pasting an image or text from your website is by manually installing some JavaScript code.

Watermarking Images

Another way to protect your content is by placing a faint logo or text over your image so that if someone tries to copy it, the image will retain your website’s logo. There are lots of different software programs that can help you do this.

Google Alerts and Google Authorship

Google offers a couple of ways to help protect content. Google Alerts will notify you when there is an exact match of your content appears online. Google Authorship allows you to enter your online content and claim that you were the original author. It’s always good to have Google on your side!

A Creative Solution to Content Theft

Embed Anything, an app that is no longer operating, created a different kind of solution to the problem of content theft. How? When people wanted to copy images from websites, a sentence would appear underneath the image wherever it was used, leading people back to the original author of the image. So Embed Anything encouraged a legitimate way to use other peoples content – while also providing some free marketing for the content creator. Perhaps this is a solution that will aid in preventing copyright infringement online.

Key Takeaways

  1. Notify users that copyright protects content that appears on your website and lists the appropriate ways people may use you and your site in its terms of use;
  2. Keep an eye on how others are using your content on the internet;
  3. Start by asking the perpetrator to remove the material that has infringed your copyright (remember they may have just made an innocent mistake!);
  4. Be pro-active about deterring people from copying your websites content; and
  5. Seek advice if you think your copyright has been infringed.

Contact LegalVision’s online business lawyers to assist you with your questions on how to protect the content on your website.

Annie Gunn

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