Table Of Content
Reputation management websites work much like word-of-mouth today. The more people talk positively about you the better revenue you generate and the more people talk negatively the lesser growth you notice in your business.
What if, you produce commendable work after investing time and effort and someone else takes all the praises and profits?
You would witness such horrifying and distressing incidents on a frequent basis if there were no copyright laws.
The law protects the valuable assets of your business like website content, blogs, videos, and even images so that none can use these without your permission.
You’ve probably seen phrases like “copyright 2009” or “all rights reserved” at the bottom of a website page, which indicates its content is protected under copyright laws and infringing it will lead the person in legal trouble.
Don’t worry, we’ve penned down a detailed guide that answers all your questions related to copyright protection.
Let’s delve deeper step by step into the realm of copyright.
What Does It Mean To Copyright A Website?
The copyright act of 1976 was brought in to stop an unscrupulous person to steal the work of creative minds. This law gives authorship for creating original work without the fear of thievery.
The US copyright office’s circular 66 states, “copyrightable authorship is original expression contributed by an author that contains at least a minimum amount of creativity.”
Why Should You Copyright Website Content?
As soon as your website is live, all the content is publicly available, it’s considered copyrighted even if you’ve not registered them with the copyright office.
But, that doesn’t prevent an unscrupulous person from stealing your work and claiming that his own work.
Unless your website is registered with a copyright office or you’ve got a copyright notice on your site, you have no legal right to prove your authorship.
Copyright helps to provide legal ownership over your work. This law enables an author, artist, designer, developer, businessman, to take control of the work they produce.
It’s a type of Intellectual property right to ensure protection against creative works.
Without copyright protection, anyone can steal the content in the form of images, blogs, website pages, videos, and make a profit using your work.
But, wait!! The worst part is yet to come…
Did you know you can be wrongly framed by the Google algorithm under copyright laws?
After the launch of Google Panda which was made to protect copyright infringements and deem the low-quality content, the urge for copyright protection has radically increased.
You know why?
So, it’s more important to protect your web content under copyright laws. Registered copyright allows you to take legal actions against the person using your site’s content. But, how do you find that someone is using your content?
Ways to Find Copyright Infringement
There are billions of websites out there on the internet and the number is shooting up with each passing day. So, detecting the person who has used your content for their benefits without informing you might be a hell of a lot of work.
So, we’ve created a list of tools to help you out detecting the copyright infringements.
Let’s look at the steps below to find copyright infringements with the help of reputation management tools,
You can take a piece of your content and paste it on Google to scan the net. Put the phrases under quotation to get the most accurate results.
This will show you the list of contents including yours. So you can easily find the duplicate ones from the list.
Also, you can use Google alerts to notify you each time new content is published on the internet.
Use Plagiarism Checker
Also, there are free services offered by copygator to alert you when they find similar content alike your blog or website page.
How to Copyright Website Content?
As per U.S. copyright law, your website content is protected the moment you publish it. But, that doesn’t help you when someone steals your content and you want to take legal action against them.
Whereas a copyright registration gives you the authority and power to file a case of copyright infringement and immediately retrieve your content.
There are a couple of ways to copyright a website content, let’s have a look,
Adding Copyright Symbol to Your Site
Adding a copyright symbol enables the users to understand that it’s your content and they can’t use it without your permission.
You’ll notice the majority of sites that make revenue through their site add this copyright statement to the site’s footer.
This also serves the role of copyright notice.
Having a notice on your site makes it more effective and prevents others from misusing it.
You should include either a copyright symbol on the bottom of every page of your website and a phrase like “copyright” or “all rights reserved”. Like this,
The years here represent the year of the site’s first existence and the ongoing year.
Note: Always make sure the year on the notice stays up to date and shows on all pages.
Categorizing the Website Content
A website contains multiple forms of content such as blog posts, media files, images, videos, podcasts, etc.
The U.S copyright office doesn’t consider all these as one entity. So, when you register the content with the office, you need to categorize them and register individually to access full protection.
The circular 66 states that,
“The content should be registered according to the predominant copyrightable content. For example, if you want to protect a blog post consisting mainly of text, you can register the blog entry as a literary work. If you want to protect a musical work that is available on a website, you can register it as a work of the performing arts. Likewise, a photographer who displays or distributes her photographs on a website can register these images as visual artworks, and the office applied the same rules when examining them.”
So, analyze the content on your site and categorize them under separate lists.
Submitting a Copyright Registration Form
If there are chances that copyright infringement made by someone can put you in huge loss, then you should definitely submit a copyright registration application.
We’ve demonstrated the registration process in simple and convenient ways, let’s have a look,
- Head over to the copyright registration portal.
- Pay the required amount.
- Submit all your articles and contents for which you’re asking for protection.
- With each submission, the portal allows you to submit a large number of articles so you don’t have to do this process frequently.
The window will be open up like this,
From here you click on the “login” section to further process your submission.
From this page, you’ll be directed to a page that looks like this,
You can click on the register section when registering your content for the first time.
Once you’re done with the registration process, walk through the submission process where you’ll be asked to submit the content under their relevant category.
To register via an online process, you need to pay the fee. If you’re submitting it via mail, then find the form to fill your relevant details.
Once you’re done with the submission, keep an eye until your request is processed.
Check the timing taken by U.S copyright office,
What Does Not Fall Under Copyright Laws?
While you’re in the process of copyright your website content, it’s important to be aware of the things which you can’t copyright, for example,
- Your website URL.
- Webpage Layout.
- Contents on Public domains.
- Ideas can’t be copyrighted. For example, your content can’t be used by others but the idea can be levied by anyone.
- Unoriginal material, familiar symbols, etc., these don’t fall under copyright laws.
That triggers the urge that what if your website domain name is used by others and someone is doing way better than your site?
Well, we’ve got a solution for you. Have a look,
How to Protect Domain Name?
Your business should own its domain name along with content and all. A domain name serves the role of a brand name, so you should have a unique domain name and make sure nobody copies it.
However, if your domain name is http://www.abcd.com then the domain name will become unavailable for others, but someone can use the same name with different extensions. For example, www.abcd.com or .net will still be available for others.
So, using the same domain name with a different extension someone can take away your customers.
What will you do?
Or, you can register a trademark of your services like Google’s multicolored “G” is the trademark or service mark of Google which can’t be copied by others.
How to Take Action Against Copyright Infringement?
If you discover someone has used your content and violated the copyright act, then you have the right to take legal action against copyright infringement. However, filing a lawsuit is quite expensive, so you can explore the other avenues to remove your authorized posts.
Let’s explore the other avenues,
Contact the Webmaster
You can take down the content of yours by reaching out to the webmaster. But, before you contact them, gather the information to prove that you own the content you’re complaining about.
And locate the contact information of the infringer.
You can reach out to the webmaster by a polite email stating how the infringer has violated your content with added proof.
By showing them the proper proof you can ask them to remove the content.
In most cases, your job will be done after the first email.
Contact the Web Host
If contacting the webmaster didn’t work out, then you can contact the web host. Here you can leverage the power of Whois to find the web host company.
Once you find the infringers’ name, web hostname, you can ask them in a cordial way to remove the content while showing them the proof.
Mail the Infringer “cease and desist” letter.
If none of the above processed worked out for you then you can mail the infringer the “cease and desist”’ letter to formally notify them about removing the content.
If they still don’t consider following the order, then you can take legal action.
Utilizing the DMCA Act
Adding to this you can also file a complaint with Google to terminate the subscriber and disable the content.
Once the infringer gets the DMCA notice, he must take down the content immediately otherwise ISP will remove the content forcibly.
It might not be necessary for you to register your content with the copyright office. Most websites prefer to use a copyright notice instead of submitting the registration form.
But, if you think your website contains highly valuable information and copyright infringement can cost you a hefty amount then you should definitely opt for the registration process.
The above guide will help you out with using a copyright notice as well as filing a registration form.
But, undoubtedly copyright is an indispensable choice if you want to succeed in a fiercely competitive world.
Also, you should own the authorship for creating creative work on your own and everyone deserves the chance of owning the right to prevent their work from being misused.