How To Protect Your Website From Copyright Infringement
You’ve put a lot of work and effort into your website content… not just the meat (text) but the bones of it all. Your website describes your experience in the field, your accomplishments, and the unique methods that you specialize in… that’s all you.
Until some lazy amateur copies your words, spins them around a little to pass plagiarism tests, and publishes your bones as their own.
There is absolutely nothing funny about copyright infringement, and yet it happens every day on the internet. For whatever reason, “newbies” confuse inspiration with thievery and the original source loses value every time it’s cloned.
There are a few things you can do that will protect your website from copyright infringement, such as:
- Include your name, article title, and date of publication within the code of every web page and blog article.
- Include references in your articles, with proper citation
- Display an Anti Plagiarism Banner[C1] in your header to let all visitors know that your website is protected, deterring potential thieves from committing copyright infringement.
- Include a page on your website that elaborates on the details of your copyrighted content. For example, many brands offer a “Media Kit” page with guidelines for using their logo or images.
- Add watermarks to copyrighted images you publish on your website, in a way that would be difficult to crop out.
What Can You Do If Somebody Has Ripped Off Your Web Content?
You’d think that people would be more cautious about stealing copyrighted material, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, you might find a competitor whose impressive site looks too familiar and there are a few things you can do:
- Collect evidence. You need to prove that Content B is stolen, and that Content A is the original.
- You need to prove that you own Content A.
- Seek legal guidance. Present the evidence to a lawyer or attorney. (This is optional, but strongly recommended.)
- Contact the thief with an official letter, presenting the evidence, and requesting removal of the stolen content. (AKA- a “takedown letter”)
- Wait for a response to determine the next course of action.
At this point, there could be many different types of responses. In the best cases, the offender apologizes and your stolen content is removed. In the worst cases, (s)he will not respond at all. Yet in some cases, they may deny or contest the accusation. If this happens, you may wish to contact an attorney if you have not already done so.
One of the leading myths about copyright infringement is that it can be a time consuming, expensive legal battle where the company with the most money wins. That is not always the case. In fact, most cases of copyright infringement takes place among small businesses and it can be settled without going to court.
However, it can all be prevented simply by taking some proactive steps to protect your website from thieves.