The content on your website is unique to you or your company. It’s important to protect it from those who want to “borrow” it for their own purposes.
You write it and create it. Your content belongs to you.
But should you go so far as to copyright your website? Isn’t that an unnecessary step for something that’s on the internet for anyone to see?
When you think about it, because your website content is so easily accessible, you should copyright it for your protection. If your website includes security protection like SSL, you should add copyright protection, too.
Online content plagiarism is a major issue in this age of content-on-demand. Let’s look at why it’s critical to show a mark of rights reserved on your website, along with some tips on how to do it.
Plagiarism of anything is copying words or ideas that are not your own.
On the web, it’s an issue that spirals out of control.
It’s easy to Google a topic and find lists of sources with information. But plagiarism happens when copying anything directly from another website without providing a backlink or source citation.
The problem with the increase of website plagiarism is that many people think that information is free if it’s found online.
Yes, it’s free to read and share. But content is not free to take and own if you aren’t the content creator.
A copyright gives you the ownership of your work.
The idea originated at the Berne Convention in 1886. At the time, protections focused on authors and artists. Over time, copyrights apply to all forms of media and content creation.
You can note copyright in a few ways. There’s the familiar (C) symbol.
You’ve probably also seen the phrase “copyright all rights reserved” at the bottom of a webpage. Having copyright allows that text to protect any copy, art, design, and the website itself.
You might think that by writing or creating content, you own it. Therefore, copyright is unnecessary.
Yes, and no.
Yes, you own your work by creating it. But copyright makes it officially yours.
A website copyright protects your content as more than merely an idea that someone else can adapt as their own. It’s a legal technicality. But for best protection of your content, a copyright is essential.
Before we move on, it’s essential to note that in some places, simply adding the symbol or copyright text does not protect your website.
In Ireland, there is no registration process. Creation of content or art gives the creator the copyright.
However, in places like the U.S., be sure you register your copyright with the patent or copyright office of your country.
Before going through the copyright process, make sure your website qualifies for copyright
Don’t worry, most websites are acceptable for copyright. But it’s important to understand what can and can’t find protection under copyright on your website.
Original text, graphics, webinars, and music are eligible for copyright on your website.
However, any cited text or links to other websites or work that isn’t your own won’t fall under your copyright. You wouldn’t want to copyright something you didn’t create. And you wouldn’t want anyone else to copyright anything you created.
Also, be sure you know who owns the website.
If it’s your personal website or for your own business, you are the likely owner. But if you write copy for a company that isn’t yours, the company owns the website and all copyrights to it.
Copyrights only cover content published at the time you document the copyright.
For example, copyrighted content on your blog in 2017 covers content published in 2017 and anytime prior.
As you make updates to your website, you’ll also need to update the copyright.
Depending on where you live, the process might be different. Do an online search to determine the steps to protect your work legally.
Again, here in Ireland and other countries, there is no copyright registration process. But you must be able to show that your work is original.
Research the best ways to document that your online work is original to you. This is a safety precaution in case you ever notice your content on another website without your permission.
On your website, include copyright text. Be sure to note the year and update it each year.
In countries like the U.S., registration validates the copyright markings on your website.
While having a copyright itself is not required, for your copyright to be “legit” you must have a registered copyright. Should you need to defend your content as your own, an official government agency can show proof that you own it.
Most application processes are available online. If you’re in a hurry to register your website, be aware it can take several months to receive confirmation.
Add clear text and that copyright symbol to your website. Make sure it’s visible on every page.
In most cases, seeing that note can be enough to deter content thieves from your site.
Update the text with the current year to help protect your latest content.
The notation of “all rights reserved” is a powerful statement of protection. Deter content thieves–both intentional and accidental thieves–with the visibility of a copyright statement.
Be sure you also protect yourself from data loss. Copying content is criminal. And accessing confidential data through your website is both criminal and dangerous.
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