Today, it is essential for almost every business out there to have a website of their own. Not only does it serve as their online storefront, but it is an identification of their brand and an effective marketing asset that companies use to reach out to their audience and get their products known. After all, we live in the Information Age, and almost everyone spends their time searching for things on the web.
However, coming up with an awesome design, brilliant and unique content, and original sound clips, you must not forget that you may inspire your competition too. Sadly, it’s very common that you find stolen text, sounds, and images all around the internet, even though these people know they are breaking the law by doing so.
So how do you truly protect yourself from such theft? Get a copyright protection.
What exactly is copyright?
When we talk about copyright, we are talking about intellectual property law. The idea is that it is supposed to protect the rights of people who create original works, no matter whether this work gets published or not. So what kind of work do we call original? Basically, when you write something, draw something, photograph something, and so on, you are the owner of its copyright automatically. What this means is that as soon as the work comes into form, copyright comes along with it.
So, registering a copyright is a matter of choice, and copyright protection is already there even if you don’t register your work. However, if your work gets stolen, and you want to file a copyright infringement case against the thief, your work has to be registered. Furthermore, registration makes it a lot simpler to confirm that you are in fact the owner of the work, and you can also get more when from the infringer when it comes to damages.
Why should I worry about copyright as a website owner?
Back in the day, it was generally the authors of books, paintings, and music pieces, who had to worry about copyright issues. However, with the rise of website content and its importance, things have changed. Today we have a lot of individuals who aren’t artists themselves but have a personal or business website which consists out of written content, graphics, images, design elements. All of these are original works, and this means that they can be registered for copyright.
The sad fact is that website owners very often come into situations where certain people, who either don’t know or don’t really care, take the elements from their websites and pass them off as their own. You must face the fact that you can’t really protect each and every piece of your site, but you can mark your pages’ content with “All Rights Reserved” or with the copyright symbol. This will make sure that a great number of people stay away from the work that belongs to you.
How to copyright my website?
As previously mentioned, make sure that every page of your website has a copyright notice on it, and don’t forget to write down the year. Probably the best solution is for your pages’ footer to contain something like “Copyright (date) (business name)”. And make sure that the year is updated on a regular basis. Furthermore, you can register your website’s copyright with your local Copyright Office. The category under which it falls is “other digital content”. As a website’s copyright is a complicated matter, trademark dispute lawyers advise that you get the necessary help from a professional.
You must do your best to defend your website’s copyright. Registered or not, you should track possible copycats for plagiarism, and make sure that you take action against them and that they get a cease and desist letter.
You should also protect your domain name. When registering it, you get a domain name that is exclusive to you. However, you mustn’t forget about different extensions. Let’s say that you have covered the .com extension, but it doesn’t mean that someone can’t use the same name with a different extension, such as .net or .biz, and steal your potential traffic. That is why you should obtain the most common extensions.
When it comes to your logo and graphics, they need to have their own protection by being registered as a service mark or a trademark. As for the images, each one of them needs its own copyright.
Why register my website’s copyright?
As we have previously ascertained, it’s always illegal to violate someone’s copyright, no matter whether it is registered or not. However, if you intend to take legal action against someone, it’s much harder to do if your work isn’t registered. Furthermore, if you do register your work, you will probably be qualified for certain statutory damages and attorney’s fees once you have won the case against the person that infringed your copyright.
Every website and its content is automatically copyrighted if everything that it consists of is original. Registration of your content is a matter of choice. But if you find your website’s content valuable to you for financial or any other reasons, or if there is a legal matter as to why it should be protected, then you should really take the time to properly register your website. Furthermore, you should find a way to track copyright infringement, which is also service offered by some professional companies.