How do I Protect my Intellectual Property/Copyright rights online?
In this article we will cover some of the best ways to protect your intellectual property and Copyright rights online. Although there is a lot of different types of works being produced online we will be covering the three main types of work in this article. These are how to protect your copyright on text (blog entries and articles), images and photos as well as videos you have produced.
None of the articles in this series are legal advice but rather a compilation of information and experience I have gathered over the years. If after reading any of these articles you feel you have a case please seek legal advice from a solicitor before proceeding. Previous article can be found here. It is on what is copyright and what is copyright infringement.
Although a Notice of Copyright is no longer required it is always a good idea to use it. It helps to remove confusion as to what licence you may have released the original work under. By using the Notice of Copyright with a clear year of publishing on it the general public can see at a glance that they will need to contact you if they wish to reproduce your work.
This copyright notice should be more than just a simple copyright 2013 statement. It should go on to state all material produced as part of that project are copyright and all rights are reserved by myself. Anybody wishing to reproduce or modify my works in anyway require written permission from myself before doing so.
This notice should include the copyright symbol © as well as the work copyright for quick and easy identification of the copyright notice. This also leaves little doubt in the minds of even the least knowledgeable laymen’s mind that the work is not to be copied or used without your permission.
Add a Watermark to all Images, Photos and Videos you upload
Simply adding a watermark to any images, photos and videos you upload will deter most people from copying them. To be on the safe side this watermark could also include a further copyright notice down in the corner of the image or video, further deterring people from copying it.
For those seeking further information on how to do this I have another article already on how to do it here.
Adding Metadata to your Images and Videos
Adding metadata to your photos, videos and other images will not stop other people from downloading and using them, it will how ever make it easier down the track to prove they did it. For those who don’t know how to do this here is a quick tutorial on how to do it in photo shop.
For other media types you may have do a quick search on Google.
Optimise Your Images and Video for the Web.
Another method to deter people copying your images, photos and videos from your site is to ensure your file sizes have been optimised for use on the web. By reducing and file size of these file you not only reduce the amount of bandwidth your site uses but you also reduce the quality available for someone who is copying it.
If you have a small image and they copy it they won’t be able to blow it up and use it without major pixelation in their work. If the resolution of the image you are displaying is bigger than the resolution it is being displayed at you asking to have your work copied.
Providing Contact Details
Always provide your contact details in a highly visible spot on your website. Many people get lazy when it comes to obtaining permission to use your work. Not being able to find you is the biggest excuse you will find for not having obtained permission prior to use. Your website should have a contact page regardless of this issue but make sure you have one and that it is working.
Furthermore in your copyright notice you could expand it include your contact details in case someone wanted to use some of your work. By having your email address in the copyright notice people do not have to go looking for it and will contact you there and then.
By taking it a step further you could also include in this notice that you can be contacted to purchase works, images etc from your website. By doing this there leaves no doubt in your visitors mind your work is most defiantly copyrighted.
Taking Action Against those that violate our Intellectual Property Rights
A big deterrent against people copying our work is us being proactive in preventing it. Constantly checking for copies of our work as well as ensuring action is taken when violations are found. These however will be covered in further instalments in this series shortly.
If you work involves modification of another parties work always keep a record or those conversations. This shows not only that you have permission to use their resources but that you actually did additional work on that resource.
Also keep records and copies of prototypes, mockups, brainstorms and drawings. These are good evidence to show that you did the work from scratch and that you r work is not just simply copying someone else’s work.
Hopefully you found this article helpful. In the next article we will make sure we don’t violate another parties intellectual property rights.