Intellectual Property and Your Business: Tips for Protecting Your Website

A website can be a powerful sales generating tool. While a great website is a good way to extend the reach of your business and draw in new customers, it can come with the risk of plagiarism.

The more well-liked and successful a website is, the greater the chances are that someone somewhere will decide to use its content for their own purposes. Plagiarism can range from theft of the general look and feel of a website to the direct copying of its content.

You can protect some parts of your website

The technical components of your website are protected by different intellectual property laws.

  • The programming of your website is protected by copyright and patent laws.
  • The creative components your website your database are protected under copyright laws.
  • Trademark laws protect your business logo, the names of your products and the name of your website.
  • If your website uses proprietary algorithms, trade secret laws protect these assets.

Asserting ownership

You need to make sure that your web design firm places reminders around your website to show that your content is copyrighted. This is a good idea to deter theft.

  • You can leave trademark and copyright symbols at various places around your website to show visitors that you assert ownership of your content.
  • Placing hidden information called a watermark on all your digital files can help keep turn plagiarists away.

If your ownership assertions don’t suffice, technological anti-theft measures may be of assistance

  • You can consider using are low resolution videos and still images on your website to discourage theft.
  • You can disable right-clicks on your website to make copying difficult.
  • You can encrypt all attractive downloadable files.
  • You can have invisible fingerprinting software installed that helps trace plagiarists.

Do you know that you actually own the content on your website?

Many first-time business owners make the mistake of assuming that their web design firm will stay honest and not use plagiarized content to create their website. If the web design firm retains the copyright to the client websites they build, they are the ones who are responsible for any plagiarism-related litigation. Not only is it important to make sure that your web design firm stays away from plagiarism, it’s important to know who holds the copyright to the website, too.

Keep these pointers in mind when building a website

  • Regularly use tools like Copyscape to check if your content is being plagiarized. If you do find such instances, you should contact the plagiarizing website and ask to have the content removed. Many people plagiarize because they don’t realize that it’s a crime.
  • If demanding to have your content removed doesn’t bring results, you should obtain a screen capture that shows the unauthorized copy, along with the date and time. You should take your screen captures to a lawyer and have a cease and desist letter issued to the violator.

If these steps above don’t work, you should see a lawyer about filing a notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

William Dawson is a former Internet security specialist for a busy company. Now retired, he likes to spend his days photographing nature and posting on various blog sites.

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