How to Protect Your Website Content from Copyright Infringement
When you are an owner of a website, you have so many things on your mind. This ranges from web development to content management and digital marketing in general. In other words, the last thing you need is someone else capitalizing on your hard work. Things get even worse, seeing as how this seldom stops here. In some of the more extreme cases, your own content might get mistaken for a duplicate both by your audience and search engines. Luckily, avoiding this is not a complicated matter for all those who are aware of ways to protect their website content from copyright infringement. With this in mind and without further ado, here are several things you need to know about this topic.
1. Why this matters
To a content creator or a blogger, copyright infringement is much more than a theft. According to a recent survey, the average time for writing a blog post in 2017 was at 3 hours and 20 minutes. This means that someone is stealing your time, your effort and your creativity, as well. Furthermore, there is always a risk that one of your readers will encounter this piece of content twice and your blog doesn’t have to be the first place where they see it. In this situation, you may be justly accused of being the one stealing content, which can, in turn, result in a loss of audience and credibility. Another important reason to fight against this is the fact that Google penalizes duplicate content.
On the other hand, it is also important that you have a say on the issue of who uses your content and for what purposes. Some people are known for taking other people’s writing out of context or for their own agendas that don’t necessarily align with those of the creators of the original content. Needless to say, this can be quite problematic, especially in scenarios where the party using your content has values that are not your own. Simply being associated with these parties may sometimes cause trouble for your brand.
2. Talk to professionals
When it comes to protecting your business, you might need some professional legal aid. In other words, you need intellectual property experts. Niche veterans like people behind Actuate IP have industry-relevant experience and case studies at their disposal. Needless to say, both of these things can be used as precedents, when it comes to some of the trickier situations. Sure, copyright infringement is often a straightforward issue, yet, same cannot be said about trademarks and patents.
3. Start with the diagnostics
The first skill you need to obtain is finding out that your content has been stolen. Luckily, this is something that can be done automatically with the use of the right tool. The simplest way is to go with Google Alerts. The reason why this is so efficient is due to the fact that you can set this tool up and have it warn you automatically when a post you’ve published appears elsewhere. With the help of a simple, yet, sophisticated filter system, you can schedule this search to take place every day. In this way, you can react in an instant, while there’s still time to remedy the situation.
On the other hand, most people use Copyscape for this task. The way it works is quite simple. You copy-paste the URL of your search into the engine and get notified if your content is appearing elsewhere. Needless to say, this tool is also quite useful for those who are working with untrustworthy guest posters. In this way, you can also avoid stealing someone else’s work. One more thing worth mentioning is that, although there is a free version of Copyscape, it is usually worth paying for the premium.
4. Removing the infringement
As soon as you find out someone else has used your content without your consent, you have to act as quickly as possible. Still, your course of action depends on the circumstances of this scenario. For instance, if a hosting company provides DMCA form, all you have to do is fill it in and submit it. In this way, the issue will be resolved at the shortest notice and with a minimal effort investment on your side.
On the other hand, if a hosting company doesn’t provide its own DMCA form, you have to submit it by yourself. Those experienced with this issue may be able to win this in no time, while others have a better chance of sticking to a template. Keep in mind, however, that a hosting company has no reason to take your word against the word of the other party so make sure to include as much evidence as you possibly can to support your case. You can start with a screenshot of your Copyscape search, as well as name the offending IP address. In this way, they can check this for themselves. In most cases, this doesn’t take more than a couple of days.
The last thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that copyright infringement isn’t necessarily just about the potential value of your intellectual property, it is also about respect. You see, no blogger or author has the reason to be mad about others wanting to promote their content, however, they need to be the ones to have the final word. In those rare scenarios where the person who wants to use this content promotes values you don’t want to be associated with, you can politely decline but in the other 9 out of 10 situations, simply asking is a sign of respect.