Will Someone Steal
Your Copyright Online?
Jim Edwards, (C) All Rights Reserved =====================================
Theft of intellectual
or unintentional, the theft of intellectual property
represents a real danger for everyone who publishes
virtually anything on the Internet.
As more people
set up shop online, many of them worry about having
their words, articles, or other intellectual property
stolen by others.
If you operate a
website, or publish anything on the Internet, you
need to understand what you do and do not own with
respect to that website.
Failure to do so
can result in very nasty situations and costly
day people ask me this question when it comes to
copyrighting their material, either the website or a
publication of some kind. They ask something like "Do
I need to formally copyright my ebook, website, article,
special report or some other publication?"
The answer quite simply: It depends!
I'm not a lawyer, however I do know that
when you write something down or type it into your word processor,
you automatically enjoy protection under U.S. and international
copyright laws. In short, as soon as you write it down
you own it.
However, the online world has made it easier
than ever to steal someone else's work, whether intentionally or
not. To the degree you want to protect your copyright will dictate
how formal you make the copyright process for your written works.
1. simply put a copyright notice on
your material and leave it or
2. fill out some forms, send
your work off to the Library of Congress (along with a check) and
have your work formally copyrighted.
I regularly do both with my
However, just because you go through the
formal copyright process, enforcement of your copyright will
ultimately come down to your ability to find someone violating your copyright and pursuing it yourself.
In other words, first you must find someone
violating your copyright online and then take appropriate action to
make them stop. No online police force exists to patrol the web
looking for "violators!"
You start entering the gray areas when it
you consider copywriting an actual website. Nobody owns the HTML
tags it takes to display a web page on the Internet. However,
someone can certainly own copyright to the words displayed on a
So, does that mean it's okay to download
somebody else's website, take the words off, and substitute your own
words using their framework of HTML and graphics?
Someone can also hold the rights to graphics
and codes they pay someone else to create for them and display on
The U.S. Copyright Office offers a complete
collection of information about how to copyright your information.
Log on to
for the most comprehensive
guide you will find anywhere online.
Pay particular attention to the FAQ page
which answers many important questions, including what
copyright does and does not protect.
Jim Edwards and
Bruce Safran are co-creators of "The Online Marketer's & Website
Owner's Legal Information Clinic" -- the authoritative guide
protecting yourself and your website against needless harassment,
lawsuits, and other legal problems.
"Discover The TRUTH About Why the FTC or other Law Enforcement
Agencies will "Raid" your Internet Business... and What YOU Can Do
To Prevent It!"
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Jim Edwards, (C) All Rights Reserved
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