Will Someone Steal
Your Copyright Online? Jim Edwards, (C) All Rights Reserved
Theft of intellectual property?
Whether intentional or unintentional, the theft of
intellectual property represents a real danger for everyone who
publishes virtually anything on the Internet.
more people set up shop online, many of them worry about having their
words, articles, or other intellectual property stolen by others.
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.
to do so can result in very nasty situations and costly
every 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
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
I regularly do both with my work.
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!"
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 website.
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
can also hold the rights to graphics and codes they pay someone
else to create for them and display on their website.
U.S. Copyright Office offers a complete collection of information about
how to copyright your information. Log on to www.loc.gov/copyright/
for the most comprehensive guide you will find anywhere online.
particular attention to the FAQ page ww.copyright.gov/faq.html
which answers many important questions, including what copyright
does and does not protect.
Edwards and Bruce Safran are co-creators of "The Online Marketer's
& Website Owner's Legal Information Clinic" -- the
authoritative guide to
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
Here for the Web Law Clinic
Jim Edwards, (C) All Rights Reserved
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