Content theft is become an increasingly serious problem on the Web. If your website has valuable, unique content, such as articles, posts, reviews, images or even well-written information about your products or services, it is just a matter of time before your competition will “borrow it” without attributing it to your organization.
So, how do you protect your website content? The United States Copyright Office is the logical place to start. Note that in accordance with the U.S. Laws (as well as the European Union), the original work is automatically copyrighted from the moment of creation. Since 1989, you no longer need to display a public copyright notice (“© All rights reserved”) on your website, even though it may be a good idea to include it, since laws differ in other countries.
You may want to consider filing a copyright registration to protect content. Registering a copyright creates a public record of ownership (stored with the Library of Congress) and will serve in your favor when filing an infringement lawsuit in court, should it escalate to that level. The U.S. Copyright Office eCO online system allows you to file for a copyright registration for your website’s content (original text or images). Refer to the United States Copyright Office “Copyright Basics” guide for more information.
The following additional resources will also help you protect your content and intellectual property:
Creative Commons provides licenses to give the public permission to share and use your work on the specific conditions of your choice. For example, sharing content but not allowing companies to sell it; encourage readers to re-publish your articles if they give credit, etc.
Copyscape is a tool you can use to protect your website from online plagiarism. The premium service automatically monitors the Web for copies of your content, notifying you if any plagiarized content appears.
TinEye is a reverse image search engine that checks if anyone else is using your images, even modified versions. Similar to Copyscape, there is also a premium service to check the locations automatically where your images appear online.
Distil protects your website against web scraping (automatically mining your website for content), price scraping (copying and matching or beating your prices) competitive data mining, form spam and click fraud.
DMCA is an online service that assists you in forcing your stolen content to be taken down in accordance with DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). DMCA requires hosting providers to remove content that infringes on intellectual property rights. This service assists you with filing DMCA takedown requests if you find content that violates your rights.
Interested in more tips for fine-tuning your website? Download the free guide below: