Provided by the laws of the United States, a copyright is a protection for originally produced work, be it music, written material, artistry, or other intellectual works. Examples of works that are typically copyright, include books, white papers, online content, articles, photographs, artwork, songs, and software codes to name a few. A copyright provides you with the protection that someone else doesn’t use or reproduce your work to their gain and your detriment.
Here are a few ways to protect your small business copyrights.
Register Your Copyright
While a copyright exists the moment you create intellectual property, the only way you can enforce it is through registering your copyright with the federal government. That is, in order to effectively bring a lawsuit to enforce your copyright, you’ll need to register your copyright. Ideally, you want to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office prior to your works being published or made available to the public. The registration process for a copyright can take three to 10 months, and cost as little as $35.
Indicate Your Copyright
Whether you register your copyright or not, you should always indicate that your works are copyrighted to discourage others from using or reproducing it. Do this by including a copyright symbol Copyright ©, along with the date and you or your small businesses’ name. Add the words “all rights reserved” for additional protection. In essence, this phrase provides notice that the copyright holder reserves all rights to the work, such as distribution of said work, and is another way to protect your small business copyrights.
Use a Watermark on Images
To further protect images from unauthorized download or copying, place a watermark on the actual image using image software. The “mark” could be anything: a word, a logo, or website address, for example that would deter an image thief, but still be visually appealing for the website visitor. If you are technologically savvy, consider a digital watermark, which in unnoticeable by the average surfer, but contains identifying information embedded in the file.
From the makers of Copyscape, Copysentry protects your overall site content against theft by monitoring the Internet for copies of your content. If any of your content is found on the web, Copysentry will send you a notification email.
In the event that you inadvertently used another parties copyrighted work or if someone used your copyrighted work, copyright insurance can cover legal defense cost, legal copyright enforcement costs, and damages.
The methods you use to protect your small business copyrights depend on the importance of what you’re protecting. But keep this in mind: today if someone wants to steal your online work, they’ll find a way, whether it is through a screen capture, physically typing content, or using CTRL C. However, in the end, you have legal rights to enforce a registered copyright.