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Tips For Protecting Your Website’s Content Online

Tips For Protecting Your Website’s Content Online

Do you have fantastic online content? You might have asked yourself: How do I protect my website's content from being stolen? Here are sime simple ways to do so.

23rd October 2019
Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you’re an online content creator, you’ll want to enforce your rights to intellectual property if you want to protect that content. This can be hard. It’s no surprise that it’s easy to copy things online. Saving a Facebook photo from your friend’s wedding isn’t exactly rocket science. In the shoes of the photographer, however, you might wish it wasn’t so simple. Protecting your website’s content can help you protect your work and your business from those pesky online thieves.

But how do you do it? Depending on your content, there are a number of different ways to protect your online content. Some a little more difficult than others and require a little bit of know-how. Thankfully most things are already protected by law and you don’t need to do a thing! There’s a catch, though, and it involves some work on your end.

Here are some ways that the law (and you) can protect your work.

Protecting Your Website’s Content: Copyright Law

The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) is the first and best layer of protection for your website’s content. It does not need to be registered and applies automatically to your work. The Act does not protect the website as a whole, but it does protect the work within it. It provides you with legal ownership over the original expression of ideas in your work. But this doesn’t mean that it can’t be used at all.

Keep in mind that the law does its best to maintain a balancing act. It does its best to maximise the availability of creative works to the public while also protecting copyright owners and their works. This means that while nobody should ever be able to steal your work and use it as their own, there is still a bit of leeway for the public to use it in a fair way.

While Australia provides laws against copying your work, the police don’t exactly show up on anybody’s doorstep demanding people cease copying other’s work. Unfortunately, when it comes to protecting your website’s content, there’s a bit of work involved.

Enforcing Your Rights Under the Copyright Act

When it comes to enforcing your rights under the Copyright Act, you need to put in the hard yards to protect your work. Even though your work belongs to you, this won’t stop anybody from copying it. There are two easy and free ways you can enforce your rights and they go hand in hand with each other.

Copyright Notice

The first is to provide a disclaimer on your website that your work belongs to you. This might be as simple as putting a notice at the bottom of your page that says ‘ © Michael Hoyle, 2019’, for example. You can replace your personal name with your business name if necessary. While even this might not stop people from taking your work, it will let everyone know that you’re aware of your rights and want to enforce them if need be.

Communicate

If you find that somebody is using your work unfairly, the first step to take is to contact them. It helps to be polite. Make sure that your website doesn’t expressly or impliedly allow people to use your work before you tell them not to. If your photography website says that people can share your work on their social media, don’t get offended when they do so. When contacting people or businesses, let them know that you believe their work may be infringing your copyright and you’d like to ask them to stop. You can require them to remove the content or you can ask to be credited in the work. Methods of solving the problem are at your discretion. Having copyright in something gives you, and only you, the right to publish the work, make copies of it and communicate it to the public (among other things).

Website Terms of Use

Alternatively, a more complicated method is to set out how people can use your website’s content in your terms of use. Let’s be honest, not many people read the terms of use of a website. However, like a copyright notice and symbol, outlining how you’ll allow (or not allow) your work to be used will let everyone know you’re serious about copyright.

Protecting Your Website’s Content: Be Proactive

Being reactive isn’t everyone’s deal. Sometimes it’s better to be proactive in protecting your website’s content. What steps can you take now to ensure your copyrighted work isn’t used unfairly? Well, there are a few things you can do.

Watermarks

If your website has a lot of art or imagery, watermarks might be the best way to proactively protect it. Watermarks are just faint names or logos that are placed over the top of images. If somebody were to copy your art or images online, then the watermark will remain. At least until you remove it and provide the original. There is software that can help you do this or if you’re good at photo editing you can always do it yourself.

Deny Copy Pasting

Some websites (like WordPress) allow plugins that stop people from copying and pasting your work. Alternatively, if you’re a computer wizard (or your website designer is), you might be able to use coding to stop people from being able to copy and paste your work in the same way.

Conclusion

Protecting your content online can be tough and involves a bit of work. But it’s important that people aren’t unfairly using or stealing your work. Including a terms of use for your website’s goods or services might be of some benefit in protecting your website’s content. If somebody has used your work unfairly, speak to an intellectual property lawyer about possible options. Try contacting them first, though. Legal action should be a last resort.

Don’t know where to start? Contact us on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest lawyer marketplace.

Author
MHoyle
Michael Hoyle

Michael is a legal intern at Lawpath working with the content team. With an interest in contracts, intellectual property, and constitutional law, Michael is currently completing a Bachelor of Laws with a Bachelor of Commerce at Macquarie University.