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Wonder what's new at FindAnyFloor.com or in the technology world in general? Visit Damien's Blog to find out. You'll get some of the latest technology news, emerging trends, and stories from our CEO's travels, businesses and life experience among several industries.

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Damien's Blog

Protecting Your Website Content

By Damien Patton, (597 words) Posted in Corporate on September 8, 2009
There are (21) comments permalink

Many website owners value the content they have created and published on their website, only to one day find it splashed all over one or several other sites. In some cases publishers of content want their material spread around the Internet, but not when another seems to be claiming it as their own. So, how do you protect your content from being used without your authorization? There are many answers for this. Because this blog will probably be long, I am going to break it into a three part series. The first part will deal with copyright, followed by software made to discover copyrighted material that has been duplicated ending with using the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to help protect your content.

Most people have heard of copyright, but what is it? If you tell people the material is copyrighted or put a copyright logo at the bottom of the page are you covered? The answer is yes, but it isn't so black in white. In the United States, copyright actually attaches to original work upon creation. However, if you don't actually register your work, should an infringement occur, you will only be entitled to actual damages (which can be hard to prove) and attorney fees. On the other hand, if you have registered your content and applied for an official copyright, then you may be entitled to statutory damages. Registering for a copyright costs times and money. The amount of money depends of the size of your site, and the content you want to copyright. Due to the size of FindAnyFloor.com, we copyrighted thousands of pages of content and spent a small fortune protecting our copy. But you don't have to spend a lot of money nor do you have to protect everything. Perhaps you just want to protect your favorite content, or the content that you deem worth the most to you and your readers.

What do you do when you notice your content has been copied without your permission? Your first thought might be to contact an attorney, but before you do, consider contacting the infringing party and ask them nicely to remove the content. Have you ever heard the expression that you get more bees with honey then vinegar? Well that applies here. Although you may be emotional and feel violated that someone has taken your content, it may be innocent and asking them politely at first is always the best policy. In some cases, outside companies are hired to create the website and they often are the ones lifting the copyrighted material without the owner's knowledge or consent. If they refuse to take the material down, then you might want to consider contacting an attorney who can send a letter requesting as you did, that they take the content down immediately. If they still refuse to take it down, legal action can be taken. If the copyright is registered, you will be entitled to statutory damages. While many people think infringing on content is no big deal, let me assure you it is. Statutory damages can be assessed up to $150,000 per work if this is a case of "innocent infringement." Should "willful infringement" take place; damages can be double up to $300,000 per occurrence. There is a settled legal case where damages totaled $20 million and a pending case where the damages sought are more than $1 Billion!

I can tell you from personal experience that a call or letter from the attorney works almost every time. Most people have no desire to get involved in costly litigation and will quickly comply with the attorney’s request.

Later this week in part 2 of this copyright blog series, I will tell you how software can help protect your content.

 

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Icon: author blog About the Author:
Damien is the Founder and CEO of FindAnyFloor.com as well as several other technolgy businesses specializing in social media and search.
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Comments (21)

Elizabeth G posted on: September 10, 2009

Thanks for the tips. I never knew this was much of a problem. When is part 2 coming out?

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John posted on: November 3, 2013

Same as the "bricks and mortar" world, there is no 100% guarantee against online theft but there are many things you can do to protect yourself and your site. Most theft online occurs is because it is "easy" to do it.
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Sobnia1 posted on: November 24, 2013

Protecting your website against theft is now considered mandatory for website owners.
This is especially important for websites which are "content heavy" - pictures, graphics, video, etc.
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