How do I prevent copy of my digital content?

June 9, 2021

This is an approximate transcript of my video How to protect my digital content? found on YouTube. In this blog when we talk about needing to obtain a copyright or trademark, we are talking about obtaining federal registration from the US Copyright Office at copyright.gov or the United States Patent and Trademark Office at uspto.gov.

Let’s begin. These are going to be a weekly thing titled Thursday Thoughts. I used to post my thoughts around whatever was going on in the week or maybe something that a client had brought to me that I thought would be useful for anybody who interacts with my pages to have that knowledge in their head as they’re dealing with their business or their brand or their creative works I would post those. This year I am doing something different. I really want to share my thoughts on questions that you may have instead of sharing my thoughts on what I think you need to know or would like to know. We can do this every week. I am asking folks on my page what is it that they are thinking about and or wanting to have a little more information about and then I will come on and share. Contact me here to have your question answered. Please use the subject Thursday Thoughts Question.

For anyone who doesn’t know me my name is Adjckwc Browne. I am an attorney, I work in the IP space so Intellectual Property and Business law primarily helping entrepreneurs, creatives, entertainers protect their brand. If you are someone who is building a legacy. If you have something that you are building and you want to secure it – I am the attorney for you.

Today’s question was; How can you prevent someone from using your digital work without your permission? The question was asked and it was not specified whether the digital work was a graphics, a picture, a website etc. some I am going to try to go through some simple ways up to some more complex ways to protect the information that you put out there. Again the question was how can you prevent someone from taking your digital work and representing it at their own.

We’ll start with if you have got a website and you’ve got information on your website the best and most important thing to do you want every page is to put a copyright notice. Most people are good actors so if they see that notice that will deter them from taking your information and then trying to replicate it exactly word for word and saying that they created it. Copyright notices are most important, to begin with. Start with © copyright notice- put that on your page if you got the website make sure that you have a copyright notice, If you are giving out on digital works there are some other steps to take but start with the website because most entrepreneurs or even individuals solopreneurs with brands have a website which they used to bring in customers and to share information about what they are doing. Put the copyright notice on your page. Make sure that your website terms of use and very specific as to what people can do with your information ie can you repost it, can you reshare it, can you reuse it without credit. The answer to those questions I would say should all be a no. You may want someone to repost it or share but you should always want to get the attribution of the act as the author accredited on the work. Make sure that your website terms of use spell all of that out. So that being said, people are going to copy. That is probably especially true since everyone is in the digital space now by and large you’re not going to be able to prevent them necessarily from copying you work. What you can do is set up a few things to be able to find infringers. You have a right to whatever it is you create and it’s yours. No one has the right to just take it and replicate it and pretend that they did it. When someone does any of those things (takes it, pretend they did it, use it without your permission) there called infringers. You can set up a few things to prevent this. A Google alert is one tool and an article checker or duplicate checker are other tools that you can use you look for your content on the Internet. You will need to understand how to use the tool. Generally speaking, if you’re looking for a paragraph or a set or phrase of words put them in “” and use these tools to either see if someone is using it and it’ll tell you where on the Internet that this exact phrasing on paragraphing or board book title etc. is being used. Then you need to take the next steps such as takedown notices, cease-and-desist… those kinds of things. But in order to prevent them (starting at the beginning) use the copyright notice, the terms of use on your website, and any product that you may put out there and on your website. Then if we are talking about photos you can use a watermark (those are always very good).

When talking about videos, there are a lot of very complex tools that you can get into to protect your video content including watermarks but there are also some other things like digital rights management. Basically, if you’re selling a service that utilizes or includes a video series you can control with access terms like a password and username. that restricts who can get to it but. you also can when they receive the information that video or that series of video has what we call a digital footprint of its own so that it person downloaded and then shares it to 10 other people they’ll be a unique identifier on the piece of videography that says who had access to and then disseminated it so then you can find them in another set before back to the other legal processes of cease-and-desist or if it’s on like of you find it on Safari or Google or Firefox a takedown notice to the Internet host providers. Watermarks are very good and the tools that encompass digital rights management and all these things you know you can just do a simple Internet search and find out more about each. These are all good ways to stop the infringers (the copycatters) as they are in process. If users are aware and they know that these measures are there including the copyright notice and the terms of service then people are less likely to play with your information for lack of a better term. These are the games we don’t want to play when we are talking about building a legacy, building a business and a brand, using our sweat equity, our money, and our time – we don’t want others to just take what we’ve worked so hard for. A good way to put them on notice is right at the beginning that this is copyrighted work. One other thing that I would say is obfusicate (hide) your storage location. When you put a video out make sure that the link or the deep link is either behind a secure layer so that if it’s just for viewing at that moment someone can’t download it or they can’t find the direct location as to where the information is stored. Again, you can look up this information for greater detail.

The question to recap was how to prevent someone from taking our digital information and using that as their own. We can copyright that information. Put people on notice that it is copyrighted. We can put watermarks in our information. We can put digital rights management information and embed them in our videos, video series, and in any (digital) products that we sell. We can also do some search alerts to protect our information. Periodically looking to make sure that that information is not appearing on someone else’s webpage or blog as if they wrote it or as if they created it or designed it depending on obviously whatever the media is.

I hope that this was helpful. Let me know what is on your mind and I would love to be of service to answer the question. This is not legal advice. I am not your attorney unless we form an agreement but I am very happy to help provide knowledge and information to all those in my community.

A. Browne, Esq. © 2021 All Rights Reserved.

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