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Protecting Your Intellectual Property: How Copyright Law Applies to Online Content

Understanding Copyright Law & Intellectual Property

We all love getting our hands on free stuff on the internet, but sometimes free stuff can end up costing even more! People think that since they can copy and download pretty much anything online, it’s a good idea to do so. However, that’s not the case at all. Contrary to popular belief, everything you see on the internet is protected by a law we all know as the ‘Copyright law’. For those who don’t know the term, Copyright law is a set of protective individual rights that safeguards the ownership of intellectual property. What’s intellectual property? It simply refers to all inventions of the mind, hence, the name ‘Intellectual’. Content published on websites is very much an example of intellectual property and thus is protected by Copyright Law.

How Does it All Work?

If an individual writes down a unique piece of content and uploads it on a platform they own, it automatically receives the protection of Copyright law and becomes the online intellectual property of that individual. Nobody else on the internet has the right to copy it and upload it on a different web page even if they don’t intend to gain any benefit from it. If you wish to use an online blog on your web page that you like, you will have to gain a written agreement from the owner of the blog, and only then can you fairly use that content on one of your online pages.

What to do if Someone Steals Your Content?

Despite Copyright law, it’s very common for intellectual property, like web content, to get stolen and used on different business websites. If you ever find yourself in this situation, here’s what you should do:

Contact the Thief:

Most of the time, the thief doesn’t think too much of the deed and will remove the stolen copy upon being asked to do so. Simply, contact the individual and request that they remove the copied content immediately.

Cease & Desist:

In case the thief decides to ignore or reject your request, it’s time to go a little bit legal. Send the individual a cease-and-desist letter. This document comprises warnings of the breach of Copyright law, and the actions required to amend the offence. It also dictates the deadline before which the individual needs to remove the copied content or you will take strict action.

DMCA Complaint:

If everything fails and the thief does not respect the deadline you provided, it’s time to file a DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] complaint to the hosting services of the thief. Provided you present all the required evidence, it can lead to the removal of your stolen intellectual property. Don’t forget to send one copy of the DMCA complaint to Google AdSense in case the thief is using Google Ads on their website.

Thomas Leishman

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