[© 2011 Tonya M. Evans. This post may be “shared socially” and republished provided this post is copied in its entirety and copyright and byline information is included for attribution. “This post is republished with permission from www.legalwritepublications.com. Copyright 2011 Tonya M. Evans”]
Protecting Your Work on the Internet
The question often arises as to how the Copyright Act applies to online works. As I’ve said, the Internet and other technological advances certainly do present numerous challenges to existing copyright law. And the law varies around the world but, thanks to the World Wide Web, information is accessible from every corner of the earth. But an online work is no different from its physical counterpart, except for the way the information is viewed or perceived. The same law presented in Copyright Companion for Writers and Literary Law Guide for Authors applies to works displayed and distributed on the Internet, despite the all-too-prevalent erroneous assumption that if it’s on the Internet it must be free for anyone and everyone to use.
Even though the same rights exist for physical and digital literary works, protecting your work on the Internet still presents a great challenge. This challenge persists because of the ease with which copyrighted works can be copied without distortion and distributed in the online context. Copyright law, as expanded by newer legislation like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, provides the legal framework necessary to help copyright owners enforce their copyrights online. The problem is that there is no uniform system in place on the Internet to actively police and protect the rights of copyright owners in order to prevent unauthorized copying; there is nothing online comparable to a store clerk who could stop someone who tried to copy pages of a book or magazine in their store or an usher in a movie theater who could stop someone who tried to record movies illegally during a showing.
But here’s a list of ways to reduce infringement of your material on the Internet and to encourage responsible uses:
- Include copyright notice (ex: 2011 Tonya M. Evans. All rights reserved) at the top of each post.
- Include clear instructions for permitted uses if you encourage copying, reposting and sharing socially. Also note whether your permission includes commercial or only non-commercial uses.
- Disable the copy + paste functions in your html code.
If you have a Word Press blog, you can use WP-CopyProtect plugin to disable right click in your blog.
For more ways to protect your copyright, check out the award-winning Copyright Companion for Writers, a comprehensive legal guide for writers written with the rights of writers and other creative folks in mind!