Here are the Ways to Protect Your Work from Online Piracy

The age-old truism “prevention is better than cure” is a chunk of wisdom that never gets old. Even in this age of technology it helps to remember it, especially when you are looking forward to protecting your copyright. The benefits of the internet are also its drawback as the ease of access makes it easy for anyone to “copy” content.

This article will inform you about the steps you can take as an author or creator to protect your work from online piracy. What it does not deal with is the procedure you should follow to remove pirated content, which is a subject matter of a separate blog post.

Whether it is artwork, writing, music, or even a movie, keep these principles in mind:

  • As long as your work is original, you have a copyright over it. A copyright gives you certain rights, such as the right to reproduce and sell your work. Remember that it is not necessary to register your work with the Copyright Office in India, even though it gives you certain benefits especially when it comes to cases of copyright infringement. However, the registration process can work out expensive and arduous and impractical for people who frequently create literary works and arts, etc. In such cases, adding a © symbol to your original work or on your website is beneficial. This shows the world that you are the owner/author of the work you’re showcasing.
  • Keep your contact details easily accessible either at the end of your artistic or literary work or on your website. If someone wants to use your work with authorization, easy contact access is beneficial for both parties.
  • Apply for a Creative Commons License. This is a form of protection that is offered to authors. It allows the author or the creator to define the terms (if any) under which the work may be used.
  • India does not have the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) protection that the United States has. In the United States, stolen content is removed fast using a DMCA notice issued by the victim. Though this Act would not be valid in India, it has been used successfully by artists and creators across the States to remove plagiarized and pirated content.

These are general principles. Depending on the type of work you’re putting out on the internet, the steps you could take to protect them vary slightly.

Photography

  • Watermarking your photograph would ensure that your “signature” does not leave the photograph. However, a lot of people believe that it is detrimental to the aesthetic. In such cases, adding a “© Your Name” below the photograph would inform people that the photo belongs to you. This also helps to promote you even in the case the work is getting copied.
  • Upload lower-resolution photos, and inform users that there is an option of buying an HQ work from you. This would make users know that you intend to commercially profit from your work.

Writing

  • Adding the “© Your Name” along with your email on your webpage is a helpful step to take.
  • Mention the conditions if you allow a “creative common” license.
  • If you have found your work to copied, stolen, or plagiarized, email the author of the content, or the host, or editor. There are good chances that the content will be taken down.

Music

Putting up your music on websites like Soundcloud or Bandcamp has a two-fold advantage: these websites make stealing the music more difficult than, say, uploading the track on YouTube; and they also give users the chance to buy legitimately the music they are streaming.

Here you have it: the possible ways you could protect your content from Internet pirates.