Originally, copyright laws were meant to be followed by the print media. However, the internet has significantly evolved, making it essential for us as entrepreneurs to understand copyright laws’ implications for online businesses.
The online entrepreneurs that rely on the internet for promoting the information must make themselves aware of the copyright laws. They must learn to avoid using someone’s material that infringes upon their intellectual property rights. Similarly, they must also know how to protect their work from getting copied.
Basics of the Copyright Law
One of the mistakes that online businesses make is that they copy the content that has no notice attached to it. Unless specified for free use, you are not allowed to use someone else’s work. Therefore, you need to be cognizant of this fact. Similarly, you can pursue a case in the federal court to sue someone for infringing upon your intellectual property rights.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
DMCA notice protects an online business from getting sued. When you have the DMCA on your website, anyone who sees copied content would have to first get in touch with you. They would have to give you the notice to take down that content. Thus, you have a layer of protection and the time to rectify your mistake. Therefore, it is essential to have a DMCA compliance page on your website.
Fair Use Policy
Fair Use policy allows you to use materials written by someone for only education and scholarly purposes. However, you cannot use the entire content under the “Fair Use” policy. Instead, you can use limited excerpts of information in it
Similarly, as a small business, if you find someone copying content or materials from your website, you can get legal assistance. The court will examine the purpose for which the content has been copied. Therefore, if the use of the content does not fall under the “Fair Use” policy, the court will take appropriate action against the person or entity that has infringed upon your copyrights.
Please note that using a few lines and not the entire work may not mean someone has infringed upon your copyright laws. It depends a lot on the way the court determines the real intent behind the copying act.
How to Protect Your Business?
If you are using someone else’s material, never take it for granted. Even if the person does not have any conditions attached to the use of that content, you must always ask. When you ask and have permission, you can use that material in the manner permitted.
If you are apprehensive that someone may copy something from your website, you can take precautionary measures. One way of protecting yourself is by adding watermarks to your pages. Also, try uploading the more sensitive content in formats that are difficult to copy like PDF.
Or else, instead of copying and pasting the sensitive materials online, you can create images of the text and use them on your website. Similarly, when you register copyrights and display them on your site, it is also the right way of protecting your intellectual assets.
John Elijah is a digital marketing expert helping businesses protect their copyrights. He works with small business organizations to make them aware of the perils of using someone else’s content and plagiarism. Besides contributing to HoursTV.com, he spends time reading legal publications on protecting rights of online businesses.