Let’s say you have invested lots of effort into your website. The last thing you want to see is your content getting copied without your permission. You can copyright your website to prevent that. But do you really need copyright? Let’s dive in and learn more!
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What is Copyright?
Copyright is a part of intellectual property law that protects original work. This includes literary, musical, dramatic, and artistic work like novels, movies, and songs. The ones related to websites are text, photographs, graphics, and audiovisual content. Any kind of intelectual, creative property can be copyrighted.
So, you can’t copyright the site itself, but you can copyright the content on it.
There are at least two criteria you have to meet if you want to copyright your content.
- The content must originate from you. If you are the boss of a company and your staff does the job for you, you still own the rights. If you hire a freelancer, that person owns the rights, unless there’s an agreement stating that the rights will be transferred to you once the job is done.
- The content needs to be tangible – it can be seen, communicated, and reproduced. You can’t copyright ideas, procedures, or methods shown on your website. In addition, a domain name is not copyrightable either.
You can see the copyright label on the footer of a web page. It says “All rights reserved,” “Copyright,” “Copr.”, or simply ©. The label can state the year when the content was first published. Sometimes it is followed by the current year as well if the website is still active. Here are some examples of website copyright footer.
Why do you Need Website Copyright?
Copyright was once only popular among artists, writers, musicians, and other related professions. However, with the internet taking over our world, people often think that everything on the web is for everyone to share.
That should not be the case, especially if your content takes time and energy to make. Getting a bad feeling from illegal copying is one thing, but letting other people sell your hard work for their own benefit is a serious crime.
First off, copyright prevents such acts from happening. People will think twice before copying your content. If you prove someone copied your content, you can take legal actions against them. In this case, copyright is a massive benefit.
Registering copyright isn’t for everyone, but useful in the mentioned situations.
How to Copyright a Website?
Registering copyright may be different depending on the country and its laws. You will have to contact the institution that controls intellectual property law and follow their guidelines. In this example, we’re registering copyright in the US.
- Head to the Copyright Registration Portal. There are categories you can choose. Depending on your content type, click on the appropriate categories to get further information.
- After you know your content category, go back to the Registration Portal page, and click on “Log into the Electronic Copyright Registration Office”.
- Click on the highlighted text if you’re a new user.
- Once registered as a user, complete the form accordingly and submit the form.
You’ll have to pay $55 for a basic claim of electronic registration, recommended for group registration of serials. But, if you’re a single author registering one work, the filing fee is $35.
Make sure you fit all the requirements for registration. Otherwise, the Copyright Office cannot issue the certificate of registration. This is important when requesting legal compensation and attorney’s fees when someone steals or copies your content.
Copyright subjects should always be strongly considered. No one has the right to duplicate your content unless you permit them. Consider registering copyright for your content. It protects your work and serves as proof when seeking legal action.