Everyone Has a Website
Whether you build a website for personal or business reasons, chances are good that you pour your heart and soul into it. After all, that website is a reflection of you, and it also may be the first contact that your customers have with your business.
After putting so much time and effort into building your website, it makes sense to protect it. This doesn’t occur to many website owners, with the result that they are unable to recover damages when someone else steals their content.
All of the content that you add to your website is either originally created by you or was created by someone else, like a contractor or employee, who was working for you. This means that you now own that content, whether it’s pages that describe who you are and what you do, blog posts or something else entirely.
Whatever that content is, you own it, and this means that you have the right to prevent others from using it without your permission. When you do see that someone has used your website content without asking you first, a registered copyright gives you the ability to pursue legal remedies.
Automatic Copyright Laws
You may have heard that copyright protection in the U.S. is automatic. This is true. In fact, anything that you fix in tangible form, like a drawing or a recording, enjoys automatic copyright protection in America.
However, this automatic copyright doesn’t necessarily go far enough when it comes to protecting your website’s content. Plagiarism on the Internet is rampant. Plenty of bad actors are out there who will simply copy your content or photographs and paste them onto their own website.
What can you do if this happens?
In this situation, it is best to have a federally registered copyright for your website and all of its content, which includes text, photos and other images. A formal registration demonstrates the date of creation of the content, enabling you to prove beyond a doubt that you are the originator and/or owner of the content.
What Federal Copyright Registration Provides
When you register your copyright, you are formally demonstrating your authorship of the content. If you hired someone to create some or all of your website content for you, then it makes sense to enter into formal agreements with these individuals in which they legally assign their rights in the created material to you. This usually helps to prevent later disputes should they ever arise.
Additionally, when you have registered your copyright, you have the right to pursue a civil lawsuit against an infringer. When a website is under a federal copyright, then the website’s owner may have the ability to claim statutory damages in addition to attorney’s fees if a lawsuit becomes necessary.
Whether you pursue a federal copyright registration or not, it is always sensible to include a copyright notice on each page of your website. Usually, such notices appear at the bottom of the page, and they may be as simple as “Copyright 2020.” Other possible copyright notices include ” © 2020″ or “All rights reserved.”
Still other appropriate copyright notices for websites include the name of the company or the individual who owns the website. As an example, the notice may read: “Copyright 2020, the ABC Company.”
While adding copyright notices to your website is not a requirement even if you federally register your copyrights, it is wise to do so to inform any visitors with bad intentions that you are aware of your rights and will defend them.
Ask an Intellectual Property Attorney for Assistance
Are you creating your first website or are you already the owner of several websites and just recently became aware that someone has stolen some of your content? In either situation, it’s wise to contact the Williams IP Law Office in Texas.
Jeffrey Williams helps clients with determining whether or not to federally register a copyright for various content on their websites. Moreover, Jeff can provide assistance with drawing up the various formal agreements that may be needed to ensure that the rights to website content are properly assigned from the author to the website’s owner.
Copyrighting website content in the U.S. is neither particularly difficult nor expensive, but it can be instrumental when it comes to protecting your work from infringement. If you’re serious about ensuring that others cannot take advantage of your hard work, then contact Williams IP Law.