Are you wondering about copyright protection for your online business? Are you worried someone’s going to copy your stuff and claim it as their own?
Has it already happened to you and you want to prevent it from happening again?
When you create your own content, it’s a labor of love. And the last thing you want is for someone to try to steal that love and use it for nefarious purposes. But with so many potential thieves out there on the internet, what’s a great content creator like you supposed to do?
One of the most common questions I get asked by my members is how, when and if they should apply for copyright protection by registering their copyrightable materials. Fortunately I’m about to give you some very good news on the subject.
First, Copyright or Trademark?
The other thing I hear often is the confusion between trademark and copyright, and which, when and how each one applies.
On a practical level for our online businesses, copyright law is similar, but still somewhat different, than trademark law. If you’re looking for more info on [trademark], you can access my whole article about it [HERE].
But for the purposes of this article I’m just talking about the copyright which applies to all of your content that you’re putting out into the world.
How To Legally Protect Your Copyrightable Materials
Now let’s get down to business with this copyright stuff.
Here’s the good news!
Generally speaking, most national (and also international) copyright laws already provide your business’ and website’s original content substantial legal protections simply by your:
- Creating it and being the author of it,
- Publishing it, and
- Continuing to claim to be the owner and copyright holder of it.
That is, in most cases, filing a formal copyright registration application isn’t necessary. You already have established rights as the creator and you can legally defend your own digital, photographic, audio, musical, video, artistic or text creations under applicable copyright laws. In most cases, even internationally.
Pretty cool, huh? …
You probably had no idea that some good legal mojo regarding copyright was already in place without any extra effort on your part. Most things related to legally protecting your online business do not happen automatically so let’s say hooray for the ones that do!
Would I Ever Need to Apply to Register My Copyright?
Possibly. Even though you get automatically the substantial legal rights and protections in copyright as I describe above, there is something else to consider.
If you’re doing full-scale online publishing of your own materials (e.g., ebooks that you sell, your online course materials, etc.), you may want to look into applying for copyright registration at some point.
While these materials are already protected under current copyright laws as I say above, this extra step could well be important if you ever decide you want to license your ebook or online course or even sell it outright.
Using the Copyright © Symbol
Unlike with [trademarks], under copyright law you can use the © symbol right away when you’re first publishing your content.
Note the details of how I use the © symbol at the end of this Article, which you’re welcome to mimic on your own copyrightable creations. (Obviously you’ll want to use your own date(s) and business name.)
If you don’t yet have a business entity, like my LLC, you can use your website URL instead.
So now you can rest easy knowing you have legitimate rights in copyright to your own brilliant creations without having to file (another) lengthy (and not-free) application to protect your online business. You’re welcome!
Get Your Copyright Help Sheet
When you’re ready to get all the info about copyrights in this article boiled down for you in a one-page Help Sheet that you can print for handy reference, then click [HERE].
And here it is, as promised: 🙂
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