If you’ve worked very hard to create some original content on your blog, then it is important to protect it with a copyright. This is because people can easily copy and paste your content into their own blog as a method of borrowing it. Without any copyright, anyone would be free to use your original content as their own because it would be considered public domain.
Now here’s some good news. You don’t have to file for an official copyright from your government office to have your blog protected. Any original content that is created and published, including a blog, has an automatic copyright associated with it. All you simply must do is inform visitors to your website that you intend to enforce your copyright whenever duplicated or borrowed content is found.
There Are Some Additional Steps You Can Take
Because it is so easy to copy the work of someone else online, it is important to include as much information as possible about your original content during the publication of it. Make sure that each post on your blog has a name or a title, a byline for the author, and a date of that post’s publication. That way you’ll be able to proactively prevent someone from copying your content and then saying that they created it first.
Just adding the date to your content isn’t going to stop people from using a cheap copy and paste duplication method. That’s why it is also important to add references to your blog and within the design of your style sheet if you have access to it. When people copy information from your website, this will automatically include a link back to your website.
Of course this method isn’t foolproof by any means. It is easy enough to paste information from your blog and then delete the reference information you’ve included. It’s another step to prove, however, that someone has deliberately copied your information. By showing the steps you’ve taken to protect the copyright of your blog, you’ll be able to build a case against someone.
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What If Someone Has Copied Only a Portion Of Your Work?
In an attempt to get around the copyright that you have, some enterprising bloggers have started copying only portions of original content that has been uploaded. The idea is rather brilliant in its simplicity: by copying a small portion and then creating original content or small portions of other content around it, they can claim that what they’ve actually done is create a derivative work that isn’t subject to your copyright.
This depends on how much content has actually been copied. One copied paragraph isn’t generally considered a breech of copyright. You might be able to pursue them for plagiarism if you want, but 100 words or less is generally ignored. It’s when your content makes up the bulk of a derivative work that you’ll be able to pursue that person for a copyright infringement.
This is also true if someone has copied small portions of multiple documents that you’ve created to make up the bulk of a new piece of content that they’ve created. If a majority of the work is your work, just because it has been rearranged does not mean that they automatically get to claim credit for writing it or turning it into a derivative work.
If, however, they’ve provided a reference link to your content and it is directly attributed, then you’re actually getting credit for the work. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
Make Sure Your Copyright Notice Is Plainly Seen
To make sure you have the best case possible when pursuing those who would unlawfully copy your work, you need to make sure that you have your copyright notice plainly seen on your blog. Many owners include the copyright notice within the footer of the blog, and in most cases that will be fine. If the footer doesn’t automatically populate to every post on your blog, however, you might find that stopping a copier isn’t as easy as you thought.
To be safe, you should put your copyright notice at the end of every blog post you create. If this means the post has a copyright notice with year and your name and your footer does as well, then so be it. You’ll have extra stopping power when it comes to eliminating those sites that are duplicating your content without permission.
You’ll also need to have a comprehensive terms and conditions page somewhere on your blog. It doesn’t need to be in your menu of pages, but you do need to have links included somewhere that can be plainly seen so that people can see how they can or cannot use the original content you’ve uploaded.
Is That Original Content of Some Intrinsic Value?
One of the little known parts of US copyright law is that an article must have “useful value” in order for it to qualify for a copyright. This means any original work of fiction that you place on a blog will automatically have this value because it is your own creative work. If you are simply writing random words and including links to other blogs in your post that doesn’t provide real informational value, however, you probably won’t be able to make a copyright claim.
It’s also important to note that any work for hire does not automatically assign a copyright to the author of that content. The person who hired the creative person to create content is assigned the copyright. This means if you hire someone to write a blog post for you, then you are the one who owns the copyright to that work. The writer does not. The only way they would is if you specifically agree to assign them rights.
By knowing how a copyright works, you can protect your blog from duplication with just a few simple steps. Take these steps today and you’ll be able to stop others from copying your work and calling it their own.