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  • Writer's pictureEssentia Law

How To Protect Your Website from Content Theft

With almost two billion websites out there in 2020, it is becoming more and more common to find your content on your competitor’s website. After spending valuable time to come up with your personalized, well-researched content, it is heartbreaking and shocking to find out others just copy-and-pasted your work and are now claiming it to be their own. But what can you do to prevent it and what are the next steps if it has already happened to you?

Here are some tips on how to deal with content appropriation:

Terms of Use

If you have a website, you should have terms of use posted on it. Essentially, terms of use are a contract that you form with visitors to your website. It regulates how your content can be used.

Some webhosts provide standard terms of use. However, those might not cover your specific business. It is best to have a professional either review your current terms of use or draft new ones specifically for you.

If your content has been misused, the main advantage of having terms of use listed on your website is that you can sue for breach of contract. In contrast, if you are looking to go after someone for copyright infringement, you have to show that the unauthorized use of your content caused you actual damages, which creates more hoops to jumps through.

Prevent Text-Copying

There are options to make text-copying more difficult. Through programming language and the help of your website developer, you can display text, but make it impossible to highlight and copy.

And although there are programs that can detect letters in screenshots and turn them into usable text again, using these programming tools to disable highlight copy and paste might already be enough to deter wrongdoers.

Contact their Webhost

Sometimes even the best preparation doesn’t prevent content theft. Most webhosts have policies in place to deal with copyright infringement. Their online complaint forms will request information such as identification of the copyrighted work and proof of its misuse, the infringer’s contact information, a statement from you verifying that you did not license the use of the copyrighted work, and a statement that all the information you provided is accurate.

The webhost may then temporarily suspend the infringer’s website during investigation and may permanently disable the website should the owner deny their request to take down the copyrighted work.

Cease and Desist Letter

A useful tool in copyright infringement claims are cease and desist letters. You are basically sending a demand letter to the infringer requesting immediate cessation of copyright infringement. A cease and desist letter does not have to be sent by a lawyer, however, these letters typically have a higher chance of success if sent by a lawyer. It reminds the recipient of the serious legal repercussions involved in copyright infringement.


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