What is intellectual property internet? Unfortunately, if you're a successful writer or blogger, your intellectual property that's stored on the internet may be susceptible to theft.

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property Online

If you want to protect your intellectual property, there are eight key actions to complete. Following these steps can dramatically decrease the possibility of your online content being compromised. They will also serve as an instructional guide in case it should occur.

  1. Understand Copyright Law: Your content is protected from the moment it's created. There is no need to register the content because, as your intellectual property, no one can legally reproduce it. Consider that the law only protects the expression of your idea, but not the idea itself. Therefore, another party can legitimately write about your post in their own words. Some may welcome this and consider it free publicity.
  2. Publish an official copyright notice: Using a copyright notice can be a reminder to the world that you own the posted online content. Remember, this is not mandatory to protect your work, and it doesn't offer you any specialized rights. It simply acts as a deterrent. Copyright notices (e.g., “© 2018, Michael Scott”) can be placed in the footer of your blog, so it appears at the bottom of each page.
  3. Create an explicit permission policy: Consider creating a separate page instructing others on exactly what they can do with your created content. Be very explicit. For example, create a Permission Policy page stating what people can do with and without your permission. This will keep others from contacting you about how they can use your content and provide a published standard to reference if you encounter a violation.
  4. Give a benefit of the doubt: Remember that not every person who reposts your content has malicious intentions. Oftentimes, they simply may not know the law and don‘t realize that they are infringing on your rights. They may be fans who appreciate your work and are excited about sharing it with their followers. Consider that they may also need to be informed about copyright laws and would benefit from education on the topic.
  5. Request removal of your post: You can request that your content be removed in a comment or via email, which is preferred. Remember to assume that the motive was kind and be gracious. Ideally, you would like them to continue to promote your work and to view you in a positive light. Begin by thanking them for the repost, but carefully explain that what was done is actually illegal. You can refer them to your permission policy, and kindly suggest to post an excerpt of the piece. In the majority of cases, people will apologize and comply with the request.
  6. Demand your content to be taken down: If the offender does not respond to your request, the next step is to escalate the situation by demanding removal of your created content. This should be done in a “demand letter” (most likely an email), which insists that they take down the stolen content. Be firm, but fair, and assume that this person does not comprehend the gravity of the situation.
  7. Notify the offender's website host: If the infringer still does not comply, the next step is to do some research. Using a tool such as DomainTools, you can determine their “Whois Record” to access the domain registration information. This will let you know who hosts their site. Send an email to the hosting service, typically to an email address like abuse@[the name of the hosting service], requesting a “take-down” of the webpage and explain why. The proper personnel will investigate and determine if the offender has violated your content rights.
  8. Hire an attorney: If the service provider is offshore, unreputable, or incompetent, then you may need to hire an attorney. However, at this point, it is important to consider the cost of litigation versus the damage you believe is being done. Online pirates can quickly disappear and reappear, oftentimes faster than you will be able to get through the legal process.

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