Authors and Publishers: Copyright Protect Your Online Content

From guest blogger Lesley Ellen Harris, copyright lawyer, author, and instructor for SLA’s Certificate in Copyright Management program:

There are no secrets for protecting your online content from unauthorized use. However, there are a number of best practices you can undertake to help ensure that your readers understand that your content is protected by copyright and that your permission should be sought before using, adapting and sharing your content.

The Copyright Symbol

One basic action to protect your online content is to use the international symbol for copyright: ©. This copyright symbol is a reminder to the world at large that copyright exists in the work. Many believe that online content is free for the taking; use of the symbol educates and reminds people that, in fact, copyright does exist in your online content and permission is necessary before using that content.

Using the copyright symbol does not require copyright registration of a work or any specific permission or rubber stamping. In countries like Canada and the U.S., the symbol is not mandatory; however, there are incentives to use it. In Canada, use of the symbol provides evidence in a court action that the alleged violator should have known that copyright existed in the work. In the U.S., use of the symbol precludes an alleged violator of copyright from submitting that he did not know that copyright existed in a work. In the U.S., works published before March 1, 1989, were subject to different rules and the copyright notice was mandatory, though corrective steps could be taken if it was omitted on a published work.

Should the symbol be displayed on any page within your Website? What are other best practices for protecting online content? Should you register the copyright in your content? These and many other issues will be explored in the upcoming course CCM800 Copyright Principles for Authors and Publishers.  CCM800 begins Thursday, May 2, and registration is now open.

For more information about CCM800 or the Certificate in Copyright Management program, send an e-mail to Click University. Follow Lesley on Twitter.

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