The saying “imitation is the highest form of flattery” doesn’t necessarily apply to website content. In fact, it can get you into serious trouble. Google kills 250,000 search links a week as they crack down on urls that infringe on copyrighted material. Some argue that there’s no such thing as original content anymore. We’re just reshuffling the cards already dealt. I’d like to think otherwise. Not because it’s untrue, but it would be a sad world if nothing new was created. Even so, with millions of bloggers posting website content daily, how do you legally riff on the ongoing online conversation?
1. Obey Copyright Rules
According to the Copyright.gov “a copyright is a form of intellectual property, [that] protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.” You don’t have to worry about copyright infringement regarding facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation (but it may offer protection on how they are expressed). If you’ve got insomnia and want a little light reading on the subject, we suggest this 12-page circular about copyright basics covering Title 17, U.S. Code.
2. Giving Credit
As we’ve mentioned in earlier posts, we are big fans of creative commons as it allows legal sharing of creativity. For example, you’ll notice the images we use on our site are available on flickr.com. We are careful to give artists credit — or attribution — for their art. We also comment on their photostream, giving them feedback on how and where we used their art. On flickr you can search specifically for creative commons images, including those you can use for free even for commercial purposes.
3. Protect & Measure Website Content
Ever wonder who might be “borrowing” your website content? There are several tools to help you monitor your killer content.
- Google Alerts – set up alerts to see when your copyrighted material is posted. These alerts can be set at whatever frequency you can handle.
- Tynt – provides insight on what is cut & pasted from your site. Adding simple java script code to your site will add an embedded link whenever content is lifted. Called link building, this is a power tool for White Hat SEO.
- Copyscape – is a nifty tool that will compare a url page and see if it’s been copied verbatim elsewhere on the web.
Lastly, you could add a copyright to your website’s footer. Even though it offers little practical protection, it might make you feel better.
How can we help?
Launching a website and need help with content? Or, are you tweaking your landing pages to improve sales conversion?
We are the spectrum group, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.