Protecting your intellectual property and online content is difficult – and that’s putting it mildly. The internet is rampant with content thieves who are quite happy to take your work and pass it off as their own.

As a business owner, that’s the last thing you want to happen. It not only takes away from your authority and accountability, but it can negatively affect your SEO.

So, how can you keep your intellectual property safe in a world of would-be thieves?

How to protect your content from theft

There isn’t much you can do to completely stop a thief from stealing your content. There are, however, several things you can do to deter them:

  • Use a WordPress plugin that makes it impossible to cut and paste from your website
  • Configure your RSS feed so it displays post summaries
  • Add a watermark to any images displayed on your website
  • Include a clear copyright notice on your website (be sure to specify what types of use you will and will not allow)
  • Trademark your business’s name, logos, tagline, and any other proprietary information

How to know if your content has been plagiarized

In the past, detecting content theft was difficult. Unless you saw your blog being shared on someone else’s website, or a friend happened to see your photo somewhere on the web, you may never have known that your intellectual property had been compromised.

These days, it’s much easier to detect plagiarism. Many different programs and websites exist that will help you find and identify your content wherever it is on the web.

One of the easiest methods is to use Google Alerts, which tracks all of your original content. The service sends emails when it finds new results—such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs —that match your provided search terms. You can enter information about topics such as products, services, your name, your business’s name, and more.

What to do if your content has been stolen

What do you do if Google (or another service) alerts you that your intellectual property has been found on another website? First, gather evidence: Anything that can prove the work is yours can be useful. This might include original files, documents, or screenshots of the content on your website (bonus if there is a timestamp or date of publication!)

If you’ve taken the step of registering a copyright or trademark on your work, these steps can be avoided, as you already have proof that the work is your own.

The first step should always be to send a friendly email asking the offender to remove your content from their website. Often, this is enough.

If you don’t hear back or they refuse, there are several steps you can take:

  • Report them to their blog hosting platform
  • File a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) Complaint with Google so their page will be removed from search results
  • Contact your attorney and take legal action

Remember: If someone published your original content but cited you as the source, it does not count as plagiarism. You can, however, still ask them to take it down as copyright infringement.

Protecting your intellectual property is vital to your brand’s success. Although it can take a little time and effort, it is by no means difficult – and it’s something that should be right at the top of your to-do list. To learn more about how you can successfully safeguard your original material, reach out today and set up your free consultation.

Still concerned that you may be doing social media wrong as an influencer or online business? Then check out my list of the Top 5 DON’Ts of Social Media and Online Marketing. 

Building your online presence can be lucrative in more ways than one, but it’s important to be cognizant of potential legal concerns. For more information on this and other topics like it, subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates straight to your inbox.