Copyright Laws, Copyright Protection And What To Do If Someone Steals Your Work

Taking a look into copyright laws, how you can protect yourself from copyright infringement and what to do if you think your work has been stolen. Also included is the script / code to add Copyscape to your website or web pages to better protect it as well as the link to check your work manually.

Lets face it when it comes to someone stealing your work nothing can anger an author, photographer or artist more than having their work infringed upon but not only do you feel angered you can feel rather confused and frustrated because of the complications that go with copyright infringement.

Many people believe that if they write something or take a photo of something and then post it on line it is then that it is copyrighted, however; your work is copyrighted from the first minute you write the first letter of the alphabet or snap the first photo but it is the ways in which you share your work that may let you down.

I have had articles stolen from me that were virtually word for word with no credit. I have also had photography used with no credit and even the name of my website Artistic Visions Gardening stolen on me recently which I have to admit angered me the most because when you put a lot of thought and effort into something finally coming up with the perfect name and hold onto that name for 8 years just for someone to come along and take it naming their website the same thing, a website which I may say has nothing to do with gardening, it is very frustrating to say the least! Lately I even have people using my name and the mention of my articles to sell their gardening supplies even though there is no link to me or the articles nor do they do not have my permission to do so.

Though I am no lawyer I have done quite a bit of research on this subject upon having to deal with my own work being infringed upon. In this article I will look into copyright restrictions as well as how you can protect yourself from infringement.

A copyright is a law that states you cannot copy the material or work from another person, whether it be an author's writings or a photographers photos, without the owners consent, however; there are three exceptions to the rule when concerning copy material.

# 1. All works only remain under the copyright of the author until 70 years after his/her death.

# 2. Any works that an author or photographer has placed in a public domain means anyone can copy and distribute the work as they wish. A good example of this is Wikapedia or any site that has a commons license. A commons license means you are allowing others the right to share and distribute your work so if you have a commons on your website and don't want it shared or stolen you may want to remove it.

# 3. If you have permission or you were to buy someones product such as word perfect or Microsoft, it is than licensed for your use.

Also if concerning names of websites or companies there is nothing you can do, it is not infringement as a name is just a name and can be used unless of course it is affecting your website or business in financial matters. It is only then that you can get a lawyer and prove that this name theft has affected your business badly through earnings and loss of customers.

Image By Wikapedia

The law also states that you have to be very careful as to what you use on your own website. You could be going against copyright laws unknowingly if you use someone else's work. This could include photography, text, articles, design and website design even right down to an mp3 you have taken from a CD in which you own. In every sense if you are using something that does not have a commons license on it I would suggest before using any work on your website or in your articles always check with the person first and get permission.

When looking into copyrighting web pages or particular works, even though from the minute you write it any original work or snap any shot from a camera is automatically under your copyright, although owning the copyright on writing is a bit different than photography as it may be a bit more difficult to prove that you are in fact the original author and you will then have to pay legal costs in pursuing any stolen works.

Image By Wikapedia

In order to overcome any problems when relating to copyrights it is advisable that you register your works at a copyright office. In many countries you must send a copy of your work as well as fill out an application and pay a one time fee. If you have created anything that you feel is important it is best to go with this route, therefore, you will not have problems later on as to who the original owner of this work is.

If writing, taking photos or designing something for someone else the contract should state who will own the copyright on the work. This is a divided matter and in some cases the person who bought the work owns the copyright while in other cases the author retains the rights to the copyright. Just remember in order to avoid any issues that may later arise it should state in the contract who owns the work.

To show your copyright you should add it to the bottom of all your pages and embed it into your website. It should look like this:

Copyright (or ©) *Year* *Your Name*


Copyright © 2010 Tanya Kime Wallace

Also to help protect your website you can embed or place a script in your site or blog for Copyscape which should look like this:

<A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" ALT="Protected by Copyscape Original Content Checker" TITLE="Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Checker - Do not copy content from this page." WIDTH="120" HEIGHT="60" BORDER="0"></A>

To see if your work is stolen you can also check particular work manually at the copyscape at:

Last but not least if you find out your work has been stolen the first thing I can suggest is to contact the person who has stolen it to kindly tell them to remove your work, stating they are infringing upon your rights. If they do nothing contact the person above them such as the website owner or host. Remember to document these contacts such as emails. If after attempting to contact both of them and nothing is still done the best thing I can suggest is to get a lawyer.

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Copyright © 2010 Tanya Kime-Wallace

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Posted on Apr 25, 2011