How do I protect my intellectual property online?

Glenn W. Peterson

Anything creative that you put on the internet instantly becomes available to anyone in California, the country and the world. It also provides a lot of opportunities for people to filch your work. According to the International Academy of Design & Technology, to protect your intellectual property, you need to clearly communicate through a disclaimer or statement predominantly displayed on your website that the work is copyrighted or trademarked, or has other intellectual property protection.

Technology that encodes or encrypts your work in a way that prevents others from using it is another available method. For example, use a watermark on an image or insert coding that prevents copying content directly from the page. It is also important to understand your rights and the laws pertaining to them. This includes international laws, which come into play because the internet is an international platform.

Violations of your rights should be prosecuted. Once you discover someone has taken your work and used it or passed it off as his or her own, you should take advantage of all the opportunities the law allows to stop them. By being alert and staying on top of issues, you show others that you will not tolerate anyone taking your work. People often think that anything they see on the internet is free to use as they wish because they do not understand intellectual property laws and how they pertain to all works, even those online. It is generally up to you to make sure people know your work is protected intellectual property.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.