What Can and Can't Be Done to Protect Your Stuff- Part Two
The down and dirty truth
None of the items listed on the previous
page, will stop someone from taking your stuff. The only thing
you can do that is 100% fool proof to keep your text, HTML, and
images safe and secure is to NOT PUT ANYTHING
ON THE INTERNET.
Anything that you place online is subject to theft and use by anyone
who wants to do it. Even the sophisticated protection available
by 3rd party vendors is not 100% fool proof. True, it takes someone
with a very advanced knowledge of programing/hacking to break these
protection schemes. There are those people out there who will take
your attempts to protect your stuff as a personal challenge to their
prowess, even though they have no interest whatsoever in your content...
just the challenge of defeating your protection.
All you can truly do is mark what you have, so that you can identify
it if it is stolen and used without your permission. Then if you
find any of your content used by someone without your permission
you can contact the website owner, the website designer, and the
website's hosting service. Inform them that they are in violation
of U.S. Copyright laws by using your copyrighted material without
You do have legal recourse and can ask for damages if you wish
to file a Federal Copyright Infringement action. Be aware that filing
a Federal action is VERY costly. This can also weigh in your favor
as it is just as costly to defend against one. Just the threat of
legal action which would cost the person taking your stuff upwards
of 5 figures to defend against is a very large deterrent. Yes, $20k-$50k
or MORE is not an unreasonable amount to have to pay an attorney
to defend a copyright action IF IT DOES GO to trial, especially
if it involves travel to a distant city.
The threat of a lawsuit is usually enough to scare
the pants off of:
- The website owner- Especially if
they paid the so called web designer who took your stuff.
- The website designer- Who knows
that they took your stuff.
- The website hosting company- Who
is displaying illegally obtained material on their server.
The website will usually be taken down by the owner, the designer,
or the site host to avoid the excessive cost of litigation. In order
to recover damages and legal fees (yes you can have the thief pay
your costs) there are certain requirements that you must meet. Do
not take anything stated in this tutorial to mean that I encourage
filing litigation or that I advise you to do anything other than
breath deeply and sigh.
This is not a tutorial on Federal and International
Law. Before you do anything that can cost you great sums of money,
talk to an attorney who is versed in Federal and International Copyright
law and follow their advice. You must decide what you want
to do as you will bear the ultimate financial responsible for your
actions. A strongly worded but cordial letter to all of the persons
involved is usually enough to have your copyrighted property removed
and is a good starting point.
If you are designing a website for someone else and they are insistent
about not having their content taken and reused, take the time to
discuss the options available, the problems associated with, and
the extra costs involved in the additional programing for the protection
of text and images. There are many who feel that all information
on the Internet is free for the taking. Keep this in mind when you
and your clients are deciding what to place online.
You can go overboard with trying to protect the content of your
web pages and scare away the very people that you are trying to
attract to your website in the first place. The objective of trying
to protect your stuff needs to be counterbalanced with common sense
and a firm but subtle notice that:
Hey.... This is my stuff.... enjoy it but keep your hands off.
Provisions for removal of violated copyright
Most Major websites have provisions for the removal of material
that violates your copyright:
An example is eBay's VeRO Program
Many other major sites have their own legal departments and if
you find your stuff placed on their site by another user they will
be more than helpful to have it removed.
::back to top::
Additional Reference and Resources
Copyright Law Information
The US Copyright Office has all of the information
and forms you need to file your copyright information
Title 17 of the Code of the United States of
America- THE LAW concerning copyright
The Franklin Pierce Law Center information on
Intellectual Property (that is what the legal eagles call
Duke University F.A.C.E. (Friends of Active Copyright
Cornell University Legal law Institute
Web Design and the Law
10 myths about Copyright
Web Developers information regarding Copyright
ZD-Net article on Copyright and image protection
About.com's page on protecting digital images and
Report of the Committee on Intellectual Property
Rights (The Digital Dilemma)
::back to top::
Explanations of why no right-clicks are not a good idea (like a
Mac does not have a right mouse button, duh).
Continue to Hope
Vortex Web Design
A few of your typical no right click disable scripts.
A simple disable right-click script.
Roll your own right click menu. Leave off what you don't what,
like view source & save image.
Here is one that re-enables the disabled right clicks that you
thought you took care of... Sounds good to me.
Alright already, this is enough no right-click stuff. If you need
more you'll just have to go find it for yourself!
Advanced Image Protection Software
The sites below offer sophisticated image and/or intellectual property
protection plans to choose from. Use at your own discretion.
Artist Scope Image Protection
Digital Watermarking Software
Article on digital watermarking
Evaluations, listings, and reviews of other digital watermarking