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Website copyright – how to protect your site content

October 11, 2011

More and more business owners now have their own websites. With the amount of content now available online, how do you copyright the articles and words you publish on your business site?

John Mackenzie from Pinsent Masons gave Bytestart some helpful advice on some questions often asked by website owners:

Do web publishers have to manually copyright each article they right, or is this automatic..?

“Copyright is automatic in the UK. The legal right arises as soon as the work is done.”

And if you suspect another publisher has copied your content, how can you actually prove that the content is yours in the first place?

“Proof of ownership is always tricky, but what you need to do is prove that you did the work. This can be by showing that meta data for files has your name, or that you and a colleague say that the work was done at a certain time and a certain place. With web content it is probably a case of going back to server records and showing when the work was done and by whom (probably by reference to user details).

“A common “trick” is to put the work into an envelope and then send it to yourself. By doing that you get material in a sealed envelope which is date stamped. That is not conclusive, but it certainly helps.”

Further copyright resources

With almost 3,000 articles live on the Bytestart, it is perhaps unsurprising that we have had our content copied on numerous occasions. The best tool to identify copies of your pages is Copyscape. If you do suspect that another site has copied your content, you should politely ask the offending site editor to remove or amend it. On most occasions, we have found that the content is removed within a few days.

Read our dedicated article on website copying for further tips.