Patent & Trademark Attorney
Consider This Article Before Copyrighting Your Website
In today’s internet-centered society, a business owner’s website is one of the most important tools available for marketing, customer service opportunities, advertising, and sales. As a result, knowing how to protect a website is crucial for business owners.
The first step in How to Copyright Your Website is to determine the owner of the site content. If the website was designed and created by an employee as a condition of his/her employment, the website is automatically owned by the business. However, when a 3rd party is hired to create website content, the 3rd party is technically the owner of the material. Ownership should then be transferred from the 3rd party to the business through a simple agreement granting the business the exclusive right to use the website.
Copyrights can be used to protect the entire content of the website. By definition, copyrights protect original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible form. If the business website is clearly described, original, and owned by the applicant, it can be copyright protected. For example, original articles, blog posts, webinars, podcasts, videos, and music posted on the website are all capable of copyright protection.
Because only original works of authorship can be copyright protected, user reviews, links, material considered to be in the public domain, and hyperlinked text cannot be copywritten.
To copyright protect your website, make sure to include a copyright notice on each page, typically at the bottom. The notice should include the copyright symbol (©) followed by the year created and owner name. You may also wish to register your website with the U.S. Copyright Office, although not required to establish the copyright.
Trademarks protect the name, logo, tagline, and product names of the business. The internet makes it very easy to publish information, and fraud and plagiarism often occur. It is therefore advisable to register the trademarks present on your website to avoid confusion between visitors and to further protect your website.
One or more business trademarks can be registered by filing an application with the U.S. Trademark Office. Before the trademark will be granted, a specimen showing the trademark in use in commerce is required.
After filing your trademark applications, it is a good idea to include the TM symbol after each trademark to put the public on notice that the word or phrase is your intellectual property. After the mark is registered with the U.S. Trademark Office, the TM symbol can be replaced with the ® symbol to indicate a registered trademark.
Trade secrets include information that gives your business a competitive or economic advantage over the competition. For example, the Coca-Cola company has kept its drink formula a secret for 75 years. Trade secrets can be protected by the prudent use of confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements with all employees and contractors working for the company. When it comes to the business website, it is advisable to keep aspects of the software code secret by using encryption technology.
Protecting intellectual property is one of the most important efforts a business can undertake to create long-term value. Intellectual property allows your business to have an edge over the competition. Therefore, it is a good idea that every business (especially an online company) consult with a lawyer who has experience and knowledge about the protection of intellectual property.
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Intellectual property is often our clients’ most valuable asset and raises the most complex issues. Dogwood Law places emphasis on cost-effective counselling of clients. Whether you are just starting or have years of experience we can meet with you for a free consultation.