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What do I need to know about copyright before uploading my content and material online?

I want to sell a "business expenses tracker" online, and it is in excel and PDF format with instructions. What can I do to minimize the risk that people will steal my content?

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Anonymous User

Dear Fabiola,

It really depends on how you are delivering the content on your website.

You need to be aware that content on the web is not easy to protect. For example, if you put password protection on your pages, then they will not be indexed by search engines which means nobody will find you so you do not have to worry about copying anyway!!

To get around this, you can put the sales and marketing content of the website in ordinary unprotected pages but limit the downloads or viewing of pages with critical information by using password protection or membership plans.

However, the cautionary note here is that once someone downloads the file, there is nothing stopping them to upload the information on another website with free access or download.

You need to properly protect these files with licence keys if you feel these tools and documents are so valuable. Licensing tools are not cheap or easy for DIY hacks.

Depending on how you are displaying your content, you can disallow “Right-click” on your web pages which stops people viewing source code, download images, etc. but if they are pros, there are some very simple ways of getting around this.

In essence you need to think about software and IPR protection and distribution whilst you are designing your product as any afterthought solutions will be much easier to hack around.

If you want to send me precise explanation of what you are doing on the website, how you are displaying or distributing information on your website, I would be very happy to take a look and suggest solutions that might work.

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

I think that my issue is simpler than all the examples you gave me! I want to sell a business expenses tracker that is created in excel sheets. I assume that all that I can do is to indicate "copy rights 2016 myname" and maybe block some cells and add a pass word to the shhets. But as you say that will not stop people from uploading it somewhere else ..
I feel silly..


You can also check the U.S. government copyright website for more information at this URL — https://www.copyright.gov/

When you check with the US Copyright Office - look under
"Intellectual Properties".

Definitely. Registering it with the CO gives you explicit rights that non-registration does not and they are well worth the $40 or whatever to file. To Fabiola: since English is not your first language, make sure you have a native English speaker proofread all your legal statements and disclaimers, so your users are very clear as to what you own and what's protected. Good luck and best of success!

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