Own-it | Intellectual Property Know-How for Creative Businesses


How to protect your work online

Published 01.11.08 at 09:30

It is very hard to enforce your IP rights internationally, particularly in relation to the internet which enables downloading on a vast scale. Even where it is clear your IP rights are recognised in other countries there is still the problem of enforcement. Instructing foreign lawyers is difficult and expensive and the remedy may not make it worthwhile. The difficulty of policing the internet is just one of the reasons why the music industry brings actions for copyright infringement against the distributors of file-sharing technology rather than against the people who download, although this is now changing (see here).

Practical steps: To defend the IP rights of your work on your own website, the following measures can be taken:

  • Protect website content through encryption technology; for example, by locking up content (digital wrapping), which can only be accessed by authorised users.
  • Highlighting your IP rights visibly, including using appropriate logos, digital watermarking techniques, and so on.
  • Use compression technology to ensure content can only be downloaded through specified technology (for example, Apple's iTunes) which makes it degrade when illegally copied. These measures known as Digital Rights Management (DRM), however, can be expensive and are not always practical for creators and small businesses.

For further information, you can download our podcast 'Your work on the web and how to protect it'.

Content supplied by Daniel McClean. Photo credit: Gualtiero


Please note that this article discusses the legal position in the UK at the time of publication. It provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.


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