Creators of original works have legal copyright protection which gives them the exclusive right to use and publish their original material. Copyright infringement has always been a problem. However, the number of people infringing on protected material has increased dramatically due to the Internet. Copyright holders need to take proactive steps to prevent copyright infringements, thus allowing them to maintain exclusive use of their original works.
Give a copyright notice for all original works. Current law does not require a notice for new works, but including such a notice can deter others from stealing the material. Include the copyright symbol or the word "copyright," the year the work was first published, and the owner of the copyright. Add the notice to all web pages for material published online. Make a dedicated page with the copyright notice for books. Alternately, put the notice on the title page.
File a copyright with the government. You can file a copyright online with the United States Copyright Office. Those who file a copyright may obtain additional damages if they sue a copyright infringer in court. Make an additional notice with the standard copyright notice to announce that the copyright is filed. This can add an additional reason to deter would-be copyright thieves.
Use the Copyscape plagiarism checker to check for online copyright theft and add an additional warning for online works. The Copyscape symbol states that the material is protected. Copy the HTML for the Copyscape symbol and put it into web pages to display the symbol. Enter the website address of the protected material and look at the results to see if other websites have stolen and published your works.
Send a cease and desist letter to individuals who steal and publish your copyrighted works online. Hire a lawyer to draft the letter or write your own. Find the contact information for the individual by searching for "whois www.websitename.com" in a search engine. Click on the web pages in the search results to find the whois report and contact details. Make a note of the web host's contact details, as well. Inform the web host if the website owner refuses to take down the copyright protected material.
Send a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice to online search engines or interactive websites with forums or other material generated by users. Each search engine or Internet Service Provider must comply with this Act. This includes deleting copyright infringements posted by users of a site. Contact the search engine or website owner to learn how to submit a DMCA notice according to their policies.