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While the ability to share one’s opinions and knowledge with millions of people through web articles is a wonderful phenomenon of the web, the downfall is the amount of plagiarism that takes place.  Many writers who create website articles are now fearful their work will be stolen and they will not get the credit for their work.

Fortunately, website articles fall under copyright law protection.  If the proper steps are taken, you could take legal recourse against infringers.    While following the steps outlined below will not necessarily prevent plagiarism all together, it may discourage infringement and you may be able to settle your disputes outside of the courts.

How to Copyright Articles – First Step to Protection
Copyright arises automatically upon an author’s or creator’s expression of something in an original, fixed form (for example, on paper, CD, USB key, etc.).  In other words, the answer to ‘how to copyright articles’ is to simply put original work in a fixed/tangible form.   When we are looking at the question “are web articles under copyright?” the answer is also yes.  However, it is important to distinguish that simply typing something on your computer does not count as a ‘fixed form’ in the eyes of the courts.  As such, one would have to print the article on paper or save it on a hard drive or CD/DVD (for example) to make it valid as a fixed form.

Use the Copyright Symbol – Second Step to Protection
While most countries offer copyright protection automatically (once the work is in a tangible form), it’s always prudent to put the copyright symbol on your articles. Including the notice can enhance protection because:  the infringer cannot claim they did not know the article was copyrighted; it may actually discourage infringement; and it makes it easier for people to obtain permission from you if they want to use a portion of your work.

To write a copyright notice, include the word ‘copyright’ and the symbol ‘©’, the date of first publication or creation, and the owner’s name.

Ex: Copyright © 2008 by Jane Schwartz.

To learn more about the copyright symbol and protection, click here.

Registering Your Work – the Ultimate Protection for Website Articles
Although copyright is automatic for your website articles and although you may have included the copyright notice – others may still copy your work.  When information is placed on the net, many people often assume it is theirs to reproduce without permission.  As such, the best step one can take to protect website articles is to register the work with a third party specializing in copyright.  There are a number of companies who specifically focus on registering copyright for the purpose of proving your authorship and ownership of the work should someone plagiarize.  Ensure this is a company with the focus on gathering the required information for copyright protection, and not just an online storage company.  For more information on how to choose a copyright registry, click here.

Disclaimer: The above is meant as a general guide to further your copyright knowledge and does not constitute legal advice.  For questions about your specific work, you should consult a copyright lawyer in your country.

Justine Shoolman is the Co-Founder of Copyright Creators (www.copyrightcreators.com), a service inspired by the shortfalls of ‘poor man’s copyright’.  Copyright Creators protects copyright for life with no membership or renewal fees.  Visit Copyright Creators today and you’ll receive 4 free registrations to protect & create proof of your copyright online.

2 Responses to “Copyright Website Articles — How to Protect your Work Against Plagiarism”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CopyrightCreatorscom, Lee Keller King. Lee Keller King said: RT @OnlineCopyright: How to protect your work against plagiarism… http://tinyurl.com/ydz572u [...]

  2. Enjoyed the Insight from the experts at CopyrightCreators.com post. Not many blogs worth bookmarking but this is going on Delicious now!

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