So you are a teacher, a graphic designer, a developer, or any other type of content creator but you are not sure whether to share your content online because you are afraid it will get copied?
On one hand, providing online courses is a profitable business, on the other hand ensuring your e-learning content’s security can be a challenge. It’s crucial for you to understand how to protect your intellectual property since it’s your most valuable asset but at the same time the easiest to steal.
Creating unique online courses can take a lot of time and effort. The idea of someone stealing your content, presenting it as their own, and sharing it with others while profiting from it can be infuriating. It’s never been easier for bad actors to reap the benefits of your work. Beyond the feeling of injustice that comes with getting your work copied, it can also impact your business’ efforts negatively.
When it comes to protecting your online courses there’s not one specific way to protect them. The moment you upload your content to the internet it becomes at risk of being stolen. In many cases, it can be as easy as, copy-paste, a screen recording, or downloading a PDF.
Without a proactive strategy to keep your work safe, you could find your content resold or reused without permission. Therefore, if you create e-learning content — Whether you are an online trainer for SEO courses or a content creator to study languages online, there are certain ways to legally protect your courses, and most importantly your business.
So how do you protect your intellectual property in the realities of the Internet’s ‘sharing economy’?
We have talked to our Red Points’ in house expert Bruno Klumpp Abegao, Platforms & Policy Operations Manager and here are five tips on how you can protect your online courses or programs:
First and foremost, make sure to register your copyright which is the legal right creators have over their original, creative work and which allows them to monetize it. If someone sees that you have placed a copyright on your content, they may be less inclined to steal it by fear of breaking the law.
For online course content creators, the work protected by copyright would be images, graphs, texts, videos, or PDFs. Compared to patents or trademarks, registering a copyright is an easy and straightforward process and it will help you to pursue legal action while adding an extra layer of protection and peace of mind for you and your business. In easier words, if you have your content registered it will save you a lot of time since you won’t need to prove afterwards that the material is yours.
It’s crucial to understand how you want to distribute your course. Are you planning to launch a website or share a video on YouTube or use a specific platform to share a course like Udemy or Domestika? This will have a direct impact on how easy or hard it is for others to copy your material.
Specific platforms already have mechanisms and technology in place to protect your content. This extra “wall of protection” will make it harder for your material to be downloaded and used without your consent. Another advantage of using a professional platform is the consumer experience and trust. When searching for online courses, potential consumers might be more likely to directly look for different options on e-learning platforms or apps rather than Google.
Platforms like Domestika care about the protection of the content inside their platform and are already using brand protection software to track any anti-piracy activity.
Several companies developed Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions that help content creators to manage their intellectual property. DRM software defines or establishes and identifies rights holders and also tracks the usage. In other words, a DRV software will help you control and have visibility on who has access to your content and how long for. This comes especially handy for e-learning entities and includes encryption, passwords, and firewalls to only make that content accessible for specific users.
There is no better way to protect your content than adding your name, logo, or website URL as a watermark. While this is an easy way to claim your content it also adds a certain level of possession and implies others need to ask for your consent before using or sharing it. Even if bad actors decide to illegally share your content it’s still clear that you were the creator and you might even receive traffic from those activities. And remember, nobody can ever be you!
Apart from the proactive measures mentioned above, we cannot forget about monitoring where your content might already be used and how. This can be a very manual and time-consuming task while at the same time not very efficient.
With the Internet moving at such a rapid speed, it’s impossible for individuals to keep up with this work manually on thousands of different websites. That’s why Anti Piracy technology is key to increase your content lifetime value and protect your creations online, across marketplaces, social media, rogue websites, or cyberlockers 24/7.
Whether you’re designing an online training or an e-learning course, meeting proactive measures to protect your intellectual property is key. With anti-piracy so rapidly evolving it’s almost impossible to narrow it down to zero but by implementing certain protective walls and measures, it will help you safeguard your content.
Even though there are many ways how your courses potentially could be copied this should not discourage you from creating more. This market is ever-evolving and creates many business opportunities and if every content creator was worried about their work being stolen, we wouldn’t see this fantastic growth of courses, videos, and e-learning. This is the price of a successful online business.