How To Copyright a Document and Protect Your Work From Theft
A document is defined as a written or printed paper that gives information about or proof of something. It can also be regarded as a drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of a thought, either of fictional or non-fictional nature.
If you created something, even a document, it is your right to decide who can use it. Copyright laws, such as the DMCA, can help with that, as they regulate copyright infringement, copyright claims, and notices.
How Does Copyright Work?
Copyright falls under the category of intellectual property rights. It allows the original creator and copyright owner to use, copy, and distribute the content, but it also protects the copyrighted work from theft.
The original content gets copyright upon creation, which lasts for a limited period. How long copyright lasts depends on the copyright laws of the specific country. In the U.S., it lasts during the life of the owner and an additional 70 years after they pass away.
What Is Protected by Copyright?
Copyright is often confused with a trademark or patent. They also represent intellectual property rights, alongside design rights. Here are the works that fall under the copyright category:
- Movies and other audiovisual content
- Sound recordings
- Typographical arrangements
Are Documents Under Copyright Protection?
You may think that documents do not qualify for copyright protection, but they fall under literary works. It seems that literary work only applies to poetry, novels, stories, and such, but this is not the case. They refer to any work written using letters, numbers, or symbols. This means that you can protect your documents as works of authorship.
Do I Have To Register Copyright for a Document?
If you are wondering how to copyright a document, then you must know that registering a copyright is not necessary, but it is recommended. There are several reasons why people decide to register their copyright:
- To have proof of copyright ownership
- To own a certificate of registration
- It is required for filing an infringement lawsuit in court
- Registered copyrighted works may be eligible for statutory damages that go from $750 to $35,000 per work and attorney fees
If you want to register the copyright for a document, you must:
- Complete the application form
- Pay a fee
- Send a physical or digital copy of the work to the U.S. Copyright Office
After you mail or submit a digital copy of your work, you should receive a confirmation email from the Copyright Office.
Here Is How the DMCA Protects Your Content
Online copyright infringement proved to be a bigger problem than regular copyright violations. In 1998, the U.S. government decided to pass the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (or DMCA), a copyright law that implemented two treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
DMCA protection is available for both online service providers (OSPs) and copyright owners.
The DMCA primarily offers a safe harbor to online service providers that protects them from copyright infringement liability happening on their platforms. This means that as long as platforms like YouTube, Twitch, or Google are abiding by certain rules, they are safe from copyright infringement lawsuits. These are the requirements they must meet:
- Only their users are allowed to select and upload the content
- Other users can see that content without modifications by the web host
- The process is automatic—the web host must not interfere in any way
By meeting these criteria, online service providers prove that they have no information about possible copyright violations and cannot profit from them.
If one of their users does post infringing content, the platform has to:
- Notify the infringer
- Remove infringing content
- Issue a strike to the user’s (infringers) account, which can lead to it’s termination
It may seem like the DMCA only protects big websites, but you can still refer to this law to keep your content safe—with a DMCA takedown notice.
Take Down Stolen Content With a DMCA Takedown Notice
When someone steals your content and posts it online without your permission, you have a legal right to take it down. The ultimate tool at your disposal is a DMCA takedown notice.
A copyright infringement notice is a carefully drafted legal document that you send to the Internet Service Provider(ISP) hosting the infringing content. You will avoid any contact with the actual infringer and communicate directly with the ISP, which will cut some of the annoyance out of the process.
The document doesn’t have a predetermined form, but here are some crucial parts to pay attention to:
|Subject||Not everyone knows what the DMCA is, so make sure your intent is clear. Include phrases like a Copyright notice, Copyright infringement notice, or DMCA takedown notice in the subject|
|Stolen Material||Saying someone is using your content without your permission is not enough. Make sure to include all links leading to the infringing content|
|Original Content||If you registered your work with the Copyright Office, include the copyright certificate. If that is not the case, include links to your original material|
|Your Contact Details||Include your name, phone number, email address, and mailing address so that the ISP can reach you|
|Statements||You need to include a statement claiming that you believe in good faith that everything you included in the notice is true. You also need to swear under the penalty of perjury that you’re the copyright owner of the material in question|
|Electronic Signature||You have to sign the notice before sending it|
You can do this yourself, but it can be a bit tricky. ISPs get tons of such documents and will dismiss any that look unprofessional or fake. While there are some templates online, your best chance is to use our app.
DoNotPay guarantees a professional-looking DMCA takedown notice that will get noticed by the website host.
File a DMCA Takedown Notice With DoNotPay
If you are looking for a way to file a DMCA takedown notice hassle-free, you are in the right place. DoNotPay, the world’s first robot lawyer, is at your service for resolving any bureaucratic issue, including taking down stolen content.
With our help, you won’t need to hire legal assistance, pay for expensive services, or attend a course in taking down content. We can help you file a DMCA takedown notice in no time:
- Open DoNotPay in your web browser
- Click on the DMCA Takedown option
- Type your work’s title in the provided box
- Enter the URL of the original content
- Enter the URL of the page with stolen content
- Confirm your identity and account info
- Click Sign and Submit
You will be able to see the results in the My Disputes tab once the web host receives your notice.
If you opt for DoNotPay, you can submit an unlimited number of notices, even without proof of copyright ownership.
DoNotPay Helps You Solve Your Problems in the Blink of an Eye!
Not only can DoNotPay help you to file copyright notices without effort, but it can also give you all the essential information about copyright to get you started. Learn the basics of how copyright works and how to copyright your creations, but first, check how much it costs to copyright your content. Use our app to protect your rights by filing a DMCA takedown notice and reporting copyright infringements.
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