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How Do I Copyright My Website?

Protecting your intellectual property -- necessary or waste of time?


copyright laws

Hi, Susan!

I hope you’re well! I just came across your website and found it super beautifully done and helpful, and I’m wondering if you might have a moment to answer a question for me.

I’m a recovering attorney who has inadvertently found their way into copywriting!

One of my first copywriting clients asked me if I handle the “filing” of my copy. I presume she is in the habit of filing all of her webpages with the copyright office, and was asking if I’d handle that filing for her. I haven’t done that yet and don’t want to, but I’m wondering if that is something most copywriters do? Do you file copy you write for clients with the copyright office?

Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it!Yours in confusion,

Marty

Hi Marty,

It’s nice to meet you. I don’t think I’ve met a “recovering attorney” ever before.  🙂

I honestly have no idea what your client meant about “filing” their copy. I have never done this for any of my own websites (I have about 10), nor for any of my clients.

Even if you did copyright your content, there’s no guarantee someone won’t steal it anyways. Happens all the time, and it’s usually too time-consuming or costly to go after them.

The good news is that most people who copy your web copy likely won’t have great success with it. Google would have ranked your pages and then recognized the plagiarist’s pages as copies and not index them.

The search engine has gotten much better about these things in recent years. Still not perfect, but better. You can keep an eye out for plagiarists yourself. Copy a key paragraph from your work and paste it into Google. Your search should bring up any sites that have the same paragraph or similar, which you can then check.

You can also set up Google Alert for certain key phrases. Google will notify you whenever there’s a new use of the phrase. Then check the source to see if you’ve been plagiarized.Here are some resources if you want to delve further into the subject:

Here’s an article I wrote where I give my thoughts on copyrights. If you read to the bottom, you’ll see that an attorney weighed in with his views.

Here’s another relevant article on the subject of copyrights.

Finally, here are two more articles on related topics.

https://www.susangreenecopywriter.com/articles/how-i-got-a-copywriter-fired-from-her-job-and-why-i-dont-feel-bad-about-it.html — This situation is what I fear the most. Someone with copywriting skills uses my ideas and content to build their own website, but they’re savvy enough to change words here and there so that Google doesn’t recognize the plagiarism.

https://www.susangreenecopywriter.com/articles/my-identity-was-stolen-from-a-jobs-site-for-freelancers.html — This situation went beyond plagiarism.

Hope that helps.

Regards,

Susan

Susan,

It’s so kind of you to respond and share your expertise with me. Thank you!

I won’t worry about the “filing” question; thank you for reassuring me that it’s not something I need to be doing.

I read every blog post you shared and found them to be truly illuminating. You’re clearly a powerhouse of a copywriter!

Warmly,

Marty

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