Protecting Your Copyrighted Material: Do You Know Where Your Stuff Is?


For some time now, I have had Google alerts active for myself, my web design partner and Pixelita Designs. Any time any of those three names is mentioned or searched in Google, I am notified. Usually I can ignore most alerts, since Google also picks up on our individual blog posts and any time someone new uses one of our WordPress themes, those show up on the alert list as well.

But today, I got wind of something else. A copyrighted document of ours was uploaded to a file sharing site of some repute. Without our knowledge or consent. Fortunately, the copyright notice in the document footer is there for the world to see. And who’s to say whether or not the presence of the unauthorized document on this web site might drive business to us?

Nonetheless, it’s now up to us to decide if we want to send the site a takedown notice. The site’s FAQs claim the site believes strongly in copyright and frowns upon and acts swiftly in the event of alleged infringement. Let’s see if their claims hold water.

Update: We decided to send the site a takedown notice via email. Within *minutes* of sending that email, the site took down the infringing materials. This says a lot about them and that they do indeed care about copyright issues.

Meanwhile, the takeaway from this for you is that you might want to set up Google alerts for your name and your company name if you care at all about how and when your copyrighted content is disseminated on the internet.

Further Reading

Joni Mueller has been designing web sites for hire since 2003, when she first blew up her web host's server by insisting on running Greymatter. Since then, Joni has designed for Blogger and Movable Type, TextPattern, WordPress and CMS Made Simple. She lives with her cat and shoe collection in a bucolic old section of Houston called Idylwood. For some strange reason, Joni likes to refer to herself in the third person. When she's not working on web design, she's ordering lawyers around. And blogging about it. Or both.

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