USING THE US COPYRIGHT PROCESS TO PROTECT YOUR E-COMMERCE BUSINESS
At TOSlawyer.com we regularly get calls from our e-com clients about unscrupulous businesses stealing/copying photos or marketing content. As an online retailer your content IS the cornerstone of your business because it’s how you sell products and generally if your marketing content is good it wasn’t cheap to create.
In order to protect your photos and marketing content, we’ve put this blog post together to help you prevent others from stealing your content.
- Register Your Content with the US Copyright Office
You can electronically register a compilation of photos or content (up to 750 pieces of content), that is all either published or unpublished , for a fee of $65 at the US Copyright Office. First, you’ll have to create an online account and then you’ll have to submit copies of your compilation as part of your registration application. Turnaround time for registration is approximately 2.5 months according to the Copyright Office. For more information regarding registration please visit the US Copyright FAQ or contact us.
- Registration Protects Your Content
Once you have properly registered your photos/content, other parties are on notice that you are the copyright owner of such content. This does a number of things but most importantly registration gives you a right to statutory damages that are worth $750-$30,000 per infringement. That means that a company stealing your content could easily be liable for thousands of dollars in damages. Additionally, if you hire an attorney to help you collect, the offender would be responsible for paying associated attorney’s fees too.
- Why Should I Register?
Unfortunately, if your works are not registered you would have to prove damages. Meaning that automatic statutory damages are not available and generally low level infringement might not be economically viable because you’d have to hire a lawyer, prove your damages, and then attempt to collect those fees without the threat of statutory damages.
Hopefully this blog post sheds some light on the copyright registration process. It’s important to remember as an e-commerce business that without your content you wouldn’t be able to sell your products. So taking the small amount of time/money to register any marketing content or photos is well worth the price.
If you have any questions regarding the copyright registration process, terms of service, privacy policies, or online legal issues please feel free to contact TOSlawyer.com using the submission form.