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Copyright laws in the UK are relatively well known. Following the explosion of online content, everyone seems to be at least vaguely familiar with when and how you would be breaking these laws. Of late, however, I have noticed a growing trend of people who don't seem to be as knowledgeable when it comes to actually copyrighting their work in the first place; and just because it's yours, doesn't mean somebody else can't take it. Here's how to ensure your work is protected.
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Copyright Symbols

Whatever it is your looking to copyright, the simplest way to ensure it remains yours is to include the copyright symbol (©), your name and the year of publication at the foot of every web page. For example, simply writing something like “Copyright © John Smith 2014” will actually prove to be a legally binding notice of copyright should somebody steal a photograph of your production, a piece of text or anything displayed on the copyrighted page.
Terms of Use

Next, another good way to ensure your work is appropriately copyrighted is to include a Terms of Use section on your website, whereby you state explicitly that the work contained is not for reproduction. Simply include a few choice legal phrases to make it clear that you own the work. These include the no-frills “All rights reserved,” for a basic warning, or include something like “any unauthorised broadcasting, public performance, copying or re-recording will infringe copyright” to be explicitly clear. 
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Digital Protection

The final tip is to attach some form of digital protection to your work. Especially valid in the cases of photographs, digitally watermarking your images will mean that the copyright information is embedded into the pixels of the image. While the image will show up clear on your site, if it is reproduced elsewhere the watermark will appear alongside all of the relevant copyright information. Other examples of digital protection also include using password protected PDFs or encrypting files. Unfortunately, however, the use of these will mean that only select people with the correct credentials can access your work.
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What to do if someone steals your work?

Now, as long as you have applied at least some of the above advice to your work, it is, in theory, fully copyright protected. This means that the moment somebody reproduces it, you have every right to exhaust all of the legal alleyways at your disposal.

If you're happy with the website by simply removing the image, the best course of action would be to courteously email the website and request them to take it down. In the case that they don't reply or refuse, however, contact the webhoster. These can range from WordPress to Blogger, and as long as you can prove that it is your content displayed they will swiftly remove it.

If you want to take it a step further, though, and seek financial reparations for the theft of your intellectual property, then first take counsel from an experienced legal team, such as that on offer over at Coles Solicitors. In this event, you will again need to prove that the image is yours, as well as providing evidence of all of the steps you took to make it clear that the content was copyrighted.


  1. Good idea! I will just put my name, Copyrighted & date on my art pictures I post. Marlynne

    1. Hi Marlyanne...I think its best too, that way people can find you if they want to and even if they do not want to link to you, your name is there for everyone to see ;) Hope you are well xxx

  2. Yes, But it's not a very pretty solution. I don't like the watermarking across my pictures. Very annoying that people don't know the difference between 'mine and yours' though

    1. that's life though isn't it...I have found a lot of mt pictures out there on the web, but at least now most of them have a watermark on them and therefore people can find me (the actual source of the picture) I also think if there is a watermark on someone elses picture is is easier for me to find all in all I think its best given today's copycat world ;)


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