In NBC’s new TV series Hannibal, Dr. Gideon goes vicious by starting plagiarizing the work of the infamous killer Chesapeake Ripper. In addition to that, he also takes credit for many of his work. This obviously creates a mess, resulting in death of many people. Getting the proper credit and acknowledgement for a work is a very elemental requirement, not only voiding that is morally wrong, but can also be legally lethal. copyright Just like this TV show, in real life when the content is plagiarized, things become scheming. Thousands of writers and journalists put their heart writing intriguing and often very useful articles to which a web publisher puts ad against to generate revenue, that’s how most of the sites work. Hence it is very important to have some protocol that patrols over any unlawful use of your content. This is where copyrighting one’s content comes into play.

Copyright, pretty similar to how manufacturers patent a technology in their product that disallows other manufacturers to use that technology without their consent, is the right a creator holds by setting some etiquette over access and use of their material.

Internet in a way can be thought of as an online magazine where content is catered on websites just like there are articles and adverts in magazines. But sadly, things are little more complicated here. Since it is a public domain and the ease with which you could operate on a webpage is incredibly simple, a picture posted by you on your flickr / instagram account or any other social network could end up being used by some other website in their columns or any other documents. Trouble is, at first it is not necessary that you want your pictures  to be used anywhere. And, secondly, in case it is fine with you, you may demand for proper credits – be it financial or just simple acknowledgement. Thankfully to overcome this conflict we do have some great services that could trace the people who have used your content, and also protect your rights and provide legit documentation at the time of legal conflicts.

Copyright your articles and columns

If you write things on the internet, you might as well want to ensure that no one else uses your content on their websites without your consent. For this, there is a great service called MyFreeCopyright which scans your work and securely makes and stores a digital fingerprint of it. In addition to that, its software then keeps scanning the internet after that point to check if anyone has copied your content. If found, it will bring it to your notice and provide you with the further steps you should take in order to dismantle it.

Place Creative Common License on your content

Creative Common License

Most people writing on the internet aren’t lawyers, rocket scientists or FBI agents; they don’t understand and don’t want to be bothered by the on-site legal obligations. Creative Common License is meant for such people. Creative Common License provides you with the option of keying how you wish to deal with your content. It lets you decide if you want others to use your work or not, and if you do, what restrictions you want to put on your content. It streamlines the legal dialects into a user friendly deed, something a normal human could understand. Everything has been churned down to simple Yes/No questionnaire; you can decide if you want your work to be modified in any way, used by others for monetarily benefits, in either case, you would get the credit and share for the work. To get your content registered with this service, you need to go to their website and put the link of your articles, additionally you can also put Creative Common License logo at the bottom of your articles on your own website.

Look after your Youtube videos

A very common problem with Youtube is content plagiarism. When one uploader puts a content on his/her YouTube channel, it is very common to see the same content being rephrased and re-uploaded numerous number of times by other vicious users. If you are a web publisher who generates money from such content, it could really make a difference in your ad revenue sum.

In her talk at the TED conference, Margaret Stewart who manages the User Experience team for YouTube spoke how YouTube deals with plagiarized content. According to the YouTube’s content policy, you automatically own the copyright of all the content you upload on their website. But unfortunately, this isn’t enough to stop those people from illegally distributing your material. Addressing this problem, YouTube has started offering a new service called Content ID which scans all the videos, and as soon as it finds any trace of any use of your content, it either blocks it or lets you make money off that content as well.

YouTube content ID

Alternatively, you can also change the license type from Creative Common to Standard, that way you legally prohibit other users (viewers) from using your video; at the time of upload of the video, there is an option to claim ownership rights over it too.

Find out if your image has been copied

The problem with social networks is that any image you put there which is visible to others, can be downloaded. Though on Flickr you can stitch a few changes by disabling the right click option, and sure you can tweak the privacy of your Facebook account to friends, but still, any image you are able to see can technically be downloaded.

TIN eye reverse image search enginer

To check if your image has been redistributed or spread on any website, you can use the image search engine TinEye. The service pretty much like GoogleBot, tools that crawls through webpages gathering information, scans images, and as soon as it finds a match of your photo, it brings it to your notice. TinEye is also available as extensions for many popular browsers.

Google Image Search

Alternatively, you can also try Google Image Search. Google, a few years back had launched this service where you could upload the image file and then it searches for the similar content on the web. To make a search, go to Google and change the search type to Images. Once done, click on the camera button located at the corner of the search bar box. You will now see a popup where you could either put the URL of the image you want to look for, or upload the image from your computer or smartphone. Either way, Google will analyze the content and find redundant images.

Watermark your photos and videos

One of the easiest way to claim rights over a content is to put a tag on it before uploading it on the interweb. For images, one of the best freeware app is Picasa. It lets you add watermark (text or image logo) on any picture. Most image editors facilitate this feature. Alternatively, you can also use a freeware app Watermarker, the application lets you add multiple files and watermarks on all of them at once. To make the image not look too bogus many applications let you transparent the logo or text. Smartphone users need not to worry, Android users could try ADDWatermarkFree; iOS users can go with Photomarkr.


For adding tags on your video files, you can use your video editor and embed a small image or text on top of it; otherwise, most video conversion tools such as IMTOOVideoConverter let you add the watermark at the time of conversion as well.


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Manish is pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering but spends more time in writing about technology. He has written for a number of Indian and international publications including BetaNews, BGR India, WinBeta, MakeTechEasier, MediaNama, and Digit magazine among others. When not writing, you would find him ranting about the state of digital journalism on Twitter.


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