How do you protect your work on the internet?

"Protect your work from piracy"

As a creator, the great thing about the internet is that you can upload your work and share it with people around the world for very little cost. However, people can illegally download and copy your work without your permission. This is why it is very important to protect the words, images, music and films you put on the internet.

This information will be helpful if you use the internet in the following ways:

  • showing your artworks on websites
  • sharing your videos or films
  • using other people’s words, images and information in your own work
  • blogging or writing your thoughts, comments or ideas on websites
  • communicating with friends on social networking sites.

The main legal issues on the internet are copyright and piracy.

Copyright

Copyright is about important rights that only you have in your work.

Other people need your permission or licence to do those things.

Copyright is important because it:

  • protects your work against use by others without your permission
  • allows you get money for your work.

Copyright laws protect electronic versions of your work as much as your ‘real’ or material work such as painting or photograph.

Piracy

With digital technology, it is very easy for people to copy or use other people’s work without permission. This happens a lot with music or film on the internet.

Everyday, people use the internet to copy and share other people’s work for free, and without permission. This is called piracy.

Protecting your work

There are ways to protect material you upload on the internet from being used without your permission:

To protect your visual art, you can:

  • add a visible watermark to your images before uploading them
  • disable right-click
  • add invisible information to your images online
  • tell users that a high quality version is available to buy
  • upload low-resolution images only — no more than 72dpi
  • put the © notice with your name next to your work.
  • give people the possibility to contact you — for example, by showing your email address. It will be easier for someone to ask for your permission to use your work.

To protect your music, you can:

  • hide information into your music — this is called digital watermarking
  • upload low-quality recordings only — a compression rate less than 49 kilobits per second
  • tell users that a high quality version is available to buy
  • attach the © notice with your name next to your recordings
  • give people the possibility to contact you — for example, by showing your email address. It will be easier for someone to ask for your permission to use your work.

To protect your film, you can:

  • hide information to track your film — this is called digital fingerprinting
  • upload low quality versions only — a compression rate less than 151 kilobits per second for video and 49 kilobits per second for the sound
  • tell users that a high quality version is available to buy
  • put the © notice with your name into your film
  • give people the possibility to contact you — for example, by showing your email address. It will be easier for someone to ask for your permission to use your work.
  • The internet is a very public place for showing your work. Millions of people use the internet, and have access to anything that you put there.
  • Showing your work on the internet can increase the risk of someone copying your work without your permission.
  • Australian copyright law protects most things on the internet, including your work.
  • It is illegal to download or share copies of images, songs, movies, or TV shows without the copyright owner’s written permission.
  • Put the copyright notice, your name, and the year to anything you upload, for example: © Name Surname 2010.
  • Only put low-quality versions of images, sound recordings or video on the internet.
  • You can protect your work by:

Summary

  • providing your contact details and how to buy your work – email is usually best
  • adding a visible watermark to your images before uploading
  • disabling right clicking to make it harder to copy an image

Legal Tips

  • Work out what uses of your work you will allow before putting any material online: for example:
    • can people buy it online?
    • can people download it?
    • is it available for private use only, or can it be used in public?
  • Make sure that people know you are the copyright owner of your work and what they can do with your work.
  • Use a search engine to see if other people are using your material.
  • If your copyright is infringed get legal advice and take action. Learn more about how to take action on the following pages.
Be Sociable, Share!