If you have created an eCommerce extension or an online tool, you can protect it from copyright infringement through patents.
This can also work for software, such as text-based HTML code, as well as website design.
Copyright also protects your creative content, including photographs, written material, music, graphics and videos.
Copyrighting Your Content
When it comes to your business, there are certain elements you will want to keep protected, such as your name, logo, domain name, and product name. For these, you should register them as trademarks as industrial design law covers screen displays, computer-generated graphics, and web pages.
Once trademarked, you can brand your logo, name, and content with a trademark symbol, the copyright owner’s name, and the year when it was first published in order to highlight to any would-be thieves that the work is protected.
It isn’t necessary to register a trademark to obtain copyright protection, but it’s a good step to take, just for some extra coverage.
For the ‘hidden’ parts of your website, like source code, algorithms, technical descriptions, programs, logic flow charts and database contents, these are protected by trade secret law. This means that, if they’re not publicly disclosed, and you have taken reasonable steps to ensure they are kept confidential.
Protecting trade secrets
If you want to make sure your hidden assets are properly protected, you should make sure you have a staff handbook for your employees, outlining your business practices and procedures.
Within this document, you should also include a section on copyright and confidential business information. This will make it crystal clear about anything that should be kept confidential to the business. It should also feature a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement that protects your intellectual rights and property.
A lot of internet users assume material on websites can be freely used anywhere. This is not the case so make it clear to all visitors to your website by adding a section or page that details your agenda. This should include a statement making it clear that you will prosecute anyone who breaches your copyright.
What if someone else developed your website?
Often, businesses will look to a 3rd party to build their website for them, just like many of Laser Red’s clients have done (smart cookies!). This is a perfectly legal practice, but some people are worried that this means they won’t own the website once it’s done. Thankfully for Laser Red’s clients, we ensure that all rights to website assets are attributed to the client.
However, there are a few areas of 3rd party construction you should be aware of;
1) If your eCommerce website was developed by one of your employees during work time, then you, as the employer, would own the website’s copyright. This would automatically be the case unless you agreed otherwise with your employee and should be stated in your business handbook or contract.
2) When you outsource your website build to an outside company, they may have different rules. You should never assume that you automatically own the IP rights to your website if you use a third party. Many independent contractors own the IP rights of the works they have created, even if you have paid for the work.
3) To ensure the work is yours once it is complete, you must have a written contract clarifying who owns the copyright. This contract can include elements such as images, hyperlinks, and text coding.
If you have any concerns about the copyright of your website or assets, please get in touch with Laser Red and we can help you get things sorted.