Business Owners Beware: How to Protect your Intellectual Property

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An Epidemic of Digital Crime

In 2022, digital crime is on the rise. As technology advances, unfortunately, not all are using it for good. This year, cyber security and Copywrite infringement are the talk of the trade as cases of hacking, online scams, and website cloning are constantly increasing. Businesses worldwide are plagued with issues arising from their websites being cloned and their digital content being stolen.

In 2021, even the International Financial Services Commission fell victim to cybercrime with a classic case of website cloning and subsequently published this statement to alert the public. Not only is copying digital content unethical, but it is also illegal in Belize and many other nations. The good news is, that Belize has become a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization and has implemented a Copyright Act which renders the unauthorized copying of any written work illegal.

The Infringement of Intellectual Property – What are the Implications?

If you are following a solid marketing strategy, your website is being used to advertise your business and increase revenue. So what does it mean for your business when your website is cloned or your digital content is stolen? What are the implications? Unfortunately, websites are often cloned for the purpose of phishing scams or damaging the reputability of a business. Ultimately, this can cause a business to lose the loyal clientele they have worked so hard to obtain. Since most businesses are not tracking their digital media, they may not even be aware when a violation occurs and their digital property is stolen.

Did you know? When you create your business website from a template (such as Wix or WordPress) you are giving up your rights to originality. You are agreeing to use a website design that everyone else has access to, making it that much easier for an attacker to completely copy your website design.

Be Proactive in Protecting your Intellectual Property

In this article, we’re offering simple steps to stay on the alert and ensure that your website and digital content have not fallen victim to a digital crime. Also, find out what to do if your website has been cloned or digital property has been stolen.

Being proactive is imperative in protecting your intellectual property.

  • Be sure to display copyrights on your website.
  • Instead of using a website template, opt for a completely custom website design.
  • Set up a Google alert to scan for your business name or site name/title, which will allow you to be notified when your digital property shows up on another website.
  • Use Copyscape to protect your website by checking for new copies of your web pages. 

Before Taking Action, Begin Documentation:

If your website has been cloned, or your digital property has already been stolen, all hope is not lost. There are some measures you can take to regain control of your digital property. But first, it’s crucial to begin documenting your case.

  1. Take note of the date you first noticed the stolen or copied content.
  2. Gather screenshots of both sites and take note of each site’s URL.
  3. Determine exactly when the website, page, or content was copied. Thanks to tools like archive.org, you can determine exactly when the violation took place! This evidence will be absolutely necessary to move forward, particularly if the case escalates to requiring legal action.

The Next Steps: Reclaiming What’s Rightfully Yours

  • Contact the owner directly by finding the website owner’s name, email, or telephone number.
  • Send cease and desist letters to the website owners requesting the copied content, pages, or website be removed.
  • Report the crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
  • If a copy of your website is being used to imitate your business and steal your clients, report the phishing to Google.
  • Contact the website hosting service to inform them of the situation and request that the site be removed. If there is proof asserting your claim, most hosting companies will remove the copycat website. Here, it is imperative to proof of infringement to verify that the content appeared on your site first before appearing on the copied website.
  • Report any and all pages containing stolen content to search engines such as Google and Bing, requesting that these pages stop being listed in the search results.
  • Escalating to a lawsuit should be a last resort

If you have been a victim of website cloning or digital theft, contact our team today to get started on your recourse. If you are ready to get started on a completely customized new website for your business, schedule a free consultation today to get started.

Tell Your Story. Reach More People. Close More Sales. Allow our TAS Belize to support your business growth with custom website design and a variety of digital solutions.

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