How to protect my copyright over website content

No-one is ultimately protected from website content theft. Every kid with knowledge in HTML and PHP would succeed in stealing your web-site's articles. Of course, if you have put the (c) sign, there is copyright over the content. But the difficulties come when you undertake legal actions to protect this copyrighted content. Here in Bulgaria, the litigation proceedings are not so clear. I mean that the court will take into consideration each document evidencing who is the author of the content. While this is fairly easy with web software applications, the theft of website content is not so easy to prove. Software applications are not so dynamic and one can register a patent over them. The latter registration will give the author a certificate which, subsequently can be used in court as an evidence for copyright.

On the other hand, websites are large pieces of text code and text content.It is difficult to register a patent over the site's structure and code, as they are so dynamic that they will differ the next week after obtaining the patent certificate.

A good practice is to take advantage of a service called "digital certification of date and time". In Bulgaria each company which is duly licensed by Communications Regulation Commission ("the Provider") to issue digital signatures (digital private and public key) offers the so called "digital certification of date and time".

So if you want to secure your work and copyright over a website content, you can use this method. It is simple and gives you opportunity to prove your copyright over a whole website.

All you need to do consists of four simple steps:

  1. You must acquire a "digital signature" from the Provider
  2. Archive your whole website (eg. zip, rar, tar.gz or something else)
  3. Apply your digital signature to the archive file
  4. Use the TimeStamp service of the Provider (certification of time and date) over the digitally signed archive
If you follow the steps above you will have evidence to present before court. It will prove the following:
  • As of the date of TimeStamp-ing the content, you have had the possession over that archive, and its contents.
  • You have the copyright over the content because it has the (c) sign and your name (or company name) included as well as your digital signature applied.

Having this evidence on your side, your chances to win a copyright lawsuit in Bulgaria increase. Of course it depends on the lawyer you choose too. The more technical knowledge he has, the more your chances to win the case grow.

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