Piracy and Digital Rights Management: 10 Ways to Combat Online Piracy

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Online piracy is a fact of life for publishers ofebooks, but there are steps you can take to fight back against copyright creeps.

Piracy—the illegal downloading and/or distribution of copyrighted works, not swashbuckling on the high seas—is a sticky wicket indeed. With the advent of the Internet and other digital technologies, online piracy has grown into a significant concern for all types of copyright owners, including publishers. There can be no doubt that content piracy costs publishers and other rights holders large amounts of revenue. But exactly how much revenue is being lost is a point of contention. It can be challenging to determine how much publishers should focus on the piracy of their publications and articles and whether, if they go too far trying to protect themselves, they run the risk of alienating some of their best customers.

Unfortunately there is no “silver bullet” solution to this problem. While no publisher can fully stop online piracy, there are certain steps that can, at the very least, reduce the harm caused by piracy. Below are 10 quick and easy steps that any publisher can take to address the problem.

1. Register Your Copyrighted Work in a Timely Manner

Although you do not need to register your work with the Copyright Office for the work to be protected by copyright law, there are many benefits to doing so. Registration establishes a public record that the owner claims a copyright interest. In addition, registering the work within the first three months of publication or prior to an infringement enables you to obtain your attorney fees and “statutory” damages of up to $30,000. Since you can’t sue an infringer in federal court without first registering the work with the Copyright Office, you might as well get it done at the outset. The application process is inexpensive and easy.

2. Place Copyright Notices On Your Publications

As is the case with copyright registration, placing a copyright notice on your work is not necessary. However, including a copyright notice on your works is quite easy to do and provides several benefits, such as alerting the world that a copyright is claimed in a work and you are the owner. Placing a proper copyright notice on your work also prevents pirates from claiming to be innocent infringers, which will result in a higher damage award should you decide to sue the pirate.

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