BULLETPROOF your copyright in your course for FREE with the copyright symbol.

BULLETPROOF your copyright in your course for FREE with the copyright symbol.

When you create courses or you present a workshop or you provide people with material that they can forward on, download, or print out, I strongly recommend that you use the copyright symbol. That’s the little C with a circle around it, what that does is it tells people that you own the copyright in that download.

Now, obviously you can’t put that symbol on somebody else’s material that you found, it has to be your own material that you’ve created and not copied from any other source. If you have a designer creating the material for you, you need to have an agreement with the designer that you own the copyright. It’s this symbol ©, then you need to put the date that you created it, and if you’ve updated it then you put a second date, which is the date of the most recent update. 

My new book “What is Intellectual Property?” For example, which I wrote together with my husband and business partner, has a copyright symbol. If I use any of the flow charts separately, I will put a copyright symbol just on that page. So you put the © symbol, the date that you first created it and then the most recent updates. On that particular book, it would be © 2015-2007, and then the name. The earliest date is really important, because if somebody else comes and claims that you’ve taken their material and your date is earlier than their date, then you couldn’t have copied the material because their material is dated after yours. 

So if mine says 2005 and yours says 2015, there’s no way I could have copied yours cause mine was created earlier. The most recent date is not so much a legal thing, Instead it’s if just for if people wanna show that the material has been updated, that it’s not old or out of date. You don’t need to put the second date, you can just put the first date if you want. 

To keep your materials protected it’s a good idea to keep a diary of what you created and when you created it, keep old drafts of things, keep them in a folder somewhere. Because later on if there is a dispute as to who created that particular flow chart and when it was created, if you’ve got all of your records, then it’s much easier for you to say it’s yours. 

As to where you put the copyright notice, normally I just put it on the footer. I use Microsoft Word and I put it on the footer of what I’ve created, then what I also do is I put a contact email address on as well. That’s not a legal requirement, but the reason I do that is because if somebody sees one of my flow charts or checklists and they want to come and speak to me or want me to register their trademark, then they can easily find me. If it’s just a blank piece of paper and it’s got the checklist on it, they’ll not know who owns it. 

Now if it doesn’t have the copyright symbol that doesn’t mean I don’t own it, but if that copyright notice is not there people are much more likely to borrow it, use it, modify it, and do all of the things they’re not allowed to do with it. It’s very seldom that people actually misuse something with a copyright symbol on it, and if it’s got a contact email address on it, it’s easy for them to be able to contact you. My name is Cathryn Warburton and I am The Legal Lioness.

Cathryn Warburton About the author

The Legal Lioness. Overcoming severe bullying as a child instilled in her a passion to protect others. As a skilled litigator, she indulges in her dream to push-back against business-bullies who target her clients. She is an international award-winning lawyer and patent attorney and 5-time published author. Cathryn bullet-proofs her client’s businesses and protects them like a mama lioness protecting her cubs. She makes sure that no business is left without access to affordable, easy-to-understand legal information. She does this through her books, proactive legal workshops and 1-2-1 legal services.