The Internet opens up a broader horizon for all of us. Almost everything we need is accessible via the digital space. It provides more opportunities for us to express ourselves, share ideas, and connect with others. Just as the Internet opens up many great avenues for us, it also becomes a breeding ground for those who may infiltrate our systems and privacy and exploit our data.

The digital space also makes us prone to groups and individuals violating our rights to privacy and the ideas that we own. However, this does not mean that we should hole up and not use the Internet at all, does it? The key here is to be careful! Here are some tips for avoiding plagiarism, copyright infringement, and other forms of theft online!

  • Use watermarks

Using watermarks is the best for protecting your content, especially for photos or videos. Watermarks will be stuck with the picture. Anyone who wants to grab it will need to remove the watermark via photoshop–and even that will not be an easy task. For documents, add watermark to PDF files that you will upload to the Internet.

  • Password-protect your files

Another way to protect your files is, of course, adding passwords to them. Applying passwords will keep unauthorized users from accessing your files. Some passwords can allow them to at least read your file, and some would restrict them even from viewing it. Now that we rely heavily on sending documents online, password-protecting your files will keep anyone from grabbing your content if they do not have the password.

  • Disable copying or editing

Just because we are careful from having our content stolen does not mean we should restrict ourselves from sharing our ideas. One way to protect the content you post online is to disable anyone from copying or editing your content. You can disable copying or editing by embedding a javascript code or HTML in the pages of your post or content. Embedding scripts or codes on pages can be a bit complicated for most. You can seek help from web developers to add this feature to your site.

  • Warn users about copyright infringement

Some people have a misinformed notion about reusing content online. Some think that since you posted it online, it means you already give it away to the public, and you have no control over where your content will go from there. This thinking is not entirely true, of course. That is why you still need to remind your users or the public about plagiarism and copyright infringement.

Put up a warning about the terms and conditions for quoting, reposting, or any form of unauthorized use of your content. This post should include the repercussions and your rights should anyone steal your content. Inform them about your copyright and the proper process for asking permission and adding citations when using your content. Remind them that they need strict permission when reusing your content because it is a product of your skill, labor, and creativity. 

  • Leave personal imprints

Everyone has a distinct style, either when writing, taking photos, or creating art. It may be vague at first, but we all have personal imprints. When writing your content or creating designs, make sure to leave a few personal imprints–something that will tell that the work is truly yours. We may do this unconsciously, which will tell us a lot about our signature style of writing. These can be in the form of signature quotes, catchphrases. Some authors use the same words when writing. Most of the time, they do this on purpose to mark the writing as theirs. 

  • Use plagiarism or copyright checkers

It is difficult to scour the Internet and check sites one by one for anyone stealing your content. Difficult is an understatement. In fact, it is impossible to do. This is why you can seek the services of plagiarism or copyright checker and catching tools. As a writer, this allows you to either check if you have plagiarized others’ content and check if someone has plagiarized yours. These apps compare and cross-check your content with others.

  • Turn on Google Alerts

What other way to check out for plagiarized content other than relying on a widely-used search engine? Another helpful way to check for plagiarism is to use Google. Google has a system for monitoring stolen content or plagiarism online. Turn on your Google Alerts, and they can email you for possible plagiarism or copyright violations on the content you post online. Turn on your notifications about these alerts. You can immediately check the pages with similar content as yours and request proper measures regarding this. Google can delete the content from the said site. They can also request proper citation, depending on the actions you want to do.

  • Backup your files

Of course, you need to back up your files, even offline. Saving your original files will ensure and certify that such works are yours. Make sure you include the date. You can make physical copies or seek notary services to apply legal grounds on your files. You can also mail your content to yourself to certify the date. These will be helpful evidence in case it reaches the court, although these will not be enough. You need to register for copyright, too, for more legal ownership of your work.

  • Cite your sources

Maybe we can give the benefit of the doubt to some users that they really do not know the twists and turns of writing and borrowing ideas and content. This is especially when they are just starting with writing or creating content. If you find yourself in this situation, the key is to always cite your sources!

Choose only apps, tools, and cites you trust

Here are just a few of the tips for protecting yourself from plagiarism and/or copyright violations. The rule of thumb is to be meticulous always with choosing the apps, tools and sites that you will entrust your content with. Some tools can be a way for threats to infiltrate your data. Some sites may have weak protection for your content.

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