The entertainment industry, including self-promoted adult entertainers, is a highly competitive field with many establishing a unique brand in an effort to stand out and better market themselves. If you utilize a website to market your adult entertainment services, you have likely expended a considerable amount of time and money on cultivating your favorable online presence. Unfortunately, you may be risking your livelihood by not thwarting unscrupulous individuals from stealing your content, or in extreme cases, your likeness.
Your site is comprised of your original content. All posted content, from homepages and self-written articles to your photos and graphics, is at risk of being stolen and used elsewhere. Countless adult entertainers including escorts, massage therapists and private dancers have had genuine concerns over swiped content and photos.
Understanding the ramifications of stolen content and how to handle the matter should you fall prey equips you with the tools to protect your original works and images.
How Does Stolen Content Affect My Brand?
Public image is everything, and safeguarding against image theft is vital. When another entertainer uses your likeness for self-promotion, your target market may confuse you with him or her. Photo thieves have one strike against them when they meet clients because they are not you! Local clients may automatically associate your photo with deceptive business practices given their experiences with the person who lifted your image.
Even in cases where clients are not bothered by the photo deception, thieves are already employing poor business operations by swiping content. Chances are they are not going to be on the receiving end of positive online reviews because they are less than professional in their approach to doing business in the first place. Should you become wrapped up in these negative reviews, your business will suffer the effects.
Local competitors pilfering your content is a serious matter and can result in a public relations nightmare. While you may be operating within the parameters of the law, your photos could be used on sites promoting illegal activity.
Understanding Blog Scraping
Should you maintain a blog on your site to bolster your brand, your content runs the risk of not just being plagiarized on a local level from nearby competitors; you may also fall victim to blog scraping. Blog scraping, also known as blog plagiarism, is stealing Internet content to post on a secondary site. This can be done manually or with software.
When your written content is plagiarized, your search engine results could suffer if your content is deemed unoriginal by the search engine. Algorithms used by leading search engines for site ranking purposes are remarkably sophisticated but are an imperfect science. Original sources of material are usually ranked higher than duplicate content, but there is no guarantee.
What Can I Do to Protect My Website From Copyright Infringement?
Websites are copyrighted automatically when they are developed. The moment you create original content, it is inherently copyrighted, and you are the rightful owner. Ownership is easily stated but difficult to prove. For this reason, many register website content with the copyright office. The downside to this is the $30 fee covers only the material you provided a copy of at the time of registration. Added content will not be covered. When you are adding subsequent material to your website, it will not fall under the copyright protection.
Registering your site is a prudent practice if only to protect your photos and the main content of your site such as the homepage and about page. Should your photos be stolen, you will have legal leverage when sending a notice to the offending party to cease and desist.
How Do I Protect Myself Against Theft of Non-Copyrighted Website Content?
Copyright notices on page footers are a must. The way to do this is include copyright © along with the year the website was first published to the present year and your full name, to appear like this:
Copyright © 2008-2014 Jane A. Doe
This alone may not derail theft, so you should consider adding a disclaimer in your terms of service stating that any entity duplicating content via software or manual methods will be reported to their web host. This may not curtail blog scraping, but the legalese stands to deter the person who is considering copying and pasting your original content.
Steps to Take When Your Website Content Has Been Plagiarized
-Contact the offending website and ask the owner to remove the duplicate content. Be determined in your approach while reminding him or her you are the legal owner of the content in question, and insist you will proceed further should your content not be removed immediately.
-In the event your request is ignored, you must contact their web host. The site WHOIS allows you to obtain the name of the site’s web host. Contact the website host to report abuse. The likely result of this action is the host requesting you submit a DMCA complaint. The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) was signed into law in 1998 to protect against copyright infringement.
Once your complaint has been reviewed, the web host should take action against the site that has reproduced your material, resulting in a satisfying resolution for you.
Efforts put into your exclusive identification should be protected regardless of your line of work. Adult industry professionals often fear not being backed up by the law and are not proactive in protecting what is theirs. You’ve created a dynamic website promoting your enterprise; do not allow others to benefit from your expertise.
Disclaimer: This is not written by a lawyer, and you are reminded laws may vary in your jurisdiction. Information shared here is not intended to take the place of guidance from a legal professional.