How to effectively protect your works on the Internet

Posted on 14 Mar 2018

The unprecedented, unauthorized transmission and use of protected text, sound, images, software and works of all types on the Internet is one of the most threatening problems in the area of Intellectual Property. This can be considered to be a consequence of the fact that everything accessible on the Internet is easier to be copied because the costs of copying are low or sometimes no costs at all are incurred and this is usually anonymous. As a result, the owner of these works suffers from a flagrant violation of his intellectual property rights and, looking at it from a more practical view,he loses money from the rights of his works. In view of the above, the owners of works have to adopt a more aggressive policy in relation to their intellectual property rights.

Due to the high importance of the protection of their IP rights on the Internet, the owners of works, either as individuals or businesses, can take immediate measures so as to reduce the distribution of the above-mentioned materials, which are protected by copyright and related rights. As a matter of fact, every work is protected by copyright from the moment it is created. Thus, the owner of the work does not have to register the content displayed on a website. However, to make ownership of rights clear to users, every owner of work which is exposed on the Internet should clearly identify his content, either by placing a copyright notice or any other indication of his ownership.

Alternatively, the owner also has the option to inform users of any restrictions to access and use of his content. For instance, the owner may allow his content to be distributed under specific terms by clearly stating this next to the content.  In case the owner is a company, a strategy must be followed so as to ensure that its employees understand the company policies on intellectual property sector.

It is very important to understand that, pursuant to Cypriot law, the transfer of copyright is valid only if it is enforced in writing. This means that if someone only uses a website to upload something that he created, this does not automatically mean that he accepts that his rights are transferred. In any case, the owners of works must be very careful because the acceptance of the terms by clicking “I Agree” may prima facie be considered a valid acceptance of the terms and may cause undue problems for the owner.

It is worth-mentioning that probably the most important form of intellectual property on the Internet is the domain name. The fact is that, in our modern society, every business needs a website; therefore, the next step forward is registering a domain name. The procedure for the registration of a domain name in Cyprus is very simple. After checking the availability of a domain name on the online domain name database, an application is submitted to the University of Cyprus, which is the Registrar for .cy. The registration is completed in a few days. It is easy, cheap and highly recommended for all businesses to register their own domain name as it provides more security of their IP rights.

The content of this article intends to provide an overview of the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought on each particular case. For any further information, please contact Persa Costa at persa@kyprianou.com.cy