Top 3 Steps to Prevent Other Businesses From Stealing Your Content

I was contacted by a client who noticed an alarming trend. Others in her industry were copying text from her website. And not just bits and pieces. Entire descriptions of her services were lifted from her site and being used by others. These are other business owners who are not only in the same industry but also in the same city as her. It’s hard to believe that people would do this but in reality it happens all. the. time. How can we prevent this from happening? I have 3 suggestions: 

1. Website Terms of Use. Does your website set out what a visitor to your site can and cannot do? Although legally not required, I highly recommend every business website have terms and conditions that govern how the website can be used. Of the many conditions to include is…you guessed it…the condition that the visitor cannot copy anything from your site without your permission. Check out your website terms to ensure that yours have this prohibition. If you don’t have website terms, you can purchase a DIY template that I have created or contact me to create custom terms for your site.

2. Disable copy-paste. It is possible to disable copy-paste on your site (i.e. you cannot highlight the text and then right click to copy it). You may need to contact a website developer to make this happen if you are not techy but it will absolutely help to discourage someone from easily copying your text. 

3. Copyright notice. Some websites have a copyright notice in the footer and others do not. Does yours? What this notice does is put others on…well…notice that you own the copyright in the content on your site and that it cannot be used without your permission. Now this notice can’t physically stop someone from using your content, but it may be enough to discourage them from doing it in the first place.

These 3 options can’t stop someone from copying your text. But they are 3 fairly easy steps that may discourage someone from “borrowing” your hard work.


About Amy Grubb

Amy Grubb is a business lawyer with over a decade of experience helping her clients make more money with their legal contracts. To learn more about her services, visit her website or email her at amy@grubblaw.ca.

Note: This article provides an overview for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.