Online courses are becoming increasingly popular in today’s education landscape, but with the popularity comes an increased risk of course piracy. Course piracy is the unauthorized duplication of a course for use on another site or system. This can happen even if the instructor has no intention of sharing the course with anyone else.
Luckily, there are some easy steps that you can take to ensure your work is protected from course pirates. Keep your online courses protected by following these six tips.
Get a Trademark
If your course is in its infant stage and only offered to a select audience, this may not be an issue. Once you start promoting and delivering the course to a broader audience, you must protect the intellectual property of your content.
To do this, consider filing for a trademark with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). The application process is relatively easy, and there are limited requirements for what must be included with the application. The main thing that your application should consist of is a copy of the course syllabus.
Timestamp your content
If you’re really concerned about your content being pirated, it’s important to time stamp your content. This will add a digital signature to each page of your course that will make sure other people can’t change or alter the content before uploading it somewhere else.
Including the date of the class and your name when you time stamp your course pages can help people determine that your content is authentic and it isn’t just a rehash or a replica of another course. You can use a solution like Filmora for this.
While this extra step isn’t strictly required, it’s a simple and easy way to prevent the possibility of piracy.
Show your face
You don’t have to show your face in every video in a course, but it certainly will help make sure people don’t pirate your content. If you are afraid that putting yourself out there could make you feel vulnerable, there are other easy options for protecting your content. Sites like Loom.ly offer a service that allows you to show your face in videos while keeping other features private.
If you use Loom.ly, the video will only be shown to the student if they watch on their computer or mobile device. This gives you peace of mind that your video is only being seen by the students intended to view it and not anyone else who may happen online, making it less likely that someone would use your content without permission.
Add a watermark
If you’d rather not have your face included in every video, you can enhance video files with a watermark instead. This works well when videos are uploaded onto YouTube or Vimeo. The watermarks in these videos can be difficult to erase and can help people determine that the content is copyrighted and protected.
Disabling Copy and Right-Click
Another tip to keep your content safe is to make sure that you aren’t giving students the ability to copy or download your content. If possible, disable Copy and Right-Click features on links in your course.
While this may seem obvious, it’s essential that you also disable these features in the actual videos themselves as well as any PDF documents that may be included in the course. There are many WordPress plugins available for the same
You can also use the “Disable Web Copy” option in Adobe Acrobat to prevent people from copying the content. There are plenty of other tools that you can download to help protect your course content, and these are just a few examples that can be used.
Keep an eye out for duplicates of your content.
It’s essential to keep an eye out for duplicates of your course material elsewhere online. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to use Google Alerts. There are several other tools and services available to help you out, like Copyscape.com, which keeps an eye out for copy and paste of your course material to catch any plagiarism attempts. You can also hire a DMCA Takedown Service provider to help you with the same.
These tips will help you protect your online courses from being duplicated or pirated. While these are reasonable steps to take, unfortunately, there is no way to completely prevent people from stealing your course content. The best way to keep your courses safe is by ensuring that you are consistent and persistent about protecting them.