Are you providing workshops, seminars, and training sessions as part of your business? Do you use your own original manuals, books, videos and presentation materials?
If you are using your own original materials, you should protect them from potential infringers – unscrupulous people who take your materials, copy them and redistribute them in their name. Sadly, there are infringers everywhere making money off the hard work of others.
Some of the steps you can take to protect your original materials are:
Register the copyrights for all your original materials
Copyright registration is voluntary. You own the copyright to your original works without registration with the U.S. Copyright Office. However, you cannot file a civil action for copyright infringement until you register the copyrights for your original materials.
In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled “a copyright claimant may commence an infringement suit, when the Copyright Office registers a copyright. Upon registration of the copyright, however, a copyright owner can recover for infringement that occurred both before and after the registration.” Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, et al, 586 U.S. _____ (2019)
Inform attendees of the law
Make sure you tell the attendees at your seminars, workshops, and training sessions that they are receiving your original, copyrighted materials, and that they may not copy and/or redistribute them. Then, have attendees sign a simple, written agreement not to take your original materials and copy and/or repurpose them.
Set down ground rules for corporate presentations, too
If you are giving a presentation in a corporate setting, make sure the corporation does not videotape your presentation and reuse your materials without your approval and participation.
You should have an agreement with all corporate clients not to videotape your presentation. Additionally, they need to understand that your original materials are protected by copyright and cannot be copied and redistributed — even if they have paid you for your initial presentation.
You spent a lot of time and energy creating your original materials. Don’t let someone else take them and make a profit off of your hard work and creativity. Protect your works and your business.