What should I do if my website is currently under development and I want to properly copyright it once we publish it on the web?

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What should I do if my website is currently under development and I want to properly copyright it once we publish it on the web?

However, to my understanding copyright registration for online works only covers what was submitted at that time, and not future updates. Since my website is user based, and will have many blog and user updates, how can I keep my website protected? I read about registration for automated databases, does that apply here? If so, do I have to refile my copyright every 3 months to be truly protected?

Asked on November 24, 2014 under Business Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

There is a misconception about copyright: while registration *enhances* protection, it is not necessary to register to have copyright protection. Rather, copyright comes into being when an original work is created; creating the work (e.g. website text and graphics) automatically gives the creater (or the employer/customer, if the work is a commissioned work or one created by an employee as a "work for hire") copyright in it. You should should assert and police your copyright--e.g. have a notice on the website that it and its content is "copyright [insert owner name]" and take action (such as cease-and-desist letters) against anyone violating copyright, but you can protect copyright without the formalities of registration.


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