Online courses are huge right now, but creators have to deal with their online course being stolen. It is one of the most common questions from my clients. If you’re putting the course out there, there is no sure-fire way that it won’t get taken. But in this post, I am going to share with you the inside scoop to prevent it from happening and even if it does, there are consequences.

  1. Prevent someone from stealing your online course by adding Terms of Use on your business website

    So you have this website, and whether you know it or not, your website is your property. You can tell people how to behave on your property. By writing terms of use on your website, you are creating a contract between yourself and your site visitors. The site visitors have to abide by your terms if they continue occupying your website.

    To prevent someone from trying to steal your content, which may include your course, make sure you include information on how content on your site should be used. A good example is from Buzzfeed’s Terms of Service:

    “The Services may contain Content specifically provided by us, our partners or our users and such Content is protected by copyrights, trademarks, service marks, patents, trade secrets or other proprietary rights and laws. You shall abide by all copyright notices, information, and restrictions contained in any Content accessed through the Services. The trademarks, logos, trade names and service marks, whether registered or unregistered (collectively the “Trademarks”) displayed on the Site are Trademarks of BuzzFeed and its third-party partners.”

    This is only part of the intellectual property section of Buzzfeed’s term of use, but you get the idea. Buzzfeed’s terms also include a use license, which gives users permission to use their content in a specific manner.

  2. Terms of Use on your course sales page

    Since you have the Terms of Use on your website, go over to your sales page and do the same thing. Ashlyn Carter has an excellent license for her templates.

    “By purchasing your template or any product from The AW Shop™, you are granted one revocable, worldwide, non-exclusive license to the product(s) You have purchased. If you violate this license by giving or selling a copy of Our template(s)/product(s) to anyone other, or if you imply that anyone who gets access to our template/product(s) has the right to use it for his/her/its commercial purposes, We reserve the right to invoice you for the licenses you have gifted to others and revoke your access to our template(s)/product(s) permanently.”

    This addresses how many people can use her product, and what happens to you if you violate her license agreement.

  3.  Watermark your content for videos and/or use the copyright symbol to prevent someone from stealing your online course

    If you are conducting webinars, make sure you pop your head in the videos. This shows that you are the person who is instructing the course. Additionally, by adding a watermark to your webinar videos, your followers can recognize your videos and alert you if someone else is selling them.

    Last but not least, use the copyright symbol on all of your courses, e-books, freebies, and anything you give or sell to your clients/customers. This puts everyone on notice that you are the creator of the material. The copyright notice format is:

    © 2019 John Doe All Rights Reserved

    Will this stop everyone from trying to steal your course? No, because some people just don’t have a moral compass and think they can get away with any and everything. But every Regina George is hit by the bus at some point, and they will eventually see their day in court. After you read this, go to your website and content that you have created, and implement these strategies.

  4. Trademark the name of your course

    Trademarking the name of your course will not protect the online course content from being stolen. BUT when someone comes to you saying that your course name has been stolen, you can send a cease and desist letter. Then, the course creator will have to stop selling that course. Trademarking is insurance for your company name because consumers associate it with your brand.

    Want some examples of business owners who have trademarked their course?

    • Marie Forleo- “Copy Cure”
    • Marie Forleo- “B- School”
    • Amy Porterfield- “List Builder’s Lab”
    • Ashlyn Carter- “Copywriter’s For Creatives”

Want to make sure that you have the legal “stuff” in place for your online course? Fill out the form below and I’ll see how I can help.

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