11/22/08

LET'S TALK ABOUT IT Continues...


It's a great Saturday isn't it? For our friends on the other side of the world, we are posting early...

And as promised, it's time to introduce my very special guest blogger. I'm so excited! Everyone, please welcome:

RHONDA DOVE

Hi, Kaye. Thanks for having me here today.
A few days ago, the subject of protecting your thoughts, ideas and stories online generated some interest so I’d like to take a little bit of time to talk about some of the ways an author can protect their online content.

For many authors, the web is now a standard marketing tool to promote your stories and to maintain/grow your fan base. Whether it is stories already published or small samples of writing, just having a copyright logo placed on your site or blog will not stop a potential thief. So what tools are available for us to discourage such theft? Let’s begin by breaking down the topic of protection into two categories, those solutions that will mostly apply to websites and blogs and those that are better suited for protecting e-publications.

Websites and blogs are a composition of images and text most often displayed in an HTML framework. Within this framework, pieces of code can be placed that disable various options such as right click, copy, Save As, or prevent use of the clipboard via the Print Screen option. Many of these pieces of code are available free on the Internet or can be purchased for a small fee. What makes most of these options appealing is that very little knowledge of web design is needed and most sites that offer code will explain to you how to apply it to your website.

Tips for protecting your website or blog:

1. Use one of the free copyright services that put an electronic badge on your pages or entries. One of the perks of using such a service is the additional tools they come with. In most cases, such sites offer the ability to search the Internet looking for copies of your already protected content. This in turn gives you the author, the ability to follow up with the perpetrator and resolve the situation.

Possible sites to explore:
Copyscape.
MyFreeCopyright.com

2. Secure your website with code. Most often web pages use Javascript, to deliver all sorts of tasty treats for people browsing the web but they can also be used to deter unwanted behavior. These pieces of script each do a different function but a combination can be included on any single page for greater security. One of the best site examples I have seen is Hypergurl.com.

Hypergurl offers code to: Turn off right click for images.
Turn off right click for source code (text).
Disable copy and paste.
Give the illusion your source code doesn’t exist.

3. Include a link back requirement advertisement on your website or blog if some one decides to use your material. This will allow for greater exposure to your site while keeping things honest.

4. Use cascading style sheets to blank out content and prevent printing on your site (Web use only). This is a slightly more advanced tip, requiring that the author have control or someone who is capable of creating this feature for them on their website. What makes me include this option is its ease of creation and implementation. All you will need is a text file named ‘noprint.css’ with the following text inside:

html { height: 100%; }

body { height: 1px; width: 1px; }

.noprint { background-color: #fff; color: #fff; height: 1px; width: 1px; }

Then on each page, between the head <> tags include the following line:

link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="print" href="noprint.css"/

And inside the body <> tag of each page put: class="noprint"

The page will appear unaffected until you go to File, Print Preview and you’re text will have disappeared. This will not affect images but other exclusions can be added to the style sheet to remove those as well.

Thoughts on protecting published material:

1. Adobe Acrobat Professional PDF’s . Some publishers offer their product to readers by compiling the story into a PDF, which offers a stable, easily downloadable copy viewable in Adobe’s Free Acrobat Reader. Unfortunately, by default, Acrobat Reader gives the end user the ability to print or save as copy or text. But within Adobe Professional software, many of these utilities can be turned off or disabled as well as the menu bar being hidden if necessary. This particular option may not be within the control of the author but may be a question to ask during contract negotiations.

2. What other formats are available? Currently, the Adobe PDF is the most commonplace format for electronic publications. However, some sites offer their material with executable readers (Microsoft Reader, Acrobat Reader), so that the content will only open if you have the specific required reader installed. Others, though few, offer the product through Flash files or basic HTML pages but don’t necessarily allow printing or saving but don’t
always prohibit it either.

There you have it. I'll be here at around 11 am eastern time to answer questions. See you then.

Rhonda

If anyone has a question or needs any help later email me at:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If some of this sounds confusing or like a foreign language to you, it's because that's exactly what HTML coding is. But never fear, Rhonda will try to help you understand how to use this language and protect your own work.
Kaye

43 comments:

Debs said...

This is fascinating, I'm certainly going to take note. Thanks for the brilliant post and advice.

Suzanne said...

Great advice. Thank you.

dianne said...

This is wonderful advice. And html can be confusing. But it is worth it to learn about this. Great post!

Kaye Manro said...

Hi Debs- thanks for the plug on your blog!

Suzanne- agreed, it is great advice.

Dianne- it sure doesn't hurt to learn this. Writing is our business.

Come back in a while if you have any questions for Rhonda. She'll be hanging out here later today.

Cate said...

Wow, this is great stuff, Kaye and Rhonda! More writers should think in this direction.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Rhonda- Great info.

Question about the copyright line. Should it go on every page of the website, or only the first page?

Thanks,
Linda

Kaye Manro said...

Hi linda, good to see you. Rhonda will be here at around 11 am est and she'll answer your question then.

Stop back by in a while...

Rhonda said...

Hello everybody. I hope you do find this information useful but if there's something I didn't mention and you would like to know more please ask.

Linda Banche -

The copyright logo should appear on every page of your website. Unlike a book, in which all of the pages are combined in a single unit, each webpage of your site is accessible by itself.

For example, if you have a contest page, your fans may add a book mark to just that page so they can continuously return to check for updates. If the copyright logo does not appear on the page, its contents will be considered fair game. As the author and perhaps designer of your site, what date range you choose is up to you. Some choose to copyright year to year ( Copyright @ 2008 ) while others may do a two or three year span ( Copyright @ 2008 - 2010 ). Which ever you choose, make sure you update the copyright.

As a side note to this particular question, I was also asked about images. Images are one of the most commonly saved items from a web page and usually not taken with permission. If you do post pictures of your own origin, one way to make sure you still get credit for them if they are posted some where else, is to overlay a tiny copyright logo some where on the image preferrably so that it denotes where the image came from:

copyright @ 2008 me.blogspot.com

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Rhonda,

How do you do a link back?

Rhonda said...

A link back requirement is a simple statement posted on your site. It can appear any where on the site and on all or some of the pages depending on the nature of the material.

For example, you post a short, just for the fun of it, story on your website. At the end of the story could appear a line like the following:

If you enjoyed this story and would like to share it with others, a link back to this website (me.blogspot.com) is required.

In the future, if you should find your material on another site with out the link, then you can request for the material to be removed for violation or insist they put the link on. Because it's easiest, many would rather put on the link than get rid of their content.

Linda Banche said...

Most people are unaware that it is illegal to copy an e-book or cd and sell/give away the copies.

Would it help to put a statement to that effect on my website?

Cari Quinn said...

Very useful info, Rhonda. I'll keep it in mind for the future. Thanks so much! :)

Rhonda said...

Linda -

It certainly wouldn't hurt. It can be as simple as a disclaimer placed along with the copyright at the bottom of every page or you could include it on the page where you promote your stories.

Linda Banche said...

Thanks,Rhonda,

Is your blog, website protected with one of those free copyright badges? Can I go over to take a look?

Rhonda said...

Hi all,

There were so many alternatives for no right click scripts that I didn't post most of them but I found another one that works so sweetly that I wanted to post it here for you to use. The script comes from The Java Script Source. Paste the code between the HEAD tags of each and every web page. Users who right click on your website will be greeted with a message saying right clicking is not permitted.

I tried to post the code here but its restricted. You can copy it from the website above. Copy only this the part that starts with the beginning script tag and goes to the ending script tag.

Rhonda said...

Linda-

I do not currently protect my site with the copyright badge but if you look at Kaye's blog you'll see on the left hand side the copyright protect logo.

Kaye Manro said...

I have one of the badges too now. And I'm sure Rhonda would love for you to visit her site.

Hi Cari! Good to see you. Yes, this is great info. When you are ready, you can find it here or just ask Rhonda.

There's a good one-- Just Ask Rhonda... lol, Maybe we should start a new blog...

Angel Martinez said...

Hi Kaye & Rhonda!

Such good info, especially for those of us who are a little naive tech-wise.

I guess in the realm of e-pub, though, we're only as protected as what our publishers provide in the way of encryption?

Rhonda said...

For the most part that is true; however, when e-published you do have the copyright protection in place on your material. And the legalities of using published material are well in place so you could pursue an abuse with your rights well established.

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Rhonda and Kaye,

I got a lot to learn about HTML.

But I have this blog post bookmarked so I can refer back to it as needed.

Dianne said...

Hi Rhonda,

I too have a question for you. Could you explain what 'cascading sheets' are? Could you also explain in more detail how we can protect our work with this?

Linda Banche said...

Angel,

As an example of published rights for e-books, just this past week one of The Wild Rose Press authors saw a TWRP book on freewebs.

Our Marketing Director, Lisa Dawn, told us it was illegal, then she sent an email to them telling them it was a violation of copyright and to remove the book. They did.

Another example: Lisa also told us selling an e-book on a reselling website is a violation of copyright (they're selling a copy). If you see that on eBay or wherever, report it.

Rhonda said...

One more thing, I just tested the script on my blog page to be sure it would work and it did. So if you log in to your blog, go to Customize, click Layout, Page Elements, then click Add a Gadget. Scroll to down the list to where it says html/javascript and click the plus sign. Give it a title like no right click or type in   so it leaves a blank space, then paste the script in the window and save.

Kaye Manro said...

Good observation Linda-- thanks for sharing that here.

I'll let Rhonda answer the cascading sheets question.

But isn't an example found on The Wild Rose Press (TWRP) website? Isn't that what they use-- not for the e-books, but for their web pages?

Rhonda said...

Hi Dianne,

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are a way of separating out all of the formatting of a web pages elements (text, images, background, etc.) to allow for both cleaner code and to make it easier to promote a design change across the entire website.

There are several different types of CSS but the two most import media elements for calling css are 'screen' and 'print.' Using the screen element specifically tells the web browser that all elements of the css page are designed to be viewed on a computer screen. Calling the print element tells the web brower that when it comes to printing the web page to use a different css so that things like navigation bars, images can be hidden while text can be formatted into a better suited print format.

So how does this help you protect your content? You can use the print css to literally blank out or hide your content should someone try to print it out. You can even use it to display a message like this page not printable, etc. For example on my site, if you go to any page and click the print preview most of the text looks shrunken like someone scribbled it out.

Linda Banche said...

Yes, right click is turned off for this page.

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/publisher/

I did View->Page source
then right click on the page source window and "Copy" is grayed out.

Nan O said...

ok Sorry to be the end of the cow that comes over the fence last...but I am so computer dumb I have no idea how to even connect these things. I'll have to get a child to sit with me to put it in MOM language. I thought Java was coffee. Html Hot tamalies Mom Loves... I'm still at TGIF as toes go in first ... After reading all this I forgot my dang question. I know in order to promote things need to go on your pages like Myspace or a blog. so you should copyright before you blurb goes up? How do you know anyone has stollen anything???

Linda Banche said...

Rhonda, I just went to your website and tried "Print Preview". I like that. I've seen it on other websites and didn't know what it was.

Rhonda said...

Hi Nan O,

In the case of a blog or site its always a good idea to have the copyright posted in at least one location.

Also, when wondering if content may have been appropriated that's where search engines like Google come in handy. You can pop in distinct phrases from your site and see what comes up. You can also use services like Copyscape. They have specialized search engines that can look for the electronic blueprint of your protected material.

Dianne said...

Thanks so much Rhonda. This really does help. I went to TWRP like Linda did and I see what Kaye meant too. I'll have to try it at your website. Thanks again to Kaye for having Rhonda. This is so informative for us.

Kaye Manro said...

Hi Nan O, good to see you. I hope Rhonda helped with your question. If not, I understand. I'm just learning too. And we can all help each other out.

Glad Rhonda could help you too, Dianne.

Nan O said...

thanks Yes I will be calling on you Kaye. I am so blonde its a good thing they make hair color, right? Hats off to you Rhonda for figuring all this stuff out. I am so techno Oh no that I want a t shirt that says, I don't do windows and have a big red X over top a micro soft picture.

Rhonda said...

That's too funny Nan O. ROFL

Rhonda said...

If anyone else has questions in the future or just needs some general help please feel free to email me at theauthor@rhondadove.com.

Nan O said...

If you only knew.

ok. when putting up free stories, I am assuming a copyright should be put on each of them. its not good enough to have the poor man's version where you send the story to yourself correct? if this is on your personal web site.

Kaye Manro said...

I will place Rhonda's email address on the original post so everyone can get to it easier if they have any questions. K

Rhonda said...

As long as you have one instance of the copyright logo on each page, all content on that page is considered protected.

Unfortunately, the 'poor man's copyright' is a myth and there is no actual coverage under the U.S. Copyright laws. Read more about it here: U.S. Copyright.

Kaye Manro said...

So far, this has been a wonderful and productive day with so much information from Rhonda.

It is certainly not over yet, and anyone having a question will get it answered right here throughout the rest of the day.

I just want to pause for a moment and send out a big

*THANK YOU*

to Rhonda Dove for all the great answers she has provided.

Helen Hardt said...

Great information! I'll be sure to ask my lovely webmistress about it. Thanks Kaye and Rhonda!

Helen

Christina Phillips said...

Kaye and Rhonda, thank you both so much for a very informative post. Lots of things for me to check out!

Kaye Manro said...

Yesterday with Rhonda Dove was an exciting and successful day! We now have much info to ponder.

Thanks to all who commented and participated in this challenging subject.

A special thanks goes out to Rhonda for sharing her knowledge with us.


Kaye

Catherine Bybee said...

Maybe my mind is still muddled from camping, or maybe I just don't have a clue. I think I need to print this out and read it when I'm a little more alert!! grin

Thanks for the info. It tells me I have much to learn.

Suzanne Brandyn said...

It is very interesting. I have html codes hidden on my blog and webiste, where it won't allow copy and paste of content.
This does help, but it won't deter the viewer copying any of my work word by word, or even sentences. Thoughts cannot be copyrighted, ideas cannot be copyrighted,nor can titles.
Suz:)