How to Protect Your Online Course From Digital Piracy4 minute read
Did you know that videos are the most pirated content on the internet and make up more than 66% of all pirated content?
Even though this percentage mainly includes illegally downloaded movies and tv shows, even course creators should consider protecting their intellectual property from piracy.
As an online course creator, you have valuable knowledge and produce content that people are willing to pay for, and by all means - you should!
But how can you protect your hard work and avoid digital piracy?
In today's article, we will share a few easy tips to prevent digital piracy before it happens and protect your online course content from being shared without your permission.
#1: Use Heights Platform's Secure Video Hosting
Heights Platform is an online course software that offers a secure space for your content and videos. When you upload a video inside a lesson, Heights automatically protects your videos so they cannot be embedded or played back anywhere other than within your program.
This means that the only people who can access your content are students who submitted their information, created their accounts and paid for your online course.
Furthermore, videos that you upload to Heights Platform cannot be downloaded by your students, they can only be played.
Heights Platform also protects your digital downloads by not showing any public or private URL for the download file, so students cannot share a link with others for downloading. You can also track what IP addresses have downloaded a product from a specific account.
These are some of the measures we take to protect your intellectual property. However, it is unfortunately not possible for any software to stop someone from using a screen recorder while watching a video, for example.
This brings us to other actions you can take to protect yourself further from digital piracy.
#2: Make Your Course Highly Interactive
A great way to protect your online course while at the same time offering a fantastic learning experience to your rightful students is to make your course interactive.
This means offering more than plain content (video lessons, text, PDFs...) but including more interactions with your students that only you can provide. If your course is highly interactive, then the students' experience cannot be duplicated.
Your course is worth much more than the video or content you upload. Features like a community, projects, one-on-one support, assignments and gamification tools like points and badges wouldn't be available to someone who watched a screen-recorded video of your content (as an example).
Hosting your online course on Heights Platform is the perfect and easiest way to create a highly interactive course and offer a unique learning experience to your students.
#3: Create Talking-Head Videos
Talking head videos are recording where you are showing yourself speaking, therefore showing your face and directly talking to your audience.
Other than using talking-head videos to protect your content, this kind of video has many benefits: first of all, it helps create a deeper relationship with your online course students. By seeing your face, it is almost like you are having a private conversation with each of them.
Talking head videos are also very engaging, as students can easily follow what you are saying by looking at your face.
Creating talking head videos is an easy solution that can prevent digital piracy, as someone might be less prone to steal your content when it clearly belongs to you, as you are the one talking in the video.
Together with showing your face, you can protect your content by saying your name or mentioning your brand name at the beginning or end of the video when appropriate. This can make it harder for someone to claim your content as their own.
#4: Apply Your Branding to Your Content
Another way to easily prevent content theft is to use your banding wherever you can.
Here are a few examples of how you can do this:
- Add your logo to your online course videos, digital downloads, worksheets and so on
- Make sure that your content is aligned to your brand style, image and colors
- Apply a watermark on your images or digital downloads
#5: Register Your Copyright
If you want to take this one step further, you can register your copyright A copyright gives your legal right over your original, creative work and allows you to monetize it.
In the EU and USA, copyright protection is automatically granted upon creation. However, even though it is not required, it is recommended that a work protected by copyright also include a copyright notice, which you can get by registering with your local Copyright Office.
For online course content creators, the work protected by copyright can include videos, images, graphs, texts, your logo, or entire files.
Registering your copyright is easier compared to other protections such as patents or trademarks, and it can legally protect you from digital theft while offering peace of mind to creators.
In the event of content piracy, having a copyright on your work can save you a lot of time and trouble in proving that you are actually the rightful owner of the content.
That said, in our experience, most creators don't worry about this formality, and you shouldn't let it stop you from getting your course out there!
What if My Content Has Already Been Stolen?
If you have evidence that someone has been sharing your online course content without your permission and you have not registered for copyright, try to look for any proof that shows you are the rightful owner of your content.
Maybe you have an email that shows the date and time when you built your online course, and you can argue that you were in possession of your content earlier than anyone else.
If you are using Heights Platform, you can check the IP address associated with each lesson view in your program by hovering over a lesson view on a student's profile, and the IP address will be displayed: you can use this to spot patterns of potential account sharing.
To be extra safe, as your course grows, you'll want to periodically look out for any bad actors and issue DMCA takedown requests when appropriate. Submitting a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown request means formally reporting a content infringement online.
As the online course business continues to grow, digital piracy grows with it.
That said, creators have found that while there may be one or two bad actors that you need to look out for, the majority of people will not try to steal your content or get it for free. Those that do likely wouldn't have paid for your content anyway.
There are many actions you can take to protect your intellectual property, and they can be as easy as creating talking head videos where you show your face, applying your branding wherever your can and making your course irreplaceable by including interactive elements such as project, assignments, a community, one-to-one time, gamification and more.
One of the easiest ways to secure and protect your online course content from digital piracy is to host your course on Heights Platform and benefit from secure video hosting, IP inspection and features that make your online course unique and impossible to replicate.Create Your Online Course Today