Every time we say “Get in the habit of registering your content!”, I’m betting a non-zero percentage of you small content creators roll your eyes. Who, me? you think. Please! I’m just a vlogger. I get, like, 500 views MAX. Who in the world would want to steal MY content?
Even though you’re flying under the radar now, that might not always be the case. Here are 3 solid reasons you need to get in the habit of registering your content.
Reason #1: You can’t control what goes viral.
Despite all the courses, books, and specialized ad agencies that claim to have a formula for viral content, any veteran content creator knows–why something goes viral is anybody’s guess.
Some bloggers will post religiously for years, and wake up one day to find that one tiny listicle has crashed their site with incoming traffic. Occasionally, people will get lucky out of the gates–posting a video or an article that, for whatever reason, catches the societal wave.
Most content creators will tell you their viral stuff is rarely what they consider to be their “best” stuff. Your taste and the taste of the internet aren’t one and the same.
Here’s why it matters: Let’s say you’re an illustrator with a little Instagram account. Not a ton of followers. But one day, you post a drawing that–for whatever reason–the internet suddenly LOVES.
If you’re already in the habit of registering your content, and the copyrights on your work are registered, awesome! But if not, manufacturers can (and will) steal your design, slap it on their shirts, and make a hefty profit.
Without a copyright registration, you won’t have much of a case, and you’ll just get to angrily post about it on social media and watch the t-shirt manufacturers make tons of cash. But with a copyright registration, you’re eligible for between $30,000 to $150,000 in statutory damages, plus attorney’s fees. So…which scenario sounds better to you?
Reason #2: Technology is always changing.
And with the changes in technology come changes in content monetization. The first YouTubers had no idea they’d be able to make money as YouTubers, and few people could imagine how they would. When Facebook got on the scene, nobody knew how Zuckerberg intended to turn a profit.
Monetizing content on the internet has been a brave new frontier, and there’s no reason to think it stops here.
Here’s why it matters: What if, in 3-5 years, Google becomes the standard video streaming service, intercutting Google AdWords-based commercials between your videos…except your videos are hosted on a pirated account? All of a sudden, that pirated account is profiting off your content in a way you couldn’t have imagined 5 years prior.
There’s no way to effectively predict the future–but if you get in the habit of registering your content once a quarter, you won’t have to worry about it. You’ll have a solid case and legal recourse, no matter what happens.
Reason #3: It’s an investment in your own success.
If you look at all your content and you think, “I don’t need to register this,” what you’re really saying, intentionally or not, is “I cannot honestly imagine this content ever being successful enough that somebody would want to steal it.”
That sort of mindset is bound to drag your business down. (And yes–even if you’re a once-a-week vlogger, you’re running a business.)
Here’s why it matters: For relatively little money–$55 every three months–you can put a bright red stamp on your content that broadcasts to the legal system, potential pirates, and yourself, “I think I really have the potential to succeed here.” After all, if you don’t think you have the potential for success, why even bother?
If you liked this blog post, check out my recent guest appearance on Copy That Pops, a podcast where Laura Petersen helps business-minded folks leverage the power of persuasion in their communication. In the episode, I talk about pirate psychology, password strength, and so much more. Give it a listen!