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Copyright Protection for the New World of the Internet

© 2001 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Do we need copyright protection for our text on the Internet? Yes, we do. Many of us have placed our content online, and we will be placing more online.

At the Seybold Seminars in Boston during April, 2001, Thad McIlroy discussed the technological and societal factors affecting publishing. McIlroy suggests that, over the next 20 years, paper publishing will decline drastically. Then we will see a huge increase in publishing through digital media.

Shantanu Narayen, Adobe Executive Vice President, said that we can expect a future in which we are permitted to publish "anytime, anywhere, and on any device."

Now there's a daunting prospect. Protecting a copyright on printed material is one matter. How do we protect our copyright on online material and confirm that no one else is publishing our content?

BayTSP Offers BaySpider Technology

BayTSP is an Internet security firm specializing in tracking and reporting stolen content on the Internet. Here's how the process works for a BayTSP client:

  1. After receiving a CD or a floppy from the client, Bay TSP takes a "fingerprint" of the client's file, whether a Word document, an HTML file, a graphic, or a music file. That is, rather than adding a watermark which could be removed, the technicians record the "digital DNA" of the file.
  2. BayTSP spiders the Internet, sending out software sleuths to find any unauthorized copies of the registered content. The software tracks files based on their inherent uniqueness, their "digital DNA."
  3. When an infringement is found, Bay TSP takes a snapshot of the location of the file.
  4. The client views the results of the searches carried out for his content. If he sees an infringement, he decides whether he wants to take the next step.
  5. At the client's request, Bay TSP sends out an infringement notice to the violator and to the violator's Web host. These notices tell the violator that the material must be removed from the site, while informing the Web host that the violator must comply. This action applies pressure from two sides, because the Web host will close down any site displaying content illegally. (Only Web hosts in Russia and Denmark do not comply.)
  6. Finally, BayTSP provides the client with a Complaint-Ready CD containing everything necessary to start legal action against the copyright infringer. This CD costs an additional $150.

BayTSP will carry out the first four steps for up to 100 files for only $12 per month. There is a setup fee of $25 for 100 images, and setup fees for other file types are similar. Given that it is so easy for anyone to copy online content and place it on his own site, there is a great need for BayTSP services, yet the prices are quite low.

BayTSP claims a 99% compliance rate. Given that one of my clients found his business logo in use on a foreign site, it appears to me that using the BaySpider service is inexpensive protection for copyrightable material. You can see the general information at Call 1-877-922-9877 or write to to start the process for your files.

~ Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is an Information Architect who publishes both in print and online. Contact her at or visit her Web site at



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