How To Protect Your Digital Products From Copycats Like a Lawyer

March 26, 2024

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Who remembers that scene in Princess Diaries where Mia continuously runs across the grass at the consulate where her grandmother lives and she’s met with the “GET OFF THE GRASS” demand over a loudspeaker?

Tbh, that scene lives rent free in my head.

You might be wondering what in the world Princess Diaries has to do with law…

Well, seemingly nothing, but that scene specifically is kind of like what happens when you display a copyright notice on your website and other digital products.

Because here’s the thing: imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery in other parts of life and business, but it’s NOT when it comes to someone copying your digital products! When someone swipes what you’ve created, it feels less like flattery and more like stealing. 

If you’re selling digital products online (or even if you just have one as a lead magnet in your sales funnel), it’s only a matter of when – not if – copycats will pop up and try to profit from your creations. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.

Putting would-be copycats on notice early can dramatically decrease the likelihood of them stealing your stuff.

It’s the “get off the grass” version of business that sets up a strong defense early on!

Everytime the topic of copyright comes up in my legal world, however, people aren’t always clear on where they need it. 

They often know what it is and what it does, but where exactly a copyright notice should go tends to trip people up, so in this blog post you’ll learn why a copyright notice is needed on ANY digital product that you create along with a few examples.

Why A Copyright Notice Is Needed On ALL Digital Products

It’s a pretty well known fact that if you have a website, then at the bare minimum you need to include a copyright notice in the footer of that site. Any website developer or designer will tell you this and even if you’re new to the online world, it’s a pretty common thing to know. 

But what’s not so common knowledge? Including a copyright notice on ANY digital product that you create!

This is something that I see so many creators skipping and it makes me cringe every single time because if you fail to include a copyright notice on your creations, you don’t have as much of a leg to stand on if (or when) someone steals or copies what you’ve done. 

For example, let’s say you spend months creating a course for your business, you sell it to your email list and a few weeks later you realize that one of your students is using the course contents to create something of their own.

That would be the WORST feeling, right?! 😞

Well, IF you include a copyright notice on ALL of your course materials, including workbooks, slide decks, training videos and additional course resources, you would have the ability to claim copyright infringement and go after the student legally. 

By providing a copyright notice on your assets, you are essentially telling someone, “hey! I own the rights to this content and if you steal or copy it, you’re doing so willfully.”

In the legal world, we call this willful infringement, which really just means that if someone does steal your copyrighted content, YOU are entitled to greater damages – aka you can take real legal action and it could cost them big time.

For this example, WITHOUT including that copyright notice on your course materials, proving that the person stealing your work knew it was yours and not in the public domain or “fair use” now becomes another element that you have to prove: meaning more work for you. 

So, with all of this in mind, let’s break down where exactly you should be including a copyright notice as an online business owner and digital creator. ⬇️

Where To Include a Copyright Notice (WITH Examples)

I’ll be honest, this list could go on for days because as online business owners and digital creators, we all have unique creations, but generally speaking, here are 4 common places that you want to ensure have a copyright notice in order to protect yourself from copycats:

  • Your website and website content 

As mentioned earlier, this one is usually pretty well known, but just in case your website doesn’t have a copyright notice, I wanted to mention it here. 

This should live in your footer and look something like this:

  • Lead magnets, free guides, downloadable PDFs, templates, etc.

Have a freebie in your business that your audience can download? Maybe it’s a free guide or downloadable of sorts? Call it what you want, but I’d be willing to bet that ALL business owners have at least one of these.

After all, it’s how we’re taught to grow our email list, so it’s often one of the first things that business owners create. If you have a version of ANY of these in your business, make sure that they ALL have a copyright notice on them. 

For my business, every single template in the TBL contract shop has a copyright notice on it, as well as all of my freebies like this one:

  • Books and downloadable E-books

Remember in elementary school when our teachers would scare us about plagiarism? Turns out they were onto something! I vividly remember talks of plagiarism in school being among my first “legal” lessons and they always pointed out the copyright notice in the textbooks. 

If you were tasked with writing an essay, it was made very clear that you CAN’T directly copy the text from a book without sourcing it. 

Well bestie, it’s no different now that you’re an adult! Copyright and plagiarism are real and have real consequences, so if you’re an author or have an e-book of any sort, make sure that you take the right precautions and implement a copyright notice in your works! 📚

  • Course or membership materials, such as slide decks and workbooks

Hey course creator, I’m looking at you for this one. 👋

There’s a lotttt that goes into creating digital products, such as courses and memberships, so what a shame it would be if you spent all of that time creating, just for someone to steal the contents and sell them as their own. 

Unfortunately, this happens way too often, which is why displaying a copyright notice on ALL of your materials, including slide decks, workbooks, any other digital resource that your students or members can download is a MUST!

For a deeper dive into how to protect your digital course beyond just copyright, CLICK HERE!

Essentially, any type of digital asset or digital product that’s paid OR free needs to have a copyright notice on it And when in doubt, always include one because you’d rather be safe than sorry!

How To Implement a Legit Copyright Notice In Your Business

So, now that you know why a copyright notice is needed on your digital products and where exactly to include them, you’re probably wondering HOW. 

Good news? It’s stupid simple! Like for real, there’s really no excuse for business owners to skip this. 

But because I know that legal things like this can be a little confusing to navigate, I created a FREE Copyright Notice Template that you can download and implement as soon as today.

When you download your copy, you’ll receive a long-form copyright notice that can be copy and pasted (yes, I’m giving you permission to actually COPY it 😉) onto any of your digital products.

CLICK HERE to get your copy now!

Here’s to protecting all of your digital assets from copycats just like a lawyer would. 🥂


If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hey I’m Amber – not a regular lawyer, but a cool lawyer that helps online business owners sell without getting sued. 

If you like what you just read and want more cool lawyer things in your life, here’s a few ways to stay connected:

Let’s be pen pals! Subscribe to my email list to receive all of my best biz tips and behind the scenes goodies to keep your business bringing in sales (legally of course).

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And if you’re in need of legal resources that you can ACTUALLY understand? Here’s a few ways I can help:

Step into TBL’s free library of legal resources for creative entrepreneurs where we throw open the doors and spill the tea on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to legal protection, systems and sales.  

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Need something else? Send me a DM! Always happy to lend a legal hand when I can.

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