Creating an eTextbook requires a great deal of hard work and resources. But their digital nature and easy accessibility over the internet make them susceptible to piracy, copying, and illegal distribution. For the publishers, it becomes important to take various precautionary steps to protect their content from theft, and ensure that it is properly copyrighted.
However, safeguarding digital content typically involves various techniques and multiple layers of security.
Related Read: 7 Ways to Protect Your eBooks from Online Piracy Now!
Here are the top 8 methods and technologies that you can employ to protect your eTextbook content before publishing it-
1. User Authentication
The easiest way to protect your digital content is by putting user authentication to it. Make it mandatory for students to provide valid credentials to be able to access the content. These credentials can include –
- Access Codes
- Answers to security questions
This kind of authentication mechanism ensures the tightest level of security for accessing your digital textbook.
2. Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Another way to secure your digital textbook is by looking into some trusted Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection software. It ensures that only the authorized people i.e. students and teachers with a valid license can access your content, and also gives you control over what they can do with it – for how many days they read your eTextbook to how many devices they’re allowed to view it on.
This extra control over your content offered by digital rights management software allows you to better manage it and also ensures that all your digital documents are protected against data leakage, piracy, theft, and misuse.
As a robust data encryption method, apart from preventing anyone from accessing your content without proper access, DRM software can also help your online work in several other ways –
- Controlling eBook distribution such as downloading and uploading works, accessing eBooks, and lending them
- Restricts the copy-paste feature, reducing the chances of copying or lifting the text
- Gives limited sharing options to users who bought the eTextbook
Although not a foolproof way to protect your digital content, digital watermarking your textbooks does help to an extent. It essentially makes it difficult for anyone else to take credit for your work when your name is marked across a document.
The key idea behind watermarking is pretty simple. By including a semi-transparent line of text, a logo, or a symbol into the content, you make your rights clear over it and ensure that it cannot simply be used without authorization.
Since these watermarks cannot be removed or altered, it makes them a great tool when fighting copyright infringement on the web.
4. Register Your eTextbook & Publish an Official Copyright Notice
Registering your eTextbook helps create a public record of the copyright over that content and allows you to take legal action in case of copyright infringement. Depending on your specific situation, you may either get copyright infringement notifications or you will have to keep tabs and check for any such occurrences yourself.
In case you encounter some illegal activity, the best thing to do is to get in touch with your legal team and explore your options in this regard.
In addition to this, publishers need to understand copyright laws thoroughly and protect their digital content as soon as it is published by having an official copyright notice. This will help you establish that the content you are publishing is yours and will also act as a deterrent for people with wrongful intentions of copying it or sharing it illegally.
5. Convert Your eTextbooks to PDF
Converting your files to PDF is one of the simplest ways to secure them. PDF is a popular document format that supports data encryption and gives you a secure approach to transfer your data over the internet. Further, PDFs also allow you to customize the user access level to specific preferences.
Another benefit of the PDF format is that it saves your files from viruses and malware attacks.
You can also secure your PDF files by including features that restrict editing, screen reading and copying to clipboard options. To prevent file sharing and unauthorized access to your eTextbook content, you can use any of the software tools available online that allow you to prevent hackers from editing and printing your files.
6. Create Multiple Versions of Your eTextbooks
Apart from security profiles to restrict user actions such as printing, copying, selecting the text, make sure to create multiple versions of your textbook in order to prevent screen capture and content leaks.
Some of the other things you can do here include –
- Disable the print screen key and other similar combinations
- Lock pages of the eTextbook and determine the specific actions the user can do
- Give limited period validity to the users
7. File a Complaint with DMCA
DMCA is an online service that helps you in ensuring that your stolen content is lawfully taken off the internet with the help of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Filing a complaint with DMCA in case of content theft requires hosting providers to immediately remove content that infringes on intellectual property rights.
8. Monitor Your Digital Content
There are multiple reverse searching tools available to help you track down where else your eTextbook or visual content appears online. Many of these tools are automated and are super easy to use.
You can also set up Google alerts to closely monitor mentions of your eTextbook by someone else. It is also advisable to take screenshots (with the date and time mentioned) of the pirated content to preserve the evidence of piracy. You can then send a request to the service provider’s DMCA agent to take appropriate action.
How to Create a DRM Protected eBook and Distribute it Securely
The publishing industry today is struggling with an ongoing issue of lost monetization opportunities and revenue losses due to online content theft and piracy. Securing their digital textbook content is critical for publishers to effectively navigate this situation.
From putting strict authentication in place to watermarking content and restricting access to multimedia content, publishers need to approach content security in a layered manner, employing various techniques and approaches.
While you definitely cannot prevent someone from retyping your entire content from scratch, the entire point of applying security measures to an eTextbook is to make stealing and copying the content as difficult as possible.
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