How to Protect an Online Course - Creative Law Center

How to Protect an Online Course

How to Protect an Online Course: Contract, Copyright & Trademark [Live Workshop]

The growth of online course creation has been phenomenal in recent years, driven by advancements in technology, increased accessibility to the internet, and changing attitudes towards education and professional development.

As a creative professional and entrepreneur, you benefit from building and offering online courses in several ways:

  • New revenue streams: Online courses generate income by monetizing your skills, expertise, and knowledge. By creating and selling courses, you can earn a passive income or supplement your primary income source.
  • Increased visibility and credibility: By offering an online course, you can showcase your expertise and establish yourself as an authority in your field. Increased visibility and credibility can lead to more opportunities, collaborations, and potential clients.
  • Personal and professional development: Developing and delivering online courses helps you deepen your understanding of your craft, refine your skills, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques.

Online Courses Need to be Protected

When someone steals or illegally distributes your course, it can lead to a significant loss of revenue when potential customers access the content and pay someone else.

Course theft can harm a your brand and reputation, especially if the stolen content is associated with low-quality or unauthorized versions of the course. Cleaning up an online reputation is it’s own problem.

When an online course is stolen or infringed, the you lose control over your intellectual property if there are unauthorized modifications, misrepresentations, or distribution of the content.

Having your hard work stolen can also be incredibly disheartening after you’ve invested your time, effort, and resources into creating a course that shares your unique expertise.

The Trifecta of Online Course Protection: Contract, Copyright, & Trademark

In this month’s workshop, we’re going to learn the best practices for protecting your online courses.

It all begins with a contract. A good participant’s contract not only protects your hard work, it manages your student’s expectations and leads to happier customers and better outcomes.

We’re going to cover what goes into a participant’s contract and how you can customize the downloadable form to align with your values, including:

  • the rules that participants must follow when accessing and using the course content
  • intellectual property ownership, including copyrights and trademarks, associated with the course content
  • usage restrictions that control sharing, selling, or distributing the course content
  • confidentiality provisions that protect sensitive information shared within the course.
  • disclaimers and liability limitations

Copyright is the next layer of protection for an online course. We’ll cover:

  • the differences in protection of audio, visual, and written content
  • the benefits of registering your online course content and how it is done
  • how to monitor your content to detect infringement
  • how to educate your students about the rights and limitations associated with the use of the course content beyond the contract language

Finally, trademark can add another strong layer of protection to your work and your reputation.  We’ll discuss:

  • choosing a distinctive brand name for your course
  • what it takes to obtain a trademark for your course
  • how to maintain a trademark once it is obtained

This workshop is being offered as a stand alone opportunity. You do not have to be a member of the Creative Law Center to attend it (members will have access, of course, and need not purchase the workshop separately). You’ll get an email with the Zoom link for Wednesday, April 19 at 1 p.m., EST once you sign up. You will have access to the replay for a year.

This is a live, interactive workshop using Zoom. You will be able to ask questions in real time, so bring your list.

Leverage Your Expertise, then Protect It

There’s an increasing demand for personal and professional development. As a creative entrepreneur, you can meet that demand for a global audience with a well crafted online course.

Remember, if it is worth creating, it is worth protecting. Learn how to protect your online course content in this workshop.

How to Protect an Online Course

About the Author

Kathryn Goldman helps small business people, writers, artists, and creative professionals make a living from their creative work by teaching them how to protect and enforce their rights. She is an attorney who writes these posts to help you be more thoughtful about intellectual property and the law as you build your business, write your stories, and create your art.