Best practices to protect your material online
A common question from Simplero users is "How do I prevent customers from taking my content and sharing it elsewhere?" The very short answer is you can't, as long as something is put on the internet, even if it is on a closed site like Simplero, it can (with the right tools and mal intent) be downloaded and shared by those who have access to it. There is however a lot you can do to prevent this, and to make the damage less, if your content is shared anyways.
In membership sites, when adding content like videos or audio directly to a product or list, there is a function to turn the download of the material off. We generally don't recommend this, as it is a nuisance to your honest paying clients, and it is not foolproof anyway, since anything that can be viewed in the browser can be downloaded one way or the other, even if we have removed the button to do so directly. Calvin did a great post on the subject a while back. It can be found here. Make sure to read it if you still want to disable downloads! Luckily there are much more effective ways of protecting your material without removing the handy ability for your customers, to store the content locally.
So, what can you do? There are 3 strategies, that I will recommend, they can be used independently, but work very well together.
The first strategy is to bond with your customers, tell them in a kind way, that the material is not to be shared, that you have poured a lot of effort and time into making it, and if you are to be able to continue to produce content like this, you need to sell your courses, not have others give them away. You can even put a link to a signup form for a great freebie related to the course in your membership site, so people can share that instead. Many people who share stuff actually do so, without thinking, because they think the material is great, not because they deliberately want to steal it from you, with this strategy you can make them think before they share.
The other strategy is to make the material less attractive to share and to make it obvious where it came from if it's shared anyway. When uploading videos or PDFs, always make sure to have your business name and logo, and maybe the name of the course on them, as you see in the picture of my video below. If you only have your info on a card at the beginning or end of the video, it's very easy to edit out, and even if it's not edited, people tend to forget what was on the intro frame. When you have clearly labeled your content, the person finding it online, if it should be shared, will know who to search for, to get more of your great teachings, and thus the sharing might end up working as an advertisement for your courses. I use OpenShot video editor for video editing, it's free, open-source, and runs on both Windows, Linux, and Mac, Windows moviemaker should also be able to do the trick.
The third strategy is to include value in your course, that is hard to share, like having a forum, where the participants can discuss and ask questions, have live sessions like webinars, zoom meetings or Facebook live session, where your participants can ask their questions live (access to these events are easier to protect), and make sure to mention the forum or the live sessions in your videos, audios or pdf's, so whoever might stumble on them if shared, will know they are missing out on stuff.
So to sum up:
- Ask people to please not share, put emphasis on the material being the result of your hard work, that's usually a lot more effective than threatening them with lawsuits and such.
- Clearly label your material with your brand, so people can trace it back to you should it be shared anyways
- Make your courses more than just the premade content, give them live sessions or discussion groups, and make sure to mention those in your material.
Teaching online is a fabulous way to reach and help lots of people, don't let the fear of internet theft scare you off.