How time stamps can help you with copyright protection

copyright protection

The Internet has given companies and professionals the opportunity to share many documents useful for educating customers and fostering their loyalty through transparency. Unfortunately, any online content (but also in paper form) can be easily used, copied, and redistributed, in clear violation of copyright. That is why time stamps are a valuable aid to copyright protection.

What is a time stamp?

A time stamp is a digital document certifying that a given file or content was created, modified, or accessed on a specific date and time.
The time stamp is recognized as valid if it was issued by an authoritative source, generally called Time Stamp Authority (TSA), which uses a unique encrypted code to guarantee the integrity of the content.

Nowadays, it is possible to timestamp any kind of digital document or content: from photos to videos, from text files to PDFs, and so on. The most important thing is that the TSA uses an algorithm that guarantees the uniqueness of the code assigned to each file. This makes impossible to modify even a single character of the document without invalidating the time stamp. For example, a photo that has been timestamped can no longer be edited or modified in any way, otherwise, the time stamp will be invalidated.

The issue of copyright protection

There are copyright protection laws all over the world, such as the Directive (EU) 2019/790 of the European Parliament. However, when a company or professional discovers that their content has been copied or used without permission, they have to:

1) gather evidence that they own that content;

2) hire a lawyer to write a letter and request removal of the content, always if they have found enough evidence;

3) hope that, sooner or later, the other party will do what is requested.

The first point is fundamental but complicated: it takes time, energy, and money, and may not work. In fact, how can someone prove the ownership of content? This is the key point.

Imagine a graphic designer who is commissioned by a company to create a logo. He prepares 5 versions and shares a presentation file with the company which, however, does not accept even one. After 3 months, the graphic designer notices that one of his logos appears on the company’s website, without his permission. How does he prove that he is really the creator (and therefore the owner) of the logo?

The time stamp comes into play here. If he had timestamped the presentation with the date of creation of each logo, he would have had an unequivocal and indisputable proof that he was the owner of that content at a specific point in time.

Why time stamp is useful for copyright protection?

A time stamp is a valuable tool for copyright protection because it gives unequivocal proof that a content existed at a specific point in time. It also demonstrates ownership because it binds content to a specific creator. In the event that someone illegally uses or copies your content, you can use the time stamp as evidence that you are the original author of the work.

There are two ways to use time stamps for copyright protection. The first is to timestamp the original document when it is created.
The second is to timestamp each subsequent modification. This way, you can prove not only that you are the original author, but also that you have made subsequent changes.

In case of copyright infringement, the time stamp proves that you are the creator and owner of the content. The validity of this kind of evidence is widely accepted worldwide.

So, if you are planning to share sensitive or valuable information online, we recommend that you timestamp your documents before making them public. In this way, you will have indisputable proof of their existence in case someone tries to steal them.

Moreover, in addition to being useful for copyright protection, time stamps have other interesting applications. For example, your company can use it to keep an archive of your online content and documents.

Give your digital documents a certain date and time with Namirial Timestamp service.

Articolo precedenteStrong Authentication for e-Commerce and PSD2 directive
Articolo successivoThe relevance of Document Management for a company