Ownership – content, domains, accounts, do you really hold the rights to everything you do online?

Here we take a quick look at a couple of areas, and include a quick update on something we were talking about a fortnight ago – linking accounts.

Who owns your content?

It’s not unreasonable to assume that you have total ownership and full rights over all your original content that you post on the internet, but you might want to double check the Ts&Cs. Some sites such as LinkedIn explicitly reassure you that your content is yours and you have full rights to it, but there’s a sting in the tail:

…you own the content and information that you submit or post to the Services and you are only granting LinkedIn the following non-exclusive license: A worldwide, transferable and sublicensable right to use, copy, modify, distribute, publish, and process, information and content that you provide through our Services, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or others.

– our bold, because that’s quite an important little clause. Some sites go further and expect to be able to use others’ original creative content royalty-free. This from WattPad, a creative writing platform:

C. For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions. However, by submitting User Submissions to Wattpad.com, you hereby grant Wattpad.com a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the Wattpad.com Website.

This is all there in black and white, but how many people actually read it, inform themselves and consider the ramifications, especially the teen/young adult audience that particular site is aimed at?

If you’re posting original content make sure you understand what can be done with that content, and that you’re happy with the agreement (which, of couse, you’ll read in detail before signing up).

Registering a domain name

Easy peasy. Find one of the few remaining available domain names, hand over your £9.99, fill in a few fields and you’re away – or get someone else to do it and trust them to get it right. It isn’t that simple though and making common mistakes can jeopardise your whole business set-up.

To focus on just a couple, do you know who’s named as the owner of the domain your business relies on? Do you know who’s named as the administrative contact? These should be respectively the owner of the business and the person who is authorised and competent to act for you on domain matters – an in-house IT person or a trusted technical provider. Do you know if the contact email on your domain registration arrives at a live and monitored inbox with an established path to contact you,eg to deliver notice that your domain name is nearing expiry? This all sounds extremely simple and it is, but a good half of the owners of small businesses that we speak to not only don’t know the answers to these questions, but wouldn’t know how to go about finding the answers.

Consider this from Nominet:

We have always required domain name holders to provide accurate and up-to-date information in the form of a correct registrant name and postal address. Failure to do this means a registrant risks losing their domain name.


And that’s before a company registering a .uk is wrongly described as a charity and other mistakes that can legally permit your domain to be removed from you.

Help is at hand – in this as with so much else, OpenSure can see the process through for you accurately and quickly. We can run a check on an existing domain (this is standard for domains transferred to our servers) and advise on any domain queries you might have, such as false invoicing scams.

Using a third-party app to log-in

Two weeks ago we looked at why linking accounts on different platforms wasn’t such a good idea, and now this from Computerworld:

A new tool allows hackers to enerate URLs that can hijack accounts on sites that use Facebook Login, potentially enabling powerful phishing attacks.

All sorts of sites allow you to use other sites’ logins to log in to them, eg Goodreads. This is yet another example of stretching security rather thin, completey unnecessarily. Just come up with a unique login for your Goodreads account and snip another thread between your online identities.

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