The appeal of the Google AdSense program is that no matter your budget, you can display your ads on Google and its enormous Advertising Network, while only paying for the ads your target audience clicks on.
Google AdSense isn’t very difficult, if you can follow instructions. Yet there are people all over the world, trying to make it sound more difficult than it really is. Take Copyright for instance.
Sure, all websites are subject to copyright laws! You simply cannot use someone else’s published work as your own. This applies to code, design, graphics, layout and content. Websites are no different than printed material in this regard.
Let me show you an example of just how confusing this can be. Websites are built using HTML & CSS code.
HTML is the language for describing the structure of Web pages. – W3.org
This code is made up of tags, such as:
<HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE> </TITLE> </HEAD> <BODY> </BODY> </HTML>
It would not be considered a copyright violation for you to use these tags in your website. Thus, the reason, anyone can create/operate a website.
However, it would be a violation of copyright for you to claim the tags as your own (I.E. You could not say: “I created/developed the HTML, HEAD & BODY tags and/or the HTML Code”).
It is also a violation of copyright for you to go to someone else’s website, and copy the HTML code used on their website, and put it on your own website (There is way more to it than this, but I’m trying to show how confusing copyright can be, as it applies to websites.).
If you were on someone else’s website and you copied their design elements, such as the CSS code or images, you would be in violation of copyright.
This is just scratching the surface of copyright and how confusing it can be. An article called “How using copyrighting Techniques can boost your Google AdWords Campaign” makes copyright even more confusing.
Google obviously realizes there is some confusion as to how copyrights are applied to websites and specifically, AdWords campaign. They have done a pretty decent job of making copyright information available to their users.
Google has published advertising policies, including Copyright Policies.
Google doesn’t just leave people hanging, trying to figure out how copyright applies to an AdWords Campaign. Google wants to make it as simple as possible, so they expand further on how they interpret and apply the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They include information on how to file an Infringement Notification for AdWords and how to file Counter Notification.
What makes “Google AdWords: Copyrighting” a Scam?
This scam is in the details. You cannot copyright just any term or phrase you would want to use in Google AdWords, at least not in a way it would hold up in court.
For instance, the term iPhone & iPad is already copyrighted by Apple. You cannot re-copyright any form of the words iPhone or iPad. Neither can you copyright a phrase or slogan containing the words iPhone or iPad.
So, lets say you are an officially authorized iPhone/iPad dealer. You may want to use the terms iPhone or iPad in your Google AdWords campaign, so people can find your business, instead of your competition. As an officially authorized iPhone/iPad dealer, Apple may provide you you the right to use specific terms in your advertising (Usage would be explicitly defined in your contract with Apple), but you cannot re-copyright it. So while you could use “Authorized iPhone Dealer” or “Authorized iPad Dealer” you could not copyright that phrase, because it contains terms already copyrighted by Apple.
To add further complication:
If you tried to copyright the phrase “Authorized Dealer” you would most likely get shot down, as the terms are too general. If, by accident, you were granted a copyright on the phrase “Authorized Dealer” it would get thrown out in a court battle for the same reason. This would be like trying to copyright the word “a” or “the” as your own.
In addition, if you sell or service the Apple iPhone or iPad, but are not authorized by Apple to do so, you are in copyright violation just by using the words “iPhone” or “iPad” in any marketing material, promoting your sales/service business.
As a side note:
Many companies, especially Apple, spend millions of dollars in legal fees, in an effort to mitigate unauthorized use of their copyrights. Anyone stupid enough to try, is stupid enough to get caught, which can lead to more than just a slap on the hand, as copyrights are enforced by the Federal Gov’t.
I will even go as far as saying, I will probably catch some grief from Apple and/or Google, just for writing this article. This website may even be put on a watch list as a potential violator.
Expanding on the Google AdWords Copyright Scam:
When you receive a solicitation saying something about “how using copyrighting techniques can boost your Google AdWords campaign” it is usually some type of program you have to purchase.
Why would you have to purchase this information?
Most copyright information is a available to anyone, for free – and if you have stuff to copyright, you need an authentic, genuine, copyright lawyer.
How the “Google AdWords: Copyrighting Scam” works:
Basically, ALL “how using copyrighting techniques can boost your Google AdWords campaign” programs/solicitations are going to tell you to do the same things.
- Register copyrights on words/phrases as your own.
- Use the copyrighted words/phrases in your Google AdWords campaign.
- Search for other websites using those words/phrases.
- Report these other websites to Google, as using copyrighted words/phrases owned by you.
It’s a bullying tactic. Any business, with a website, who does not know anything about copyright law and/or Google’s Copyright Policies will just quit using the words/phrases you claim as your copyrighted information, thus eliminating the use from advertisers who would be your competition.
The less people buying AdWords clicks of the words/phrases in question, the cheaper they are for you to buy and the more your ads will be seen.
As a side note: If you use this tactic, make sure you can accept the consequences.
- Google can ban you as an AdWords advertiser.
- Google could potentially sue you for lost revenues, as a result of your fictitious copyright claims.
- The AdWords advertisers you reported could take you to court over the copyrights you claim to have.
- There could even be legal issues around unfair business practices and unprofessional conduct.
Let me remind you again, copyrights are Federally Issued and Protected. This means it is highly likely any legal issues will be fought in a Federal Court. Think of the time it will take to fight a legal case in Federal Court. Think of the money it will cost you, to fight a legal case in Federal Court.
Are you prepared to take on these consequences and costs?
Stay away from companies selling any type of “How using copyrighting techniques can boost your Google AdWords campaign” program.
Copyrights, no matter how simple or complex, need the attention of someone with legal expertise. Research copyright law on official government websites and consult a qualified attorney.
If you think you can handle more of the legal responsibility and/or consequences, you could use a self-help legal service such as Copyright Registration by LegalZoom. At least, the services they offer are originated by people who work in the field. Just remember, self-help legal service companies do not share any of the legal responsibility if there comes a time your copyright is called into question.