Someone Stole Your Course, But Does It Matter?

As soon as your course starts to become popular you can rest assured that someone will figure out a way to steal it – but should you care?

Security and content protection are two topics that we get asked about quite a bit. It is something I have discussed this a few times before as well, but more so from the technical standpoint.

I want to briefly talk about this concept from a business perspective.

Listen, I get it: seeing your hard work ripped off is painful as a business owner. I remember the first time I saw LearnDash being shared in blackhat communities. It was demoralizing and infuriating at the same time. We spent countless hours sending DMCA take-down notices to these sites.

But here’s the thing. After some time we realized that it was a battle that will both never end and never be won. All that energy we were spending could have been put elsewhere.

So, we stopped trying to combat it – and our business continued to grow.

Create Something Worth Stealing

Someone once told me that if you can create a product worth stealing then you know that you’re doing something right.

I think this is absolutely true.

If someone rips off your course and is sharing it then take it as a compliment. It means that there are people out there who are truly interested in it. Also, pat yourself on the back as it also means your marketing efforts are paying off.

It’s up to you whether you want to go about sending DMCA take-down notices. Perhaps it makes sense in some cases, that’s your call as a business owner.

Now, the one thing that you should be protective of is your trademark and brand. Stealing content is one thing but if you find that someone is leveraging your brand name as well to promote (and perhaps even resell without permission) your course then you need to put an end to that quickly.

I’ll give you an example.

Earlier this year one of our customers informed us that someone was promoting our products by using Google ads and in their ad they used our registered trademark. That wasn’t okay and we put an end to it by working with Google’s trademark department.

You need to be protective of your brand as it’s how people identify with you. If you find that your brand and trademarks are being infringed then you should absolutely take the necessary steps to protect them.

In the end owning a business means you get to meet all kinds of different people and encounter various situations – the majority of these experience will be rewarding. But, every now and again your business will encounter some not-so-pleasant challenges. Seeing someone steal your course content will be frustrating, but also remember that in its own way it is also validation.

Author

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Twitter | LinkedIn

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