Intellectual Property and Personal Data Security as an instrument to ensure the safety of your educational materials

Bringing all educational materials online exposed software's need for more intellectual property regulations. The course materials are among the most frequently hacked, and the numbers on stolen content are close to the entertainment industry. Having said that only,ine educational platforms have to ensure that they have taken all precautions to preserve the copyright so that their users are not afraid to generate new content. But even with this consideration in mind, you have to realize the reality. Once the content gets into the internet, it becomes at risk of becoming available without paying for it. The best you can do here is to introduce as many safeguard options as possible. So when we are talking about keeping your IP safe, we are really talking about how to add as many possible features to protect content from copying as possible.

From the functionality that can help protect your content can be the next:
  • Allow your users to add their own copyright policy. This would be especially useful for the companies that sell online courses or educational books.
  • Block the Copy functionality for your content. Yes, this is possible. This way anyone who wants to highlight the text and click Copy, won’t be able to do this.
  • Add watermarks with the name of your website or the author of the course. This would ensure that the photos and texts reused from the materials available on your platform will be referenced. Of course, some people can bypass it by cutting the watermark out in Photoshop, but this would require extra effort from them. And scammers are lazy people.
  • Timestamp the content of your users. No matter if your website allows the posting of text, image or video materials, it’s a good idea to timestamp it. It will become useful in case the duplicated material will appear on another resource and will help you prove that the content belongs to your website.
  • Make sure that there is non paid access to the content. It’s a common practice to provide the trials before users actually subscribe to a course. But another way of doing this would be to expose only several paragraphs of your content or the first minutes of the videos instead. This way the max that can be stolen is a few bits of your material.
Apart from providing the functionality itself, it is important to teach your users to use it effectively and make sure that they are not the ones corrupting their own content. Here the premade copyright template that your users can simply reuse would be beneficial, or the tips you leave across the website that they can refer to when they don’t know what to enter into the copyright field. Allowing users to upload their own watermark in addition to yours would provide double safety and customization. Teach them to show their face on videos, cause this lowers the chances for the videos to be stolen, etc.

Another thing that has to be taken seriously is Personal Data Security. Here the information you collect can be divided into two parts: information about children and information about teachers. So the natural question is: How to keep the collected data secure and what regulations do you need to be compliant with?

Education businesses are managed by the next laws:
  • FERPA, which manages the access to students’ education records as part of their educational process. Essentially it says that all children’s educational records belong to parents and when a child turns 18, he/she is the owner of those records. In terms of software, it inherits here the possibility to children or parents to opt-out from the public sharing of the info on their educational plans. So, automatic sharing of the pupil’s success can not be introduced into the system by default but rather should explicitly ask a user to enable this option.
  • COPPA – The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act regulates the access to children data by mobile applications, websites and games. An important item for software here is to require clear consent from parents for children under 13. Here it’s a good practice to pop out the alert, where you ask the user to indicate their age. If the age is below 18 then require the parent to confirm the child’s access by creating a separate user profile for the parent.
  • PPRA – The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). This act essentially says: if you want to have a survey collected from children, the results of it must also be available to a parent.
  • GDPR – a recently developed and popular document that outlines the principles of data security that all websites should keep to if they have at least 1 user in the European Union. Here you either need to limit access of the European Union to your platform, which also doesn’t guarantee that you won’t end up having one, or you need to be compliant. The compliance requirements are very vague but at the same time, the tech industry already elaborated the checklists for it. For example, the “I accept terms and conditions” checkbox should not be checked by default, another example, you have to tell users and get their consent if you are using their cookies (this is why you see those annoying banners on almost every website now), the user should have “Delete” button to remove their presence on the website and all related data. Password validation should require complex symbols instead of weak combinations, etc.
Apart from being compliant you also have to make sure that the 3d party services your website uses are also compliant. To assess all third-party libraries, plugins, and widgets that you are planning to integrate with your website. Can you make sure that all of them do not collect the personal data of your users? And if they do, are you sure the data is not misused or not distributed elsewhere? A good way to handle this is to ensure that their privacy policy clearly states that they do not sell the collected data. All ambiguous statements on this matter essentially mean they do sell it.

To sum up, these sections, make sure that you have the features that make it as hard as possible to steal the content and teach your users to apply those tools you provide to them for their content security. Go through all compliance and regulations checklists to make sure you adhere to the best principles of personal information protection and that you will not get fined on release. Always check the third-party services and APIs you integrate with your software so that they do not use your fintech outsourcing software as the way to collect and misuse the data.