How to protect your info-course from stealing

How to protect your info-course from stealing

Xoxo, Reznik here. Today we are going to learn how to build a perfect network.

So, it finally happened. You have finally made up your mind to develop your own info-course. Let’s suppose that you really possess some consecrated knowledge or perhaps you’ve reached the very core of a certain issue. And this is not another walkthrough on how to get the first million by selling a thousand tickets to a seminar for a thousand dollars. You long for sharing your knowledge with the world and surely want to earn your bread with some very good butter. But you are overcome with fear. How can you prevent your knowledge from being stolen? Today I am going to tell you about a few reliable security methods that will help you not become broke.

Imminent evil

TL;DR: the real answer to the question in the header is: “You don’t”.

First of all, make peace with the fact that the good ‘as is’ product will definitely be stolen. This is the fundamental truth, you can’t argue with that. If nobody did it, you course is bad. That is exactly why you should build it in the way you will still have profit, even if it has been stolen.

There is a method you can’t protect yourself from. You course can be stolen on the idea level, by creating something alike. This is probably the only thing we can’t fight, so let’s consider it the imminent evil.

There are mighty powers to fight everything else.

The power of teaching

After an honest talk about the inevitability and a punch like this, the only bright thought that might have visited you is:

If it’s all so bad, maybe we should deny the idea of creating such info-course?

And you will be absolutely right! The best protection would be not making ready, ‘as is’ info-courses. Online-trainings and webinars is a choice for you. ‘As is’ part of the course should be consisted of additional materials, which are useless without you, as a team of teachers.

Sure thing, this option is not for us, because we want to have maximum profit with minimum energy, so being a teacher won’t do. So let’s put this option aside and take a look at protection methods.

Power of law

First, try to protect yourself legally. This is the least useful method, but still worth doing. You course is actually an intellectual property and is copyrighted. Access to it is a user contract or a license agreement. Yep, the one you always accept without even reading it. You can actually take the blueprint and add confidentiality to it.

What is the pro in it? You are legally protected. Your copyright is as strict as you want it to be. And the customer has no right to do anything outside the agreement. Sacred knowledge are safe.

Don’t forget to set up the agreement as fast as possible, without adding any unnecessary data, signing or anything. It would be perfect just to make an ‘Accept’ button. Considering the fact, that nobody reads them, it would be best to put in a link and not place the entire agreement on the page. Instead of the text itself, place a review, like:

It is you, who can enjoy our beautiful course without any limits. But it can’t be transferred to any other person or demonstrated publicly in any other way. It will cover huge fines.

What are cons for that? Mostly price. First, to make a good license agreement you will need at least one good lawyer. The cost of his service may lead you to finding yourself in the middle of a law school, trying to apply for it.

Second, any agreement is an object of civil right. Which means, if somebody fails to comply with these rules, all issues should be solved by the court. Lawsuit will be taken directly to the person, stealing the intellectual property. Here we can find one more use for our lawyer. The money you spend could cover the upcoming heart attack. This includes the litigant too. If you win, he’ll be paying your expenses.

Third, the responsibility for the leak will be on the person, who had leaked it. If you win, of course. The fine and expenses will be on this person, though through the help of bailiff. The state doesn’t compensate anything on such faults. Just spend a minute to think about your audience. Does any of them have this much money? They most likely don’t.

There also is another con. It’s not enough to accuse someone of leaking your info-course. You also have to prove it. And here is how we do that.

The power of cryptography

Modern data protection technologies rush to aid us here. So, you will be distributing your courses in the internet. It means that you have a web-site where people can buy it. And if they can, you, in your turn, form a personal cabinet with personal info about the customer with some sort of the essence of the order.

At this very moment, steganography comes in play. This word should have already scared an unprepared one. Wise Wika teaches us that steganography is a way to send or keep information, including saving data a secret with a fact of data transfer itself. The point is: a small amount of data can be added to almost any file. The technology differs from a file type and amount of information, so making it come true should be delegated to your programmer.

The approach is generally as follows: any download of any files of the course should go through the personal cabinet of a customer. At the moment of downloading each file should be automatically “signed” with a unique user’s code. So you can always find out where the leak was coming from. Just don’t tell anyone about steganography, because the fact of info preservation should be held secret.

And here we are facing the next con. If we are talking about small files, such a PDF or images, it would be easy to apply steganography for every download. But it’s a whole other story if we are talking about the most popular format, which is video. Files are too big to be signed for each customer real-time. The equipment to do that may cost more, than the actual profit you get from your course. Video is commonly distributed through YouTube, that compresses files, thus deletes all digital signs.

The power of branding

And here our cast is asked to scooch, because Brand comes into play. Any product created by you, including info-courses should be yours truly.

You must develop your own corporate style! A unique name or author’s name, good web-site with a short domain name, logo, correct colors, decoration elements, all this should overwhelm your video course.

Your logo must be constantly present throughout the video. Every second. And don’t place it in the corner, as a small pic. It makes it too easy to cut out. Don’t be afraid to show it as big as possible. But not on the teacher’s face, of course. Put the logo in the opening, cutscenes, anything up to chapters lists. If you use pop-ups to point out an object or introduce a person, don’t forget to brand it too. And your web-site address must be everywhere too.

One visual demonstration is not enough. You must emphasise the authority inside the content of your course. If you implementation will be organic, you will always gain profit, even if the course has been stolen. At least, increase your brand and the whole team recognition. Hence you will invite new users to your web-site, to sell something else.

Even bigger effect can be achieved only through using non-standard technological approaches. We’ll talk about them in the next section.

The power of technology

If we set a web-site as the foundation of payment in our extremely useful info-course, we should use it’s possibilities as much as we can. For that we shall connect our videos with the web-site itself.

Most courses are based on some sources in this or that way, or they sent a person in a whole other direction. And as we all know, all directions on the internet lead to links. As much as all paths lead to Rome, all links in our cours must lead to our web-site. They can be like, which a user can easily type himself. That’s why your web-site name should be short and simple. If not, a user just won’t type it. You can put the link also in video description, but it must be in the video. Any thief can re-write a description. So, the link will take them to a resource the thief needs. But of course, we will only direct users, who has bought our course. For that we will require customer’s login and password first and foremost.

Leave it to your programmers again. It’s not too difficult. And don’t forget that all links in your course should be referral. Never let your users register anywhere on their own. Let services know that it is you who led them. This will bring additional profit from leaked courses.

Aside from direct links to web-sites, it would be useful to refer to additional materials to your courses in the personal cabinet. All secured by his login and password. These materials should be organically integrated into the course. It would be perfect, if the course video part will become useless without these materials. For example, you could refer to source code in additional materials for your technical courses. With a digital sign!

Power of art

If you do all requirements stated, you can be as safe as possible. Even more, you will make sure that all leaks will bring you profit, if you use the last and most important advice.

Never stop. Never stop creating. When you release a course, start working on it’s continuation. Improve your customers’ skills, releasing new add-ons and creating new theme-based releases of your course. Set up webinars and online-trainings. Even better – offline-seminars with live participation of the whole team with your public. So you will get a whole bunch of new customers for all of your courses even if one of them was leaked.

You create, you protect, but most importantly – you aren’t afraid to risk. Remember: they steal everything, that’s for sure. So make it your advantage. Make your own power grid!

Reznik here. Out!