Protect Your Intellectual Property: Myows Review
Everyone hates it when their work gets blatantly ripped off. Although it’s one thing to look to others for inspiration, it’s a completely different story when ideas get stolen lock, stock and barrel.
So what recourse are you left with when you find your intellectual property stolen? Your first reaction may drift towards baseball bat justice. But while baseball bats can be enjoyable, it rarely fixes the problem. Better yet, you can use a service like Myows to deal with cases of infringement.
What is Myows?
In a nutshell Myows (which stands for My Original Works) allows you to upload your work with the purpose of providing you with copyright evidence as well as a deterrence to prevent theft. Think of it as a way to establish your ownership by date stamping your work.
Your first inclination when faced with intellectual property theft may be – who cares? After all, you have a business to run and you can’t waste your time going after every Tom, Dick and Harry who wants to rip you off. Now that may be true of your feelings, how do your clients feel? One freelancer from FreelanceSwitch recently found out from his client that not only was their site design stolen, but their entire business model as well. So while it may only be a small annoyance to you, your clients may expect your assistance in protecting your work on their behalf.
What can I do with Myows?
The Myow’s website is simple and straightforward to use (although I did find it had some longer load times in IE8 and the Date of Birth field is marked as not required, although it clearly is required). After you sign up for a free account you are taken to an introduction page that will walk you through some of the features of the service.
Myows currently can be used to protect both files and text. After uploading the file you’ll be prompted to label, categorize and describe the file. The add category and add client links wouldn’t work for me in IE8, so that’s certainly something the Myows beta will have to look at.
Once you’ve completed that, your files with be stamped and your copyright established with Myows by the assignment of a unique hash value as tamper proof evidence linking the file to the date of upload. Apparently, not even the team at Myows can alter the date of upload of your files. Should you need to dispute a copyright infringement you’ll be able to use this record along with take down notices supplied by the site.
What’s not to like?
Myows currently feels like a stay at home police force. I can certainly see its benefits when it comes towards establishing your case for ownership, but you are still going to have to do the leg work in finding where your work is currently being stolen. There is talk of the site partnering with a service to take a more active role in discovering copyright infringement, and I think that would be a standout feature to include.
In addition, I found the site almost completely broken in IE8. Files couldn’t be labeled, files wouldn’t display, etc. I realize the site is still in beta so I’m sure these issues will be worked out in future updates.
Myows provides an easy to use service in establishing ownership of your work. The site currently in early beta so I expect to see more functionality as time goes on. As it is currently, the service is a nice starting point and with more polish it will really shine.
If you’re interesting in trying it out, Myows is going to be giving away 1GB accounts (in place of 500MB) to the first 50 people who comment. Just leave your Myows username in your comment to enter.