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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    96

    Angry site copied by other company, what can I do?

    Hello,
    I have designed a site for a local bed and breakfast some 2 years ago, the
    site is successful and quiet attractive.
    Today I came across a site for another B&B just 10 miles away from the first
    one and oh surprise!!!, it is a perfect copy.

    Graphics I have made are copied, not only copied but the names are the same,
    the entire footer of the site is the same, again using the same images name,
    the style sheet used is perfectly identical, not a thing changed so the fonts,
    backgrounds, links etc are all the same.
    At the time my client couldn't afford to copyright the site so it is not
    copyrighted.

    Is there any thing I can do?

    It is very easy to link one to another since I was called by the second person
    at the time which was looking for a site but said she couldn't afford my
    services, I actually showed here the site in question that day part of my
    portfolio and I remeber her saying it was very nice. She then went to hire a
    cheaper company to simply copy!

    Any suggestion would be appreciated,
    Thanking you,
    Regards,
    Olivier

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    out on a limb
    Posts
    13,692
    Couldn't afford copyright? no idea what the rules are for you, but within the EU providing you put a copyright notice on the site (and preferably every page of the site) then you own the copyright. You are merely asserting your, or your customers rights to the copyrighted material. The wording is important it has to follow a precise syntax. So the following is from an EU (more importantly a UK perspective). There is a grey area as to whether the copyright stays with you the designer or your customer, the contract covering the work should cover that.

    If you didn't do that then what the other B&B are perfectly within their rights to rip off your design.

    In practise however, even if you did retain the rights unless you or your customer has a big wallet and a wish to feed some lawyers then there is little that you can do to assert your ownership. You can threaten with legal proceedings, but if they nicked your design in the first place then they aren't likely to be that ethical all of a sudden.

    The fact is that unless you put the copyright notice then you have no rights.

    Probably the best action is to redesign the website putting in place what you know now and no doubt it will blow away the copy artisits. I'd assert your, or your customers copyright rights on the new site. I'd be temtped to drop the rip off merchant a letter saying if they do this again then they will be in breach of copyright, whilst you are at it try and flog some website design services

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    20,002
    i am not a lawyer but my understanding is that copyright is owned whether or not there is a copyright notice on the site

    it is never legal to copy a design, and i think your "fact" is wrong, healdem

    olivier, contact the ISP of the site that ripped you off -- service providers do in general have a good understanding of copyright, and they can exert some very persuasive pressure on these types of people

    there's nothing like the idea of having your site shut down to make you reconsider the ripoff

    you can also post the sites on http://www.pirated-sites.com/

    however, i think the first thing to do is to send a friendly message to the owner of the other site

    just remind them that their business rides on their reputation, and that they probably do not want their reputation sullied by charges of theft

    remember, potential customers searching for their site will likely also find information about their theft, so the last thing the owners want is information about their theft to be posted on the internet
    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
    Buy my SitePoint book: Simply SQL

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    out on a limb
    Posts
    13,692
    it is never legal to copy a design, and i think your "fact" is wrong, healdem
    Rudi
    just checked on the UK Gov site, http://www.is4profit.com/busadvice/copyright and I have to admit you are correct, copyright, in the UK, runs from the point of inception for between 15 and 70 years depending on the item, you do not have to expressly assert your ownership of the copyright.

    The proble is as always going to be enforcing your rights. It would be interesting hearing how you get on with Rudi's suggestions.

    I've always known this site had some knowledgeable controibutors.....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    96
    Hello,
    thank you all for your contribution.
    After reading replies and info sent I have found out that graphics are automatically copyrighted with or without a copyright sign on the site and therefore I can "claim" my rights.
    Style sheet and page layout are harder to see as copyrighted, however in this case because they were simply copied out and left with the same attributes such as CSS classes and so on (and in the order I had them) it is straight forward to prove that it is a simple copy.

    Having all graphics and files on my computer with creation and last modification dates (as well as on the server) I have passed on all information to my solicitor which will request shortly for the site to be taken down immediately or face court action.


    Will let you know the outcome.

    Thanks to all,
    regards,

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    20,002
    go, olivier!!

    let us know how it turns out
    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
    Buy my SitePoint book: Simply SQL

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    I always enjoy solicitors... Quick fried, with lots of salt and a bit of garlic butter.

    I wish you luck though. It always hacks me off when someone steals intelectual property (even though I've got some great stories on that front too)!

    -PatP

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    The Bottom of The Barrel
    Posts
    6,102
    Are you physically close to this place? You mentioned that they're 10 miles away from the original location?

    Show up on their doorstep.

    Writing an email is easy to brush off until you actually take legal action. It's much more difficult to ignore the person on the doorstep asking why they infringed on IP. For added fun, get the patrons involved in the discussion, see what they think.
    oh yeah... documentation... I have heard of that.

    *** What Do You Want In The MS Access Forum? ***

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Sussex, England
    Posts
    404
    I think using the solicitor is the correct approach, any physical contact could be used to muddy the waters. If these people are as dishonest as appears they could easily say they had spoken to the copyright holder and had reached an agreement.

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