Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
 
Old 05 August 2009, 05:43   #1
Member
 
Doug Stormforce's Avatar
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Southampton
Boat name: Yoda & Obi Wan
Make: Valiant 750 & XS600
Length: 7m +
Engine: 150, 115 HP
MMSI: Various
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,031
Stole our website

What would you do if someone had ripped of your website? I am not talking one or two lines of text I am talking a substantial amount of the text on the site and some of the layout

A new start RYA Training Centre has copied a load of our website. He has taken about 6,500 words directly from our site and made no attempt to hide the fact.

He has only just managed to change the bank details and company name in the terms and conditions but has left the body of the text the same. He has used our same bullets points and sub headings for his course descriptions and basically spent just a few minutes cut and pasting years of someone else work.

I know they say “Imitation is the best form of flattery” but we have worked hard over the years to develop our courses and differentiate our products from our competitors. Now someone has stolen our entire product descriptions word for word.

Clearly this is a breach of copyright and I have plenty proof that I wrote and therefore own the material.

What would you do?
__________________

__________________
STORMFORCE COACHING
web - www.stormforce.biz
email - coaching@stormforce.biz
tel - 02380 231122
Doug Stormforce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 06:00   #2
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Bucks
Boat name: Spare Rib
Make: Zodiac/Bombard
Length: 6m +
Engine: 90hp Yamaha
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 157
Doug,

I see you have a copyright notice on your site now. Have you always had it or was it added in response to this?

If the former, and provided the text you believe has been copied is your own work and not cut and pasted from elsewhere, you are well within your rights to send a cease and desist notice. You could do this yourself initially (email would be okay) so only need to involve a solicitor (so incur costs) if you don't get a satisfactory result. Your notice should specify, in reasonable detail, the asserted copyrigh breach (i.e. quote the exact text/pages).
__________________

__________________
Tim Spring
Observer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 06:04   #3
Member
 
tim griffin's Avatar
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Newport IoW
Boat name: Amean/Pronto/Rumbo
Make: Solent Rib Princess
Length: 7m +
Engine: 200hp Etec 260x 2
MMSI: lots of them
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,860
Contact RYA legal dept or your Solicitors to see where you stand have as much proof available as possible .

Alternative is to contact the school explain to them that what they have done is breach of copyright and unless they remove it you will take le.gal action.

Do this before contacting RYA as is further evidence of bad practice if they tell you to take a jump.
Tim
__________________
Tim Griffin
RYA Freelance YMI power Powerboat and PWC instructor trainer vhf first aid sea survival Diesel engine radar and navigation instructor
tim griffin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 06:16   #4
Member
 
Doug Stormforce's Avatar
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Southampton
Boat name: Yoda & Obi Wan
Make: Valiant 750 & XS600
Length: 7m +
Engine: 150, 115 HP
MMSI: Various
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,031
Quote:
Originally Posted by Observer View Post
Doug,

I see you have a copyright notice on your site now. Have you always had it or was it added in response to this?
Thanks Tim S. Yes the copyright notice has been there for some time. The text is a blatant copy of ours. I will do some reading on cease and desist. I have also spoken to the 2 solicitors I have used previously since posting here; we will draft a letter this morning.

Tim G
Thanks also for reply. I am not looking to cause the other centre grief at RYA; they are pretty good at spotting the cowboys themselves anyway. They of course would not get involved in a dispute between 2 commercial operators.

What I do want of course is the material taken down ASAP. Apart from anything else it will damage our search engine positioning when Google detects duplicate sites. The other centre might not care about the damage but obviously we do.
__________________
STORMFORCE COACHING
web - www.stormforce.biz
email - coaching@stormforce.biz
tel - 02380 231122
Doug Stormforce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 07:00   #5
RIBnet admin team
 
Poly's Avatar
 
Country: UK - Scotland
Boat name: imposter
Make: FunYak
Length: 3m +
Engine: Tohatsu 30HP
MMSI: 235089819
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 11,018
Doug,

Might be worth bearing in mind that the person who created the website content may not be the "director"/"principal", either someone more junior in the organisation or an external contractor. And so the man at the top may be unaware of the plagarism - and therefore presumably more open to a friendly initial discussion than a lawyers letter (which immediately puts everyone in defensive mode).

The good news is I just googled some of the more "unique" phrases from your website and only got your page as a hit - so I guess they haven't made it very far into the search engines yet.
__________________
Poly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 07:17   #6
JSP
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Southport
Boat name: Qudos
Make: 5.4 Searider
Length: 5m +
Engine: Yam 115 V4
MMSI: 235068784
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,930
Have they copied any graphics or images? It may be easier to get them done for copy right if they have.
Bare in mind that only a small amount needs to be changed to get around copyright laws. And it sounds like they have changed just enough.
It's the same with photos' and graphics. If they wanted to steal any photos' from your site to use as their own all they would have to do is cut or change about 10% of the photo. Copy right is a mine field and I hope you get the gits to change their site. If anything people may think it's the same company as yours or one linked and if there is any substandard work done it will reflect on your company.
__________________
JSP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 07:39   #7
Member
 
Doug Stormforce's Avatar
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Southampton
Boat name: Yoda & Obi Wan
Make: Valiant 750 & XS600
Length: 7m +
Engine: 150, 115 HP
MMSI: Various
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,031
Polwart- I have done the same and found quite a few pages indexed, in fact one of my course descriptions is about 500 words and is identical all but one line.

I have spoken to the company who host the site, who have explained the site is content managed by the customer. They have launched an investigation and have said if my evidence proves infringement (which it does) they will give the offender 24 hrs to remove the text before removing it themselves.

The company in question is I believe a "one man band" with no staff other than himself (the owner/director/principal). I have worked with him previously and he knows exactly who he was stealing the text from.

JSP, There have been no images or graphics pinched, just text and layout. The text is however very identifiable

Anyway I have taken legal advice, written to and emailed the offender with a “cease desist notice”, hopefully he will remove the material before the hosting company have to do it for him.
__________________
STORMFORCE COACHING
web - www.stormforce.biz
email - coaching@stormforce.biz
tel - 02380 231122
Doug Stormforce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 07:42   #8
JSP
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Southport
Boat name: Qudos
Make: 5.4 Searider
Length: 5m +
Engine: Yam 115 V4
MMSI: 235068784
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,930
Hope it's sorted for you soon Doug!
__________________
JSP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 08:53   #9
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: I.O.W/Bristol
Boat name: HotShot
Make: shakey
Length: 5m +
Engine: 70hp Tohatsu
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,543
Doug, i'm sure you have already but if not, go through his site and take screen grabs and save each page so you have copies of his code. Ripping off a website in the form of copy, code and other content is not really any different from any other copyright infringement, its just really easy to do it so people think its ok!
__________________
slimtim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 14:15   #10
Member
 
Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Glasgow
Length: 6m +
Engine: Yamaha
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Stormforce View Post
What would you do if someone had ripped of your website?
challenge him to a duel, if he wins then he gets to keep your words, if he loses and you win, then he must leave the internet, never to return and only use word of mouth to promote his buisness!

he cant get away wit this, worst thing is that you know him, you should just tell him straight that you know what he has done. if he's that lazy with his website, imagine what his standard of training is going to be like!
__________________
Heart-trouble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 14:20   #11
Member
 
chewy's Avatar
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Up Norf
Make: Avon SR4,Tremlett 23
Length: 4m +
Engine: Yam 55, Volvo 200
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 5,217
What site is it?
__________________
chewy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 14:51   #12
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: I.O.W/Bristol
Boat name: HotShot
Make: shakey
Length: 5m +
Engine: 70hp Tohatsu
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,543
Doug I'm sure your web designer would be pretty pissed too and would love to have a word!
__________________
slimtim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 14:54   #13
RIBnet supporter
 
Jizm's Avatar
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Southampton
Boat name: Hissing Sid
Make: Ross Smith Cobra
Length: 6m +
Engine: 200HP Optimax
MMSI: 235038046
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 3,803
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy View Post
What site is it?
Yep, who is he? name and shame...
Jizm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05 August 2009, 18:22   #14
Member
 
Hightower's Avatar
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Fareham
Length: 6m +
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 7,855
Dam cheek if you ask me!

I know who it is! I did a search on google. Can I recommend that this company isn't named and shamed on a public forum yet, before Doug has a chance of sorting this please. It's not fair on Doug! I'm sure he'll keep us abreast of the situation in due time.

I guess you know what you're going to go by now Doug, but suggest a chat first, followed up by Hosting server, RYA and Legal stuff.
__________________
Andy

Looks Slow but is Fast
Member of the ebay Blue RIB cover club.
Hightower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06 August 2009, 00:54   #15
Member
 
SeaSkills's Avatar
 
Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Oban (mostly)
Make: Ribcraft, Humber,BWM
Length: 5m +
Engine: Outboards
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 632
Send a message via Skype™ to SeaSkills
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim griffin View Post
Alternative is to contact the school explain to them that what they have done is breach of copyright and unless they remove it you will take legal action.
Doug, this would be my suggestion too, in the first instance. I found myself inadvertently on the wrong side of a similar situation last year: I had asked someone to produce some copy for me for a flyer, and only after it had gone to print did I realise that they had simply taken the text from another centre's website. Even though the print run ended up in the skip and the designer didn't get paid it was still rather embarassing (and to tell the truth it's something that I never confessed to the other centre, simply kept my fingers crossed that the few flyers that got sent before I realised what had happened wouldn't find their way there)

It may possibly be innocent on the part of the new centre, and I do always like to give people the benefit of the doubt initially. Even though I suspect - as I imagine everyone reading your post does - that this is probably not innocent at all, most things get sorted out better before the lawyers get involved (and no disrespect to any lawyers amongst us!)
__________________
SEASKILLS TRAINING
Web; www.seaskills.co.uk
Email; info@seaskills.co.uk
Tel; 07525 012 013
SeaSkills is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06 August 2009, 03:31   #16
Member
 
Doug Stormforce's Avatar
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Southampton
Boat name: Yoda & Obi Wan
Make: Valiant 750 & XS600
Length: 7m +
Engine: 150, 115 HP
MMSI: Various
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,031
UPDATE

Yesterday I issued a “Cease and Desist Notice” to the offender both by recorded delivery to his house/business address which will arrive later today and by email (whish he has received) in order to get things moving. I stated that I wanted all copied text removed within 24 hrs and written confirmation to follow.

I also emailed the hosting company asking them to remove the material and hand delivered a letter covering the same to the Director of the hosting company. I know that it was not his fault but now that he is aware of the copyright breach he can do something if his client (the offender) does not.

Last night the offender replied with this email

Quote:

Many thanks the letter and I’m sorry you feel I have directly copied text from your website, which I can assure you I haven’t. I was very carefully when writing the text for the new site not to plagiarise any other competitors sites, as you have stated search engines don’t look kindly on this. I used the course content from the relevant RYA publication.

You must realise that it is very difficult to re-Wright text that has been written several hundred times over and of course there will be some similarities in all websites….

I will of course, where I see fit, amend the text that you feel is copied. Unfortunately this won’t be done in the next 24hrs as I am away, it will also take time for the website company to amend copy.
If I had some how foolishly got myself in this situation and I was unable to amend my user managed site (although pick up email) I would call the web site hosting company and ask them to take it down for me. However as you can see above he not only denies ripping of thousands of words but suggests he will amend what he sees fit when he can be bothered. If you saw the extent of the copying you would laugh at his lie
Quote:
I was very carefully when writing the text for the new site not to plagiarise any other competitors sites
__________________
STORMFORCE COACHING
web - www.stormforce.biz
email - coaching@stormforce.biz
tel - 02380 231122
Doug Stormforce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06 August 2009, 03:41   #17
RIBnet admin team
 
Poly's Avatar
 
Country: UK - Scotland
Boat name: imposter
Make: FunYak
Length: 3m +
Engine: Tohatsu 30HP
MMSI: 235089819
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 11,018
Doug, is the spelling / grammar correct in all the stuff he "copied". If it is then he obviously didn't write it! Seriously though, if you have any typos in there - he has probably lifted them too and that would prove he copied it - rather than miraculously arrived at the same form of words!
__________________
Poly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06 August 2009, 04:09   #18
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Gloucestershire
Boat name: Osprey
Make: Osprey Vipermax
Length: 5m +
Engine: E-tec 300 G2
MMSI: TBC
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,015
who is it then?
__________________
---------------------------------------------------
Chris Stevens

Born fiddler
Chris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06 August 2009, 04:11   #19
Member
 
Doug Stormforce's Avatar
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Southampton
Boat name: Yoda & Obi Wan
Make: Valiant 750 & XS600
Length: 7m +
Engine: 150, 115 HP
MMSI: Various
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,031
OK, here is your chance to decide whether he is telling the truth. There are thousands of words to choose from so I have just sampled a few paragraphs from the 2 sites. The First is from our Cowes Week 2010 description.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Off Site
The programme starts on the evening of Friday 26th of July at the boats home port where you will meet your skipper, and the rest of the crew for a safety briefing. The weekend is spent on board learning and practising the various racing skills and getting to know the rest of the team.

Following this training weekend the crew next meet on Saturday 31 July. This is where the fun really starts, following a briefing from the skipper you will make your way over to Cowes (Isle of Wight) where you will live aboard for the week, race each day and soak up the party atmosphere each evening. Cowes week is as much a social event as a race regatta.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The text I originally wrote for the Stormforce Coaching site
The programme starts on the evening of Friday 23rd July in Southampton where you will meet your skipper, mate and the rest of the crew for a safety briefing. The weekend is spent on board learning and practising the various racing skills and getting to know the rest of the team.

Following this training weekend the crew next meet on Friday 30th July. This is where the fun really starts, following a briefing from the skipper you will make your way over to Cowes (Isle of Wight) where you will live aboard for the week, race each day and soak up the party atmosphere each evening. Cowes week is as much a social event as a race regatta.
So we both plan to run Cowes Week the same way, below is an extract from one of our RYA courses- It is from the Short Range Certificate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Off Site
This certificate has replaced the old VHF Restricted Licence and is the qualification required to operate a marine VHF Radio. The course is taught using our range of 14 live DSC and Navtex sets. You can expect to practice on Simrad, Icom and Silva radios and a Nasa Navtex set during your course.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The text I wrote for the Stormforce Coaching site
This certificate has replaced the old VHF Restricted License and is the qualification required to operate a marine VHF Radio. The course is taught using our range of 14 live DSC and Navtex sets. You can expect to practice on Simrad, Icom and Silva radios and a Nasa Navtex set during your course.
What a coincidence that 2 centres both have 14 live DSC and Navtex sets produced by Simrad, Icom, Silva and Nasa.

This next quote is quite large, I wrote it a few years ago when we decided to run our Coastal Skipper & Yachtmaster Prep Weeks a little differently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Off Site
The Coastal Skipper Certificate of Competence and Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence are run together as they have so much in common. They are both a five day preparation courses run back to back with a two day exam. While the syllabus for each is very similar the Yachtmaster candidate is required to have logged more sea time and will be pushed harder in the exam. The key benefit of running the two courses in parallel is that students who are unsure which level to pitch themselves at can start the week and decide part way through which exam to go for. The external examiner will not know which exam you are each taking until he/she meets you.

We run the preparation courses for these two exams slightly differently from most other sea schools. We restrict the total number of students on board to four (rather than five). This means you will get more practice at boat handling, time at the chart table navigating and oppurtunities to take command as skipper. Additionally we do not mix our exam candidates with our non exam students just to fill our boat up. It is unfair on you if you have to sit through Competent Crew and Dayskipper Students learning how to tack, gybe, hoist sails and take a 3 point fix (it’s unfair on them as well).
We believe it is vital that everyone on board has the same focus and the same goal for the week. We find our exam crews bond very quickly as they will be crewing for each other in the exam.

We understand that exams are stressful and we like to reduce as much pressure as possible. We learnt a long time ago that there is no point someone going for an exam they are not ready for. For that reason we have tried to take away a financial pressure. If you get part way through the preparation week and you and your instructor do not feel that you are ready for the exam we are happy to hold the weekend credit for you for up to six months. This does not mean we will provide a second free preparation week but it does mean you will not have to pay again for the yacht charter, food and diesel etc. component of the exam. Once you are ready, you can re book either a whole preperation week at a reduced rate or just the exam for free.




Quote:
Originally Posted by The text I wrote for the Stormforce Coaching site
The Coastal Skipper Certificate of Competence and Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence are run together as they have so much in common. They are both a five day preparation courses run back to back with a two day exam. While the syllabus for each is very similar the Yachtmaster candidate is required to have logged more sea time and will be pushed harder in the exam. The key benefit of running the two courses in parallel is that students who are unsure which level to pitch themselves at can start the week and decide part way through which exam to go for. The external examiner will not know which exam you are each taking until he/she meets you.

We run the preparation courses for these two exams slightly differently from most other sea schools. We restrict the total number of students on board to four (rather than five). This means you will get more practice at boat handling, time at the chart table navigating and oppurtunities to take command as skipper. Additionally we do not mix our exam candidates with our non exam students just to fill our boat up. It is unfair on you if you have to sit through Competent Crew and Dayskipper Students learning how to tack, gybe, hoist sails and take a 3 point fix (it’s unfair on them as well).
We believe it is vital that everyone on board has the same focus and the same goal for the week. We find our exam crews bond very quickly as they will be crewing for each other in the exam. We have maintained a pass rate of over 98% for these prestigious exams.

We understand that exams are stressful and we like to reduce as much pressure as possible. We learnt a long time ago that there is no point someone going for an exam they are not ready for. For that reason we have tried to take away a financial pressure. If you get part way through the preparation week and you and your instructor do not feel that you are ready for the exam we are happy to hold the weekend credit for you for up to six months. This does not mean we will provide a second free preparation week but it does mean you will not have to pay again for the yacht charter, food and diesel etc. component of the exam. Once you are ready, you can re book either a whole preperation week at a reduced rate or just the exam for free.
As far as I can see the only change is that he has removed the line “We have maintained a pass rate of over 98% for these prestigious exams”.

I could sample thousands of words of more text, however I think the above demonstrates that he has made no effort to write his own text, simply copy ours.

As soon as the web hosting company is open I will talk to them again. If he will not deal with the problem then I will.
__________________
STORMFORCE COACHING
web - www.stormforce.biz
email - coaching@stormforce.biz
tel - 02380 231122
Doug Stormforce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06 August 2009, 04:15   #20
Member
 
Country: Other
Town: Valencia
Length: no boat
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 135
oh dear, the same thing happened to me a few years ago. It is like being mugged with yr arms tied behind your back as you see someone stealing your business.

Upshot was that it is q hard to prove the copy was mine & while the lawyers spur you on for a fight (nice earner for them) the competitor is using your copy.

I just spoke to the robber directly & the copy was changed. Just one step below nicking your boat I reckon.

Worst thing was the copy & photos were identical, prices were slashed & my bleeding customers thought it was my site!
__________________

__________________
RibinSpain is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 14:05.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×