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Old 05 August 2009, 05:43   #1
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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?
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Old 05 August 2009, 06:00   #2
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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).
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Old 05 August 2009, 06:04   #3
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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
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Old 05 August 2009, 06:16   #4
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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.
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Old 05 August 2009, 07:00   #5
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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.
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Old 05 August 2009, 07:17   #6
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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.
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Old 05 August 2009, 07:39   #7
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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.
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Old 05 August 2009, 07:42   #8
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Hope it's sorted for you soon Doug!
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Old 05 August 2009, 08:53   #9
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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!
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Old 05 August 2009, 14:15   #10
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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!
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