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How much scraped text constitutes infringement?
How far can competitors before it's copyright infringement...
mlxwizard

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3815298 posted 1:11 am on Dec 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

We have a long established membership site. Recently a lazy, uncreative competitor began scraping our sales copy, using chunks of text clearly extracted from our site. We warned the guy, but he increased his boldness. Much of the statements this competitor makes are false and intended to simply make his site "read" the same.

So, what's the law say about the amount of text they can copy?
What about general site format and strategy?
In my opinion, you can't "get a little" pregnant.

As soon as we notified the infringer, he quickly blocked alexa's archiver. I believe Google should look at site's that block the archiver must have something to hide and treat them as untrustworthy.

 

sandman46

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3815298 posted 5:14 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I would check with a copyright attorney. As more and more people wind up out of work, many will turn to the web for an income. These may be newbies or experienced IT professionals and some may resort to black hat or plagiarism to play catch up to those of use who've been here for a decade +.
I think every web business owner within the top 3 serps should expect to see an increase in infringement.
Now might be a good time to budget for attorney fees.

farmboy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member farmboy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3815298 posted 4:10 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Recently a lazy, uncreative competitor began scraping our sales copy, using chunks of text clearly extracted from our site.

Have you followed Google's instructions for filing a DMCA complaint?

As more and more people wind up out of work, many will turn to the web for an income.

It was already happening on a regular basis when the economy was good.

FarmBoy

sandman46

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3815298 posted 4:34 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

farmboy:

The question on this post remains...HOW MUCH scraped text constitutes infringement?

My opinion is this:
If the site is non-profit, it would take a considerable amount of scraped text to constitute a DMCA.

Blog scraping is a joke. Who cares! But I see blog owners filing DMCA's all the time. Isn't that the purpose of a blog, to share? I guess not, especially when they stand to loose a few pennies on Adsense Ads.

However, in our case, a direct competitor is taking text and phrases directly from our site to offer his own "derivative" of our site. I costs us big time!
This competitor recently started using every one of the scripts we use and arranged them in the exact same way to create a membership site. Then they hacked through our code to find the affiliates we use and that added the same, then they hacked through our meta tags & grabbed them too.
They offer very similar products and until recently they delivered them in a completely different way. Now they are delivering product exactly the same way we have done for the last 5 years.

It's clear the competitor is using us as his template and has stolen our entire business model. Is that infringing or just cut throat competition.

I believe that if a business saves time by "looking at your paper" so to speak, then they are cheating.

IMHO, using identical or very slightly twisted text is still cheating and infringing. Fragmenting it to make it sound like your original work also seems infringing, especially when the overall concept reads the same.

If the competitor were asked "did you use any site design ideas or text from on your direct competitors site?" the answer would be yes, and again that seem infringing.

Before anyone files a DMCA, you have to consider if it's infringement or competition and what is fair use or otherwise. IP thieves get away with it every day by changing it up just enough to make it look like they came up with it. It that fair? Especially in a niche market?

I'm interested to hear what others out there think.

BTW, to answer your question, yes, I am fully aware of the DMCA filing process. However, since this competitor has now blocked ai_archiver, it's hard to prove our case. And when they take your site concept, sales copy and twist it slightly, it again brings up the topic question, How much is enough to constitute infringement and a DMCA take down?
The report is written, but just waiting to be filed.

rash

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3815298 posted 7:28 pm on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think merely ideas don't fall under copyright. Its actually the way in which these ideas are implemented. According to me, there has to be substantial difference to make a case but yes if someone has copied enough chunks of your text, make sure you highlight the infringer domain registration date and the archives of your pages on archive.org.

I also found this FAQ on ChillingEffects:

Does copyright protect words or short phrases?
Answer: No. Names, titles, and short phrases are not subject to copyright protection. These are not deemed to be "original works of authorship" under the Copyright Act. Names may be protected by trademark, in some instances.

So, prepare yourself well before doing anything.

koan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3815298 posted 10:59 am on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

I believe Google should look at site's that block the archiver must have something to hide and treat them as untrustworthy.

A narrow-minded and terrible idea. People who block the internet archives actually value their content and do not want it to be copied. Search engines would have no business trying to interpret it in one way or another.

seventiesrock

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3815298 posted 11:10 am on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

A narrow-minded and terrible idea. People who block the internet archives actually value their content and do not want it to be copied. Search engines would have no business trying to interpret it in one way or another.

So true! some even block IA to save bandwidth.

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