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We find out that one of our "future" competitor has stolen all our informations:
All our text contents, pictures, etc.
They are under construction now and by chance we notice that before they get known.
Basically, they design a new website with our content.
As our business is mainly focused on the traffic coming from Google we do not want to be penalized and loose some business (ie: banned for duplicate content).
I would like to know if it happened to someone and what can I do to solve this problem.
Thank you very much for your help.
The first thing I would do would be to send them a cease and desist letter/email informing them that they are infringing on your copyrighted material (this is usually enough to stop them), if this doesn't help then seek legal advice (obviously only if you do own the copyright).
As for google, IMO *normally* google would penalise the newest content for being duplicate although some other members have a different idea.
hope this helps.
[edited by: diddlydazz at 7:04 am (utc) on Mar. 5, 2003]
I would also send notices to the Attorney Generals of your state and the state your competitor is in (assuming you are both in the US).
Proving a copyright claim is fairly simple - if your site was up before theirs, then you own the copyright to original material contained on your site that you created. If you have any old backups that can establish early dates then you have some protection. If not, try using the "Way Back Machine" to grab and print copies of your old pages.
I've also had people steal portions of my site and the same solution worked then, too.
Once they take their information down, however, be sure to write the ISP back and tell them to disregard the message.
Hope that works for you. It's horrible to see all your hard work go to build someone else's site. Sadly, I'm finding that Internet ethics are seriously lacking!
Something with a theme that you have noticed they are in the same market as you and that you welcome their competition. Briefly mention that you have also noticed that on their website there is a striking resemblance to the pages that you have on your own website.
Maybe, go as far as making a small joke of it - "it's a small world isn't it?" or something to that effect. If you phrase it correctly the offending web site owners will know they have been caught out and should decist immediately. If they don't then begin collecting 'evidence' that you had your content on the internet first. Use archive.org as seanetal mentioned above. If they still persist in using *your* content then send them a cease and decist e-mail and obtain legal advice at the same time.
Google will almost definitely *not* penalise your web site for them copying your content but it can't harm to send google a small e-mail outlineing the situation. You may not get a response, but every little helps.
Another point regarding sending that first friendly e-mail is that if it does come down to a legal battle it will 'look' good as part of your defense by saying that you didn't immediately go for the jugular and initially asked politely! I hope it doesn't come to this though.
Good luck and don't hesitate to ask more questions as the guys here at WebmasterWorld are the best you'll find on the net! Now, I'm not a lawyer so don't quote me on any of this, but there are lawyers on WebmasterWorld ... any advice guys?
[edited by: stickledene at 5:54 am (utc) on Mar. 5, 2003]
The most effective fast solution would be to find out who they are hosting with and send their hosting company a DMCA complaint asking for the offending site to be taken down.
If some of these stolen pages do manage to get listed in Google, you can also ask Google to pull the infringing listings from the index, see -
BY E-MAIL: email@example.com
AND FIRST CLASS MAIL
CITY, STATE ZIP
Re: Unauthorized Use of Intellectual Property
Dear Mr. XXX:
It has come to the attention of YYYYY Corporation that you are operating a website found at the following URLs:
We have reviewed your website and have concluded that it incorporates the use copyrighted textual and/or graphical content taken directly from YYYYYYY Corporation’s website without permission from YYYYYY Corporation.
Your actions constitute direct copyright infringement, and make you subject to injunction and liable to YYYYY Corporation for its damages, costs and attorneys' fees. Pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 501(a), "anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by sections 106 through 118, or of the author as provided in 106(a), is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author." YYYYYYYY Corporation hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from reproducing, distributing, displaying, or in any other way infringing upon YYYYYYYY Corporation's copyrights.
YYYYYY Corporation is prepared to pursue all available remedies to protect its intellectual property rights. However, YYYYYYYY Corporation will refrain from taking immediate legal action upon condition that you provide written assurances by DATE, that you have ceased and desisted from reproducing, distributing, or displaying the copyrighted text or images from the Progent Corporation website. Your written assurances must also state that you have removed all web page content relating to the unlawful use of the YYYYYYY Corporation copyrights.
We await an immediate response from you or your counsel.
xxx x. xxxxx
CITY, STATE ZIP
cc: Your lawyer
was not sure if it was cloaking or something like
and the resulting DMCA - post
The person concerned, offered to put things right (before google were able to do anything - then google removed his page from the listing) he kindly redirected traffic back to my site (saved my small business from disaster) so don't forget to TALK / EMAIL this person / company
It's a tricky one - we've had someone nick all our ideas and content and despite contacting them through lawyers they refused to take it down - the best way IMHO:
1. Contact all relevant companies and networked contacts you have and inform them of the 'pretender'. Explain what you are doing i.e. seeking legals as well as Nominet and ISP advice and find out whether you can secure their loyalty - if it's an affiliate thing - it does work because they are already makijng money out of you!
2. If you have a trademark and copyright for any of the content - contact Nominet through nominet.org.uk and file a complaint
3. Get a lawyer to write a formal letter - do this through a lawyer mate if you have one to save cash!
Short of that - and I do not do this myself but know a few people who have - sign them up to hundreds of spam email newsletters so that they get deluged with junkmail - snide but very satisfying so I am told!
However, best short term strategy is the DMCA route.
I agree. When a hosting company receives a DMCA complaint, they are required by law to take the infringing materials down ASAP.
No "please Mr. spammer stop stealing my content" or threatening legal action, and then waiting to see when/if the thief does as you ask.
I'm sure he'll get the message when he discovers his site has been taken down by his hosting company!
DMCA complaints to Google can also be useful in certain unusual situations like colintho, or if you want to get existing listings and cached copies of the stolen materials removed from Google. But normally the best way is to go right to his hosting company.
I was under the impression that taking down the allegedly infringing materials was not required but that by doing so they would be exempt from any claims to damages. Anything else would be quite strange, since just claiming that something infringes on your copyright does not say it really does. That´s for the courts to decide. If the hosting company does not take the material down and the courts later find that it was indeed infringing on somebody´s ip rights then they will be subject to claims for damages as well. If they took the material down when receiving the complaint then they will not have to pay any damages themselves.
As stated in the DMCA FAQ at chillingeffects -
Once notice is given to the service provider...it is required to expeditiously remove the material from its network.
The ISP industry fought long and hard to get the safe harbor protections including in the DMCA. While it is technically true that a hosting company could violate the legal requirements of the safe harbor provisions and thus remove themselves from it's protections, I am unaware of any ISP that would be so foolish as to do so.
We have a product that was formulated for use in pubs and club quizzes. Our competitor took our idea, rejigged the form we produced and then came out with their own version of the product and form. We went in hard on the first letter as you suggest but they just ignored it, revamped the form slightly and continue to sell the product.
Getting a lawyer for intellectual property theft is expensive c £300 per hour plus we'll need a barrister specialising in same if it goes to court. We can't find a specialist who'll do no win no fee especially as we're delaling with a small company, who let's face it, if they lost in court would wind itself up, then begin trading the next day under a different name withn the same directors.
Threatening letters are OK, but the cuckoo just moves its nest......