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Pages have been plagiarized and sold

     
10:02 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Through Copyscape I found out that six of the biographies which I write for kids have been plagarized and made a part of a writing course which they sell on sets of CDs.
They did not ask for permission nor give any credit. They just copied them word for word and used them in their material. What should I do? I have made an initial contact by email, but haven't heard back from them yet.
10:20 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Find out who did this. Everything about them, principals, the works.
Make no further attempts to contact them. Call a lawyer instead. - Larry
10:26 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It sounds as if the people who are using your work have assets, so you could be in for a payday. You need to collect evidence. Check the Internet Archive to see if it has early copies of your pages. If you have a convincing case you should be able to find a lawyer to work on a contingency basis.
10:54 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Five of the biographies I can trace back to 2002 through the Wayback Machine, so there's no problem proving authorship.
11:04 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Good. Now make sure you have backed up copies of their ads.
Try and get a copy of their product as well. That's also a good way to get a mailing address.
If they take your credit card, that can be backtracked to a merchant account.
Don't forget to 'whois' the site selling the goods. Any scrap of info could be vital.
Don't reveal any details of the perp or more about your materials here either. -Larry
11:15 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Did you actually register your works with the US Copyright Office ( or the equivalent for your country if not in the U.S. )?
11:20 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Good thought Bobo. I don't now if it would help to register/copyright now,
but its a good idea for the NEXT infringement at the very least. -Larry
11:51 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If registration is made within 3 months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.

[copyright.gov...]

hunderdown

9:12 pm on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Actual profits is something. A good lawyer might be able to get them to settle for a decent sum rather than go through the process of establishing what their profits are....

Register them now in any case.

11:17 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Bobo, you asked about copyright registration. No, I haven't registered the website as yet, but I plan to. Right now all I have is the copyright sign at the bottom of each page and the Copyscape banner. I'll keep you posted about how this is working out. My daughter-in-law attended a book fair today and looked at some of the company's material which was on display.
12:07 am on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Bobo, you asked about copyright registration. No, I haven't registered the website as yet, but I plan to. Right now all I have is the copyright sign at the bottom of each page and the Copyscape banner. I'll keep you posted about how this is working out. My daughter-in-law attended a book fair today and looked at some of the company's material which was on display.

Since you don't have a registered copyright - I'd suggest you do so real quickly - otherwise, you're going to face an uphill battle.

What matters now is that you register your works - since you mentioned 2002 in a previous post, may I offer you the following:

In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration. Among these advantages are the following:

... and here's the 'stickler':

If made before or within 5 years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.

Either way, I'd consult an intellectual property attorney ASAP.

source: [copyright.gov...]

12:02 am on May 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just wanted you to know we had a resolution to the plagiarism.
I phoned the man and left a message. When he returned the call we had a conversation and he offered me a monetary amount and terms that were satisfactory. I'm going to go ahead and get a government copyright though so I'll be better protected next time.

I've been looking at the guidelines for getting a website copyright and they say a website must be sent in on CDs. It would take 4 or 5 to hold everything with each CD holding 700mg. I've tried to call to see if I could use a DVD, but haven't been able to contact them yet.

Thanks for all your help.

 

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