A while back, we were introduced to a site that lets you type in your web site’s domain name – or even a specific page URL on your site – to see if the content on your page is being used on any other sites. We thought this was an interesting concept, so we plugged in our URL and were shocked to find our content was – word for word – being used on a number of other web sites – without our permission, obviously!
To add insult to injury, several of the sites that had outright ripped off our copy were themselves designers. In one case, the person had not only stolen our copy, but images from our portfolio, advertising our work as their own. Imagine being a client of an unscrupulous designer who searches out someone else’s web site to steal content to sell themselves to said client on merits that are not their own.
Needless to say, we were not about to take theft of our copyrighted content and images lying down! We immediately had our legal advisor draft a cease-and-desist message which was sent to the owners of each of the offending sites. Most responded quickly – and apologetically – and complied with our request for removal of our content from their sites. In one case, the owner of a printing company web site told us that the person who developed the site for them provided the copy and he was dumbfounded when we presented him with our claim of plagiarism. That case proved to be the most difficult to resolve, with the developer initially refusing to co-operate. Within a few days, however, it was, thankfully, resolved.