Lately, I’ve heard a lot of business owners complain that their competitors have copied their business model, website content and images. I’m not talking about copying some phrases or terms. But blatant copying of the entire website verbatim!
Now I can imagine being emotional and upset when someone steals your hard work. Developing content for your business is not an easy task. You’ve probably spent hours creating the content or hired a professional to do it for you. In any case, your website content and images belong to you and you own copyright in that work.
While a lot of this plagiarism happens in China, it is becoming increasingly common here at home too. It is difficult to reach infringers in China. But when it comes to home turf, there are some solutions available.
The first step when you know of such unauthorized use of website content is to take screenshots of the duplicate website. You can use Wayback Machine to search for pages with an earlier date. This way you have evidence of use in the event you need to pursue a lawsuit against the competitor.
Next, you want to find the website’s owner. Sometimes, this information is available on the website itself under the contact page. But when such information is not readily available, you can do a Whois lookup to find the website’s owner and contact information. The Registrant’s information is the owner’s information.
Once you have this evidence, you can either engage the help of a lawyer to write a cease and desist letter to the website owner claiming copyright in the website content and demanding that the infringer take down all of the copied content/images. If you do not get a response, you can contact the server host and request them to take down the pages or website.
You can also submit take down notices to Google and other similar search engines to have the content links removed.
At Nupur Shah Law, we help entrepreneurs protect their business. Call us at 646-820- 1366 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to have a complimentary conversation with you on how to secure and/or defend your rights.