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Old 09-16-1999, 06:51 PM   #1
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Default How far do copyright laws protect us?

Heartz asks the very good question...

"The point that I saw people offering web-page lookalikes with almost the same interface and charging cash for it utterly shocked me .

I just wanted to know how far do copyright laws protect us in this sense."

... I'll be back with an analogy later, anyone else have any suggestions for Heartz?

moderators note: if you have examples or stories, please by all means post them, however please be careful not to give "legal advice, as that could be dangerous to your wealth!
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Old 09-29-1999, 07:48 PM   #2
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The saga continues...

on a similar note KHN asks:
"I know that I will have thousands of people come to my site each year and I know that 1 out of those thousands of people will try to copy it. How can I catch them and what to do if there is one??"

Let's deal with the first issue, how do you catch someone. I teach technology, so what I am teaching is in effect public domain information, I don't personally own the information , so any web site that teaches technology is potentially similar to mine. What I do try to do is create all my own clip art and logo's so if someone downloads my entire site to their location there are "signature items" that are unique to me. I use the name Questy quite a bit in my pages, and have it, and versions of it embedded in names of files (html and graphics), in meta tags and through out the page. I do this to establish a name for myself on the web, but I also do it for security reasons. Here again if someone downloaded my entire site, they would have to change quite a bit about it to make it theirs, so hopefully I am slowing them down, and leaving my "signature" throughout the site that could be sited later. If someone "steals" all my material and cleans out all my "signature" items, then they have done quite a bit to redesign it, so one could argue that it has changed enough to call it their own.

The second part of your question, what to do if you catch someone who has stolen your site. Well there are law firms and legal guru's who spend their whole life answering those questions. This field is collectively listed under "intellectual property" and covers patents, trademarks, and copyright issues.

Based on US Law, first you simply state your copyright, which is a simple written notification on a document (webpage). You can "formalize" the copyright by sending it to the copyright office to claim the material as your own. But, in my humble cynical opinion, the whole issue becomes a poker game. If you have stolen my "stuff" I can ask you to stop. I can contact your ISP or web host and make my claim to them. Beyond that, it becomes a matter of how much do I want to spend to get you to stop. Life isn't fair, and lawyers ain't cheap, what can I say. The other argument beyond just getting the violator to stop using your stuff, is trying to prove how much you have been damaged by the violator.

Since this question first came up I've been looking for some legal examples of these issues, hope to report back to you all soon.


Forum Moderator, full time computerguy, part time philosopher..
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Old 10-02-1999, 10:02 PM   #3
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Hi guys, I haven't been around in a while, just stopped by to see what's up. Looking good!

In answer to your question,How far do copyright laws protect us?

As far as your wallets ability to buy a lawyer can take you. Hate to say it, it all comes down to dollars.
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