Copying of website content by others - a legal issue or just plain life?
Thread poster: Amy Williams

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:54
Italian to English
+ ...
Jan 27, 2005

Hi all,
I had a quick look over past forums to see if I could spot anything about the copyright of website content, but it has been a long morning and a search revealed nothing.

Whilst browsing on Proz a few minutes ago (in a vain attempt to shift my KudoZ points total up from its rather spooky 666 status...) I came across the website of a fellow Prozian, and decided to have a
peek. I was pretty shocked to find that a large chunk of the FAQ page had been lifted from the FAQ text on my site. And I mean really lifted. Hmm.

Anyway, this set me thinking on the extent to which site content (or indeed site structure itself) can be "lifted" or modified by others. Can anyone enlighten me on this? I do have a copyright notice at the bottom of each page.

I have noticed similar trends in the content of Proz profiles.

Of course it is healthy to look at other people's work and ideas and to learn from those.
But is there a line, and where do we draw it?

Please don't shout at me and say I'm a silly old tart who should stop moaning: it isn't going to bother my clients and I can't say that it bothers me enormously.

I'm just interested in the technicalities of it.

Have a great weekend,
Amy
www.amywilliams.co.uk




[Edited at 2005-01-27 18:58]


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 20:54
German
+ ...
. Jan 27, 2005

Amy Williams wrote:

Hi all,
I had a quick look over past forums to see if I could spot anything about the copyright of website content, but it has been a long morning and a search revealed nothing.

Whilst browsing on Proz a few minutes ago(in a vain attempt to shift my KudoZ points total up from its rather spooky 666 status...) I came across the website of a fellow Prozian, and decided to have a
peek. I was pretty shocked to find that a large chunk of the FAQ page had been lifted from the FAQ text on my site. And I mean really lifted. Hmm.

Anyway, this set me thinking on the extent to which site content (or indeed site structure itself) can be "lifted" or modified by others. Can anyone enlighten me on this? I do have a copyright notice at the bottom of each page.

I have noticed similar trends in the content of Proz profiles.

Of course it is healthy to look at other people's work and ideas and to learn from those.
But is there a line, and where do we draw it?

Please don't shout at me and say I'm a silly old tart who should stop moaning: it isn't going to bother my clients and I can't say that it bothers me enormously.

I'm just interested in the technicalities of it.

Have a great weekend,
Amy
www.amywilliams.co.uk



The short answer is: Yes, it's a (legally enforceable) copyright issue and yes, it's plain life.

In my view, lifting entire pages is just weak, though. I mean, can't these people come up with something of their own? And especially in a competitive situation, people should realize that stealing others' work is an offense.

Sharing your frustration,
Benjamin


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Good question Jan 27, 2005

I think, stuff like FAQs and Terms & Conditions has always been copied from several sources and rearranged as needed, but with the internet it becomes so obvious..

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:54
German to English
+ ...
Copying of website content by other Jan 27, 2005

Hi Amy,

I would take the matter up with the colleague concerned to start with.

If that isn't satisfactory and the colleague is a member of a professional association (like you are), I'd complain to the association.

If that doesn't resolve it, I suspect that all you can do is resort to the threat of legal action. In a case like this, that's unlikely to be worth your while.

Marc


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Fuad Yahya  Identity Verified
Arabic
+ ...
I plan to take action in escalated steps Jan 27, 2005

Virtually all my web pages have been plagiarized by two ProZ members. One of them wrote to me a year ago telling me that he just could not help himself (!) and he was wondering if I minded. I replied telling him in no uncertain terms that what he did was wrong and that he needed to cease and desist. I did not threaten him with action, but left the matter at that to see what he would do.

Well, all he did was camouflage his larceny. He changed the formatting a little bit and added some stuff, but the material is still there, verbatim, except the languate pairs (Farsi and English instead of Arabic and English).

The other guy copied virtually the whole website, including a link to my contact information page. An agency's project manager was perusing "his" website when she clicked on that link and was, of course, referred to my contact page. She called me asking about him. I told her the name sounded like the name of an active ProZ member. She said she wished to contact him, but "his" website referred her to mine. She wondered if were were assoiciates of some kind. I immediately figured out what happened, went to "his" website, and my fears were confirmed.

Here is what I plan to do:

1. Send email to the two individuals demanding immediate pull out of the stolen material.

2. If they fail to do so, I plan to contact their professional associations, including ProZ. Their theft is so flagrant that anyone can see it, and one of them has acknowledged it before I even had a chance to discover it. I have the email to prove it.

3. If the associations do not exert the right kind of pressure, or if the two individuals do not respond, I plan to expose them on my website in a page I have already designed with the title "Hall of Shame."

4. Legal action is still an option if they do not remedy the situation, but it would be tough. One of them is in Iran, the other in Egypt. I am not sure if litigation is cost effective or even effective there.


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 14:54
German to English
Contact the website host Jan 27, 2005

There should be some way to find out who hosts the offending website (I don't know how to do this, but it is possible, and perhaps one of our colleages can offer guidance).

Inform the site host that one of its sites is illegally using copyrighted material, and that the hosting service may be named in any legal action regarding copyright infringement. This will make life unpleasant for the offender as he/she will need to find someone else to host the offending website.


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Fuad Yahya  Identity Verified
Arabic
+ ...
Good Response Jan 27, 2005

I am happy to report that one of the two known offenders has responded positively to my email. He promised to promptly remove all of the plagiarized material. I will watch and see.

The other offender has not responded yet. I will update you on developments.


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:54
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jan 27, 2005

Thanks for all your helpful comments.

I'm going to sit on it for a day or two and see what I think then.

I hope that the translator in question has seen this forum and will do the right thing and remove the copied text from his site.

All the best,
Amy


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:54
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Great Jan 27, 2005

That's great, Fuad. Keep us posted.

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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
I have a better one... Jan 27, 2005

A ProZ member contacted me a while back offering his freelance services in his language pairs. As I was about to reply to let him know I am not a translation agency, I thought I would take a peek at his Proz page...only to find out entire chunks had been copied from my Proz page, format and all. I wrote to let him know this was entirely unacceptable and to immediately delete the sections in question. He wrote back to apologize profusely and to assure me he would do just that. Next I checked there were still a few sentences that were identical to mine, so I wrote again to request they be deleted. He wrote back to apologize some more and assured me he would take care of it immediately. If memory serves me, I did verify he honored his promise. I suppose I should take a look to be sure that is still the case.

Moral of this tale, if you're going to plagiarize a colleague...do not draw attention to yourself by contacting them looking for work!

Good luck,

Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator EUTI
sgalilea@ispwest.com
www.accentonspanish.com


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:54
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
some references Jan 28, 2005

see my post at:
http://www.proz.com/post/196373#196373

my articles there should provide additional references on legal aspects of electronically distributed information.

Jeff
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/


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Fuad Yahya  Identity Verified
Arabic
+ ...
Success again Jan 28, 2005

Amy Williams wrote:

Keep us posted.


At his request, I sent the Farsi translator a list of the material that he had plagiaraized and that needs to be pulled out of his website. He sent me a thank you note and promised to remove plagiarized material within a few days. I will give him one week.

The other plagiarizer never replied to my email, but when I checked his website, I found that he had pulled the whole content out. All that remains is a blank page with his name on it. I will send him a thank you note for responding so quickly.


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:24
English to Tamil
+ ...
Congrats Fuad Jan 29, 2005

Happy to learn that your problem has been sorted out. Relax and I will help you relax with a joke.

There was this student, who had answered 9 out of 10 questions correctly and yet the teacher gave him a big zero. The boy's mother approached the teacher and demanded an explanation. The teacher patiently explained that her boy had copied from the boy sitting by his side.

As justification of his allegation he said that the answers given by the two boys were identical in all respects for the 9 correctly answered questions.

The mother of the accused boy pointed out that possibly the other boy had copied from her son. Whereupon the teacher admitted that he too had the same possibility in mind at the beginning and this doubt persisted till the 10th question.

The other boy gave the following answer to the 10th question: "I do not know the answer to this question" and this lady's son had entered the answer: "Me too."

Have a great weekend!

Regards,
N.Raghavan


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Aleksandr Okunev
Local time: 21:54
English to Russian
Why worry? Feb 19, 2005

Amy Williams wrote: I was pretty shocked to find that a large chunk of the FAQ page had been lifted from the FAQ text on my site.

I would put a notice requesting the lifters to link to your site and would exchange links. You consider your site well-designed and useful, I think so too, the lifter is at least capable of realizing this, so why start wars? They are a waste of time.
I would love to have my Proz profile copied, I would even help to do so because most of them are quite dull, and I would be flattered out of my senses if pals would borrow some or all of my ideas, and I would benefit from borrowing theirs, because as a common dummy I tend to repeat the same design mistakes over and over again.
The limit is the issue, everyone sets his/her own, please, forget it and move on.
Cheers,
Alex
http://www.accurussian.net
http://unfe.narod.ru
http://www.mahorka.com
http://autocamping.narod.ru


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