Some say that plagiarism is a form of flattery. I call it outright intellectual property theft. A nasty form of disrespect that seems to have become all too common these days. And I'm sick of it. And here is what I'm going to do...
Lazy or just Stupid?
Photo by H. Michael Karshis
As our work becomes more well known we are finding that people are copying material that is protected by the basic law of intellectual property copyright. Some business owners have the gall to contact us with endless emails and phone calls, ask countless questions and basically waste huge amounts of our time, then turn around and copy our work. One guy even bragged about hiring a cheap web designer and sending them to our demo website for ideas. His website designer was so lazy they cut and pasted our html code directly into the site they built for him! Some copycats have gone as far as signing up for our service, attempt to get into our proprietary technology and then demanding a refund when they find they can't get access to our source code. One even repeatedly attempted to hack into our servers as soon as they were issued a username and password. Stupid at best.
Protected by law
Sure there is the legal route as intellectual property is protected by law. But it costs big money to drag people through the courts. After some reflection I have decided that the court of public opinion and the resulting social reputation will be far more effective.
So what we are going to do?
- nicely request removal of all material from the website that violates our copyright (from experience mostly a waste of time);
- set up a 'Hall of Shame' page on our website with the offender's name, website, and evidence of the offense;
- contact the offender's web host and request that their website be taken off-line (bye, bye website);
- contact all search engines that contain the offending web pages and request that they be purged from their database (bye, bye SEO);
- post reviews on any social media website that mentions their name (bye, bye reputation).
I'm sure this will get their attention! If you have any doubt about how effective this will be just think about how much people love to gossip. Often these stories go viral and have a powerful impact. And they live forever on the web. If you are not so sure check out my post on the legacy of social media.
Some have questioned whether this might be considered defamation. According to the definition defamation must be a false claim or just groundless criticism. If you find someone's name on this page rest assured that the parties mentioned are guilty and have been given lots of opportunity to reverse their sins...
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Wikipedia.org/wiki/Slander, sourced on 2009-11-02.