Stolen website. …Compliment or Crime?
This week we were notified that one of our customers websites (Gold Leaf Supplies) had been copied and was being used by one of their competitors in China!
When we first discovered this, we couldn’t believe it… ‘Not Again!’ we cried. It can be quite disconcerting when someone copies your website.
When someone copies your website without your permission, they are infringing several copyright laws. They are not only stealing your website in general, but they are specifically abusing copyright of your design, coding, copyrighting and brand identity.
So once we confirmed that the website was a blatant copy of one that we’d built, we took immediate actions to try and close down the offending website.
We initially trawled through their website, noting areas that had been changed and areas that were untouched from the cloning. We then took screen snapshots of both the Gold Leaf site and the offending website to compare the aestheic design and highlight areas that were exact duplicates of imagery. Likewise we viewed the HTML source of both websites to highlight exact copied HTML coding. We then emailed this information to ourselves so that we had a record of when the copyright violation occurred. The next step was to investigate the website owner, web hosing company and domain name registrar by means of a Whois check on the domain name and IP addresses of the server.
Once all that information is compiled, a Cease and Desist order was sent out to the owner of the webiste and each facilitator of the website hosting (web hosting company, DNS host, domain name registrar). The facilitator of the website is legally obliged to investigate it, then they will try to contact the website owner, who has so many days to respond, and if they don’t respond then the web hosting company must close them down. …on this occasion it only took 24 hours to close the website!
This isn’t the first time we’ve had one of our websites duplicated and our hard work stolen. In fact we’ve had about half a dozen websites illegally copied over the last 11 years and we’ve had each one closed with a Cease and Desist order. A few years ago another client of ours (Valley Vets) had their website copied and this duplicate website it was being used for fraudulent purposes. One we had the Cease and Desist order enforced, the infringing website was closed down. The case caught the interest of Trading Standards and BBC’s X-Ray programme (Series 9, Episode 4), Daly Design was then interviewed that resulted in positive on-air exposure for Daly Design.
If you have one of your websites cloned, don’t fret, you can always enforce a Cease and Desist order to have the website terminated. But don’t forget, your website must’ve been pretty good for them to want to copy it in the first place and that’s one of the nicest compliments you can have for building such a great looking website!