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Attracting Lawsuits With Your Website

Jun 19, 2008
Every one has got a devil on their shoulder. They keep whispering these sultry things in our ears. For example if you have been online for sometime without being able to arrest any level of success, you could start listening. The small voice may nudge you to pick an already successful website, re-write it and pass it off as your own. You will soon be making money just like them, or so you think; "Slicing a website" is the slang for it.

Even more commonly, you or atleast your webmaster has very likely picked content, images or other creative materials from other websites, magazines or a variety of other media and used them without express permission of the owner. It is not uncommon to find webmasters searching for images in Google, to use in their clients' websites. Beware; ignorance of the law is no defense. If you did not provide the images or/and the content you should have proof of their source. Incase you are unsure of the originality and/or legality of the origin of your content, you are at risk of receiving a "Cease and Desist" letter.

Considering the work you "picked" is a creative, it means someone put effort, time, thought and even money into it. Using it without their express permission is akin to stealing something valuable. Yet probably only one thing has made the theft of creative works easier and rampant than the digital technology that allows easy duplication; and that is the internet. The internet not only creates easy access but also allows easy distribution of the stolen materials, even for profit. And when you pick a picture of a roaring lion from another website to spruce up your Travel website's logo, that is exactly what you are doing - stealing for profits.

Yet few things are more ludicrous as copying content from another website. With the current automated policing tools, it is no different from stealing a car from your neighbour down the road and parking it right outside your gate. And just like your neighbour would be, the owners of these copyrights are not finding these infringements amusing. Imitation may be the best form of flattery but they are not acting flattered. Infact they are increasingly fighting back.

Cease and Desist letters will soon keep arriving in more and more inboxes. The letter generally will notify you of infringing a copyright. It will demand you remove he material from you website. It could take it further by demanding you to account and pay the copyrights owner of any profits accrued from the infringement. And most often gives a notice, usually 24 hour to comply. Otherwise they notify the necessary authorities and establishments. These include your local copyrights office, your hosting company as well as search engines. Increasingly like credit card fraud, copyrights theft can result to serious repercussions. Such lawsuits are not things you want to deal with in your internet business.
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