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  #1  
Old 04-23-2008, 06:14 AM
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AmySueN AmySueN is offline
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Help! Accused of copyright infringement!

I've been accused of copyright infringement and had 2 pages taken down. I filed a Counter Notice and am waiting the 10-14 days for them to be put back up again, but in the meantime I'm worrying that I'll be sued also.

What can I do to prepare in case the other site sues? I don't have any record of when my pages went live - it was late Jan or early Feb and archive.org hadn't recorded them yet. My host could have done a time stamp before they were taken down but can't now. I write in Notepad then c/p to cPanel and delete my files once a page goes live.

To make it more complicated... the pages in question are a chart listing laundry detergents and their ingredients. Her page was put up in 2006 and had a certain number of detergents. When I did mine (doing my own research) I included the same ones PLUS more recently developed ones she didn't have. But she updated her page last month and added in the ones I had, so at this moment the pages are much more similar - through her efforts - than they were when I wrote my page. Unfortunately I have no way to prove when my pages were published.

Thoughts? Ideas? Am I SOL?
 
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  #2  
Old 04-23-2008, 06:20 AM
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suzjor suzjor is offline
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Where did you get the information when you did your own chart? Was it something easily found in other pages. I would begin printing out places where you were able to research those items to prove it didn't directly come from her site but other places. I had a friend who sort of went through the same thing but she was the one accusing and in my opinion was incorrect. She accused a site of obtaining the same information for their online restaurant directory. She was a print publication and was known for her complete restaurant directory. But this is information that anyone could obtain and had the freedom to place on their site or magazine. And thus, she could not prove they took it directly from her site. So you may fall under the same thing if you can prove you could find that information elsewhere via public information.

Good luck!!
 
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  #3  
Old 04-23-2008, 08:22 AM
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Thanks Suz! I got the info from all over - my laundry cupboard, the grocery store aisles, manufacturer sites, etc. It is info easily available to anyone willing to put the time and research into it.

As far as I know there are only 3 sites listing the same info: mine, hers and a third, which is why I think she's so freaked out about it. Makes me wonder why she didn't go after the 3rd site, their page went up within 6 mos of hers... I'm hoping if we do go to court that'll be taken into account.
 
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:08 AM
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The only issue I would see is if it looked exactly like hers - in the same order, design, etc. but if you can prove that anyone can obtain that information then she really doesn't have a leg to stand on. When I first started designing I made a breastfeeding site. Well some lady sent me a note saying that I was violating her copyright. And I didn't even know her site existed until about a few weeks before. I think people freak out with competition but just begin to document everything with regards to this.
 
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:46 AM
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Well, of course the detergents are in the same order: alphabetical. The chart isn't though, I made sure to make them different. I think she's just trying to bully me - everyone that's seen both pages has said they don't think she'd have a case. (crossing fingers!)
 
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  #6  
Old 04-23-2008, 09:48 AM
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Even though I haven't seen them I believe the same thing. Alphabetical is common. geesh...some people!
 
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  #7  
Old 04-23-2008, 11:23 AM
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No kidding. The sucky thing is that by registering the complaint she got my pages taken down - no questions asked.
 
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:36 PM
m42 m42 is offline
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Have you or your hosting provider been doing nightly or weekly backups since your page went up? Backups are timestamped.
 
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  #9  
Old 04-23-2008, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m42 View Post
Have you or your hosting provider been doing nightly or weekly backups since your page went up? Backups are timestamped.
There is also the timestamp on the file when it was uploaded or modified.

If you uploaded it before hers and it was not modified then your server timestamp would be older than hers.

Hopefully they did not delete your file but merely moved it offline.
 
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Old 04-23-2008, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScriptMan View Post
There is also the timestamp on the file when it was uploaded or modified.

If you uploaded it before hers and it was not modified then your server timestamp would be older than hers.

Hopefully they did not delete your file but merely moved it offline.
Thought about that. Odds are she's modified it since posting it. Backups will show the progression of changes and corroborate her story.
 
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  #11  
Old 04-23-2008, 04:05 PM
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Thats a Really bad pickle your in best thing I can do is to wait and see if archive.org can help I will pray ya don't get sued because that would be major bux. What is the other site if you don't mine saying
 
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  #12  
Old 04-23-2008, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m42 View Post
Thought about that. Odds are she's modified it since posting it. Backups will show the progression of changes and corroborate her story.
I haven't done any backups (although I do know better) and can ask if my host has. I did modify the file so the latest time stamp won't show when the file was uploaded. I'll also ask if they deleted the files or moved it.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Jacob, the site is pinstripesandpolkadots.com
 
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  #13  
Old 05-01-2008, 05:05 AM
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host your site in a less regulated country, and get a tld to match. also optimise your sites for thorough search engine indexing and use archive.org to prove that your site had the content before any other
 
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Old 05-01-2008, 05:21 AM
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it'll all come out in the wash



what?
 
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  #15  
Old 05-01-2008, 07:04 AM
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Thanks for the ideas, Wing Chun. I'm very happy with my host and would really not move (what's tld?) and the page was only about 2 mos old so archive.org hadn't indexed it yet. I'm doing my best optimizing - if you see something I can do better I'm all ears!
 
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  #16  
Old 05-01-2008, 09:53 AM
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Did the accuser have anything registered with a copyright office? If not, it's very hard to win such cases in court. And copyright is supposed to apply to creative expression. Statistics rarely count as expression. So unless your charts look absolutely identical, i.e., color scheme, layout, etc., the accuser doesn't have a knockdown case. As you know, the ISP is just following standard procedure by taking your pages down. That could happen to anyone accused by someone who makes a big enough stink (since ISPs are also liable for infringement). In the end, no one "owns" a list of detergents unless it's presented in some artistic manner for some purpose, and you use that exact or indubitably similar expression. I haven't seen the graphs, but I'm guessing they don't have much of a case and are trying to scare you into taking your pages down.
 
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  #17  
Old 05-01-2008, 10:03 AM
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My thoughts exactly, Ed. But in the meantime my pages are down and theirs are up. Grrrrr! I have a nice blog post planned once the pages go back up again.
 
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  #18  
Old 05-01-2008, 10:16 AM
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Hmmm . . . I can't really help you fighting this simply because I haven't faced this before.

But I don't really see her case.

You said you have a table of detergents and their ingredients. Well, I can find that info if I looked at every box as well. So how can she say you "stole" her information or that you "copied" her?

This information is public . . . I don't think she really has a case against you at all.

It would be like me listing the specs of various computers and another computer website suing me over copyright infringement. Just doesn't make sense.

That other website doesn't own the specs or created them in the first place. Specs are listed in similar ways all over the internet.

The issue is this: Did she come up with the table/list on her own, by herself (i.e. is this 100% unique information created by her)? No. She probably did what you did - by reading it off labels and categorizing it in a similar way. So that work isn't her own but rather really owned by the companies (though they aren't anal about it being reproduced.)

So how can she sue you? In my opinion she can't.

Disclaimer: I'm no lawyer so take everything said with a huge grain of salt.

Skinny
 
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  #19  
Old 05-01-2008, 11:41 AM
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Skinny, those were my thoughts as well, but it's still scary to get hit with a notice like that out of the blue. I think she's pissed because her page has been up since 2006 and mine is new but if you Google "detergent chart" I'm right on her heels. I also think she was trying to bully me, but it won't work.
 
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  #20  
Old 05-01-2008, 12:08 PM
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You can not (C) facts.
You can (C) the presentation of said facts.

Make sure your design, layout, and structure do not copy theirs and you are fine.
 
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