Plagiarism = Flattery? My website copied...

J

JerryStem

#1
A friend over the weekend pointed out a photography website for a couple in Louisville KY (about 1.5hrs away). They had copied my site almost word for word...

I remember talking to this guy earlier this year at an event I was working. Guess he was taking notes. I had been told someone was "ripping me off" but I thought they just meant the same type of photography & event photography. Couldn't care less about that, expected it 2 years ago. But to find this guy just cut-n-pasting my text, whole pages worth?

Example for weddings:
----------------------------------------------
Mine:
Looking for an affordable alternative to the high priced photographers you've probably seen elsewhere?
Don't want to start your married life off already thousands of dollars in the hole?
Maybe you'd rather spend your hard earned/saved money on other things, but still get great pictures of your wedding day???

Well then...

My wife & myself will sit down with you & put together a package that you can afford, but still get great images. I'll show you some of the packages I've put together for other clients & the proofs from their weddings, the prices they payed, & we'll go from there...

Why spend $100's of dollars on a photographer's package that doesn't even include a print for yourself?? Spend $300 on my plan & get photo's costing $600 or typically more from elsewhere... I have their prices to prove it! (Why spend $35 on an 8x10 when you can have one for $10?)

Check out the prices elsewhere on this site...

I do this more as a love of photography, not just a business. Therefore I can drastically cut costs for you & still make a small profit to make it worth my time. Shop around, please, then give me a call when you've decided! You won't regret it.

----------------------------------------------
His:
* Looking for an affordable alternative to the high priced photographers you’ve probably seen elsewhere?
* Don’t want to start your married life off already thousands of dollars in the hole?
* Maybe you’d rather spend your hard earned/saved money on other things, but still get great pictures of your wedding day???

My wife & myself will sit down with you & put together a package that you can afford, but still get great images. I’ll show you some of the packages I’ve put together & we’ll go from there…

Why spend $100’s of dollars on a photographer’s package that doesn’t even include a print for yourself?? Spend $300 on my plan & get photo’s costing $600 or typically more from elsewhere.

I do this more as a love of photography, not just a business. Therefore I can drastically cut costs for you & still make a small profit to make it worth my time. Shop around, please, then give me a call when you’ve decided! You won’t regret it.
----------------------------------------------

And that's just one page. Actually that's an entire page as well. Same phrases, same prices, same little jokes in paranthesis, EVERYTHING!

I guess my question is do i have right to be :mad: ? I posted this on a big model/photographer site in the forums & had mostly people saying his version looked prettier so get over it...

A few have talked about copyright but I have a feeling it would cost more $ to fight it than I would ever win.

Anyone have thoughts?

Jerry:evidence:
 
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Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
A friend over the weekend pointed out a photography website for a couple in Louisville KY (about 1.5hrs away). They had copied my site almost word for word...

I remember talking to this guy earlier this year at an event I was working. Guess he was taking notes. I had been told someone was "ripping me off" but I thought they just meant the same type of photography & event photography. Couldn't care less about that, expected it 2 years ago. But to find this guy just cut-n-pasting my text, whole pages worth? ........
My opinion is to take it to court or try and resolve it with the person. Plagiarism is an unacceptable practice. You have every right to be :mad:

Do you think this might cut into your piece of the pie? Can you prove that it was yours?
 
S

silly girl

#3
Sometimes a cease and desist letter from a lawyer will clear the situation right up. It may be true that you don't actually want to go to court, but fear of legal entanglement is a powerful motivator. Of course, doing this in and of itself will cost you, but it also might solve the problem quickly... a lawyer would better be able to advise you as well.

On a personal note, I too would be angry to see something like this - especially in connection to business.

Silly Girl
 
M

Murphys Law

#4
Unless they are stealing business from you, I would try to forget about it the legal route. The wording isn't significantly proprietory to the success of your or their business.

Being 1.5 hours travel distance it is unlikely to be direct competitor to you, as photographers tend to be geographic in nature. If he was in the same town as yours and using the same wording, it would be a different matter.

If they'd blatently copied your trademark or selling your photographs off as thier own, that would be a different matter.

Bit of a bummer but I wouldn't go down the legal route unless you want to spend the dollars without a tangible return. So he changes his wording, so what.

All he is doing is copying your product and pricing but being unethical in the website site communication. It is technically plagarism but hurt to you businesswise has not been that great.

Remember the adage : don't get mad get even. If you have the energy, you could directly compete against him by beating him with your products and service instead. Give an incentive to anybody in that area who to switch business to you!! instead of using a lawyer, work with a PR rep to get an article into the local paper that services his area. Newspaper reports are lazy and having a story given to them, helps them fill the quiet days.
It will embarass him and possibly give you new business as people like to be fair. If you don't want to travel there, get a partner in that area.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#5
Sometimes a cease and desist letter from a lawyer will clear the situation right up. It may be true that you don't actually want to go to court, but fear of legal entanglement is a powerful motivator. Of course, doing this in and of itself will cost you, but it also might solve the problem quickly... a lawyer would better be able to advise you as well.

On a personal note, I too would be angry to see something like this - especially in connection to business.

Silly Girl
A cease and desist letter from a lawyer may help, but this is very, very common. Unless they have actually copied the majority of a site, I doubt much, if anything, will happen. It is the way things are on the internet and they have been this way for a number of years.
 
J

JerryStem

#6
Thanx for the input. He's copied at least 4 pages/topics (portraits, weddings, events, even the "about us" page!). Like >75% of each page is mine. He at least changed his name & email address...:rolleyes:

I'm not too concerned about the competition, 1.5hrs is enough. The only concern is the events. I've been doing events that he would likely try to get for 2-3 years though, my name is out there fairly well. Local people portraits, he can have them.

I laughed when I read thru his site, reading all the words I debated on years ago (it's the oldest site I maintain, first done around 1996 & it shows unfortunately). He even kept the "about us" page like mine ("my wife and I ...").

I didn't think the legal route was that great an idea, too much $ for too little return. I know a little about copyright but if he's not using my photos it's not that big to me.

I just checked, he's actually changed his wording a little after my email. Maybe that was enough, after a few days to think about it.

Jerry
(I liked the news story idea...)
 
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