Jun 28, 2007

A Lesson In Copyright Infringement

I guess not everyone in the universe knows that it's not legal or even nice to steal the work of others. Since the beginning of ScrapBiz, I have repeatedly reminded members to NOT copy and paste things like product photos or verbage from other's sites. We also talk a lot about copyrights and what they are and aren't. I try to be a person of honesty and integrity and expect others to be the same. Some people must have missed that day in Kindergarten, though.

The image above is from the very wonderful online community - The ScrapSpot. The bottom of the web page, which she had custom designed says this:
All content copyright The Scrap Spot™ 2005-2006 All rights are reserved. No material may be reproduced electronically or in print without written permission from The Scrap Spot™.
I know for a fact that this page is NOT a template purchased from another site. It was custom-designed just for The ScrapSpot and therefore is 100% theirs.

Apparently, the other business either failed to scroll down to the bottom of the page, or pretended not to see it. Because, they felt justified in completely ripping off the ScrapSpot's page - right down the tiniest detail. Oh, I am SURE she justified herself by saying, "But, I moved this and this and this." Doesn't matter - close enough. The MAJORITY of the page is exactly the same.

The Web is a big place and people probably think they can get away with this. The ScrapSpot is in California (although she is an online community so her customers are not just Californians) and the copycat is CLEAR ACROSS THE COUNTRY in a similar warm state. It's a store so it's customers ARE local. I am sure they never thought anyone would know. The Web is big, but the scrapbook industry is small.

In an industry of "artists" where "scraplifting" is nearly punishable by death, I find it interesting that "site lifting" happens on a regular basis (and it does - this isn't the first time I've seen this). Are people THAT uneducated about laws? Makes me wonder how they will do in their business if they lack integrity in something so basic. She should have just named her store THE SCRAP SPOT - it would have saved her some time tinkering with the logo...

Oh, and my husband wanted me to add: I'm not an attorney and this is my opinion only (men... they take away all your fun!)


Anonymous said...

It's not just graphics and website design that you need to worry about --- you also have to protect your text as well. You work hard at coming up with the exact wording that best describes your business and to have someone steal those words is infuriating.

I discovered someone who lifted my verbage by using this online tool: www.copyscape.com You enter your URL and the tool will search the web for any site that copied your site. And it's free.

Just thought I'd share.

americanmom said...

That's pretty sad. Even if you're not familiar with copyright laws, it seems your moral compass should tell you "I can't do that". So much for scrappers being Creative and Original, LOL! And thanks pam for sharing your tip re: copyscape.com; I will check that out!