Website plagarism

Op45's picture

Hi all,

I've just discovered a web design company in the Philippines has entirely copied my personal portfolio website and are using it as their own. I created mine a few months ago and a little while ago, I noticed a particular IP address in Manila had been downloading all the pages.

They've directly copied my code (even leaving in my analytics tracking code and my name in the image alt tags!) and used my graphics as well (icons, navigation, etc). They've also left in a photograph of my work in the slideshow on the front page.

My website is http://www.coullon.com and the one in question is http://www.wwmhosting.com/index.html

As I've never encountered this before, I was wondering if anyone knows anything I could do about it?

Thanks!

Claire

Edit for screenshot:

barkeep's picture

As they are using your images as well, I'd stitch them right up.

Create a new graphic stating something like "this website was stolen from.."
Name it the same as a few of your current images.
Upload it to your images directory
As they are linking to your images they get a nice new one telling everyone that they have stolen your code.
:-)

mike_duggan's picture

incredible! cheek. good luck in getting whoever is behind it, to take it down. your website is very nice btw

oldnick's picture

You can also try this...

http://altlab.com/htaccess_tutorial.html

which will, at least, protect your images from being hijacked.

blank's picture

This happens to everybody who builds custom web sites. It sucks, but there’s really not much you can do unless you have deep pockets and amazing lawyers, so just take the anger out at the gym and work on something productive.

Theunis de Jong's picture

It's still funny to see one of their "Competencies" is ... Web design! (Perhaps not so funny if you're the victim.)

Tell everybody you know these guys stole your design. Post it on your web site, in blogs, on Twitter. If you come across a discussion of site theft, hop in and say "Yah, that happened with me too". Don't forget to add all names you come across -- whois returns one Jojo Garcia bpgjr@yahoo.com as their administrative contact.

The purpose of this all? Well: if someone googles them by company name (or aforementioned Jojo Garcia), your comment on their 'competencies' will also come up. That ought to give possibly interested clients something to think about.

John Hudson's picture

Whatever other steps you take, the first thing you should do is document the plagiarism thoroughly. In addition to taking plenty of screenshots of the offending website, you should grab a copy of the entire site -- all html, css, image files etc. -- and burn it to a date-stamped CD.

Op45's picture

Thanks for all the responses.

I particularly like the "this website was stolen from" image idea - unfortunately they simply uploaded everything to their webspace directly (even some of my text is still there!)

The links are really useful, the freelanceswitch one has some good steps to follow that I wouldn't have thought of.

I've done what John suggested and burned a date-stamped CD and am writing up a cease & desist letter to see if that does anything. Of course, I've also followed Theunis' excellent suggestion which has already given Wanbol Web Media somewhat unflattering Google results.

Thanks again!

Ray Larabie's picture

I'd encorage my site visitors to have a look at the copied site and invite them to shower the plagiarist with sarcastic praise. Then I'd tout my site as "the site so good that people feel compelled to rip it off". After the novelty wears off, send your c&d to take it down. Sending your c&d too soon is a waste of a good punching bag.

butterick's picture

The google-shaming idea is the best. The cease and desist letter is a waste of time.

I once had a website that was stolen by a Las Vegas escort service. In that case I was able to persuade them to give it up (since it was at least plausible that I could take them to court)

apankrat's picture

Sending C&D letters is pointless. You have to solve this from another end.

Their website IP address is 174.132.225.245, which shows up as being under control of theplanet.com, which is a Texas-based company, which in turn is great news for you. All you need to do is send a free-form copyright violation notice to abuse@theplanet.com and they should be able to take care of taking the site down. This will not prevent Philippine clowns from moving the site elsewhere, but at least you can ensure they won't be hosting it in any civilized country.

Additionally, if you really want to press them, send a complaint to http://www.domainspricedright.com, which is the registrar of their domain name, and ask for the domain cancellation.

Op45's picture

Thanks a lot for the suggestions. They've replied to my letter apologizing saying they had no idea as they'd hired a freelancer in India to make it (obviously untrue as I noticed the same Manila IP address downloading pages over and over) and that they'd take the site down.

I'll wait until the 10 days time limit I gave runs out and then contact the hosting company if it's still up (thanks very much Alex for finding all that out).

In the meantime, it's funny to see the google results for anyone searching them.

Richard Fink's picture

Recently had some articles of mine swiped from both my blog AND an online publication.
No attribution, real punks.
+1 to what James Puckett said. You plays the game, you takes your chances.
Google Knows.

If not cathartic enough, take apankrat's and others' advice.
And good luck, too.

apankrat's picture

@Op45 - you are way too mellow with them. These 10 days you gave them will be at best spent on copying the site of some other unsuspecting designer.

Op45's picture

Quick update: the site got taken down a few days ago with a notice saying the company is closing down. (I guess it was probably too hard to bounce back from the negative publicity?) Naturally, I expect the person will probably start up again under another name, hopefully this time using a free template instead of someone else's work..

Thanks everyone for all the help and kind words!

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

An eye-opening thread. Wow.

blank's picture

Recently had some articles of mine swiped from both my blog AND an online publication.

I’ve noticed this happens with everything I write for ILoveTypography. From what I can tell they’re mostly the work of design and CS students (often in India) who use it as filler content for their site design and CMS projects. Google somehow comes across them and because the content matches some popular site they temporarily jump up in the search rankings. After a little while they either drop to an irrelevant rank or the semester ends.

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