Online Thieves

September 17, 2007 Posted by Tyler Cruz

“A thief believes everybody steals.” — Edward W. Howe

I’ve had this blog post on my list for close to half a year, but kept putting it off because it angered me too much to think about it.

I’ll get right to the point and start right off the bat with an example.

Below is a screenshot of my site MMAForums.net:

And below is a screenshot of the site TheMMABoards.com:

As you can see, there seems to be quite the resemblance. And it appears that both of us decided to use the same forumstatus icon. What a coincidence!

Oh, but wait. Didn’t I make that forumstatus icon myself? Oh, and didn’t I take it from my logo?:

Oh wait, that’s right, YES I DID. I also paid good money for that custom logo, not to mention wrote a long and descriptive outline of what I wanted and worked with the designer to produce a great logo.

But Mr. Gordon Bussiere (WHOIS Information) could care less. The Internet is a free-for-all and who cares if I steal your images and content. What are you going to do about it? Right?

It appears Gordon lives very close to me too, right on the mainland:

   Gordon Bussiere (QCI_Whois Privacy and Spam Prevention by DomainTools.com)
   +1.6045074344
   Fax: +1.6045074344
   57-15968 82ave
   Surrey, B.C. V4N0S9
   CA

What’s interesting is that a couple of the hardcore members on my forum also live in the Vancouver area… hmm… maybe we could arrange something… ;)

Just kidding, while I love MMA, I don’t condone ‘street fighting’ or any violence or harassment. MMA belongs in a supervised ring, not out on the streets.

I’m a very nice guy, one of the nicest you’ll ever meet if you ever meet me in person, but even if I wasn’t, is there really anything you can do to people who steal your content?

Now, this isn’t the first time that somebody has stolen something of mine. Heh, far from it. In fact, this is actually one of the minor cases. I’ve had several instances where people have blatantly ripped off absolutely everything, they’d purchase a very similar domain name, run a forum like mine, copy word-for-word the titles and descriptions of everything, then have their design and layout virtually identical to mine.

The sad fact is that there’s not really much you can do about it. I mean, sure, you can e-mail the guy or give him a nasty phone call but what will that do? People who blatantly steal other people’s stuff aren’t going to naturally be the most friendly people to deal with.

You could e-mail their host and try to complain, but that doesn’t even work most of the time, especially if they’re on a dedicated server.

The only real thing you can do is contact a lawyer and have them handle things. But unless you’re dealing with a very large site, this is almost never worth doing since the lawyer fees will almost never be close to being worth it.

Why doesn’t the Internet have as many rights for people with intellectual rights that offline, ‘real-life’ does? If a mom-and-pop store stole the logo from their competitor’s in a neighbouring city, it’s much easier to pursue legal action than online.

Again, the sad fact is that there’s very little one can do about it unless you have a contractual partnership with a lawyer or in-house lawyers, or the opposing website at fault is a large company themselves.

So, yeah, this is really just a vent post. I really hate thieves. One day I will have lawyers at arms reach and I will punish all of these copycats, mark my words.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: September 17th, 2007 under Articles  

21 Responses to “Online Thieves”

  1. nusuni says:

    “Why doesn’t the Internet have as many rights for people with intellectual rights that offline, ‘real-life’ does?”

    Because the Internet is more of a worldwide thing. While you can file takedowns and such for people in other countries, or even other states, trying to sue them is another matter entirely. Going after that stupid store in the next town is much easier than going after some fool over in China, whether it is in real life or not.

    On the Internet, two websites might be neighbors but are on opposite ends of the Earth, in real life two neighboring businesses are literally next to each other.

  2. jimmy says:

    Seems like they blacked out the image to not show the hand anymore. I think i hear an update coming along :)

  3. Click Input says:

    Dont give them a back link man

  4. Aaron says:

    That’s definitely very annoying. I suppose people will just have to live with it until for the time being. Though the introduction of ID cards could probably make enforcing things on the internet easier. But then I’m not sure if I’m for ID cards. :(

  5. Ulchie says:

    go to one of the free legal forms websites and find a copy of a copyright infringement notice. Alter it to sound more sepecific to your case. Then mail it (registered legal mail from Canada Post – it requires a signature upon delivery) and if you mail that to his host and his personal address it might be enough. It will cost less than $20 dollars to do in total and you will probably be successful as it is registered legal mail and it is a legal document telling him to take it down. It works better than an email… if he doesn’t take it down, his host might when faced with legal challenges.

  6. gotalkmoney says:

    Yeah, I agree with the others, I wouldn’t even give him the backlink. So many people online aren’t creative and instead of finding someone to do something for them, they figure they will tweak another website design and hoping that owner never notices.

    I would just shoot him a friendly e-mail and ask him kindly to change the design. I don’t think it would be worth the lawyer fees.

  7. SMM Guru says:

    I am sending a few email out to some people I know, I will shoot you an email if I succeed with what I am doing. I might be able to shut him right down for you. (Legally)

  8. SMM Guru says:

    Hey, I got an email back today with some info. In order for any further action you have to ho through their DMCA form.

    This is something you will have to fill out here:
    http://www.theplanet.com/about_us/legal_docs/ThePlanet%20Copyright%20Infringement%2001%2015%2007%20FINAL.pdf

  9. I had this happen to me on another site. The other site was so small and obviously crap it didn’t bother me though.

  10. Gyutae Park says:

    That’s really unfortunate. People seem to think the Internet is a free-for-all and they can steal anything they want. Hopefully that’ll change in the future.

  11. Yea lol remove the link to them

  12. themmaboards says:

    Alright I am an assistant administrator of the forum http://www.themmaboards.com and no I am not fooling anyone. Someone
    came on the boards starting to spam some of our threads with this article and say there was going to be legal action
    being put against us. I am not the main administrator of the site so I have nothing to do with the copyright infrigment
    of these icons. But all I can say is sorry to you and we can possibly agree to take these icons out without any of this
    legal actions.

    And I do not appreciate you or one of your loyal members spamming the boards with this blog under the name
    “DrunkenWul”.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      That was not me, nor had I any knowledge that anybody had done that… although I think it’s sweet somebody cared enough to do so.. even though I’m against spamming :)

      Anyhow, you should remove those stolen images regardless.

  13. themmaboards says:

    Mr. Cruz will you please explain this logo:

    http://www.healthynewage.com/images/taebo2.jpg

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Billy Blanks stole my logo!

      Hmm – definitely a resemblance, but I doubt my designer copied that. After all, a fist punching with an explosion effect is a very common thing. There are a lot of fist images on most MMA sites and you’re going to have similar images obviously.

      Anyhow, why are you avoiding the fact that you are allowing your forum to steal other’s images?

PeerFly

Leave a Reply