Re: What do I do?


Steve Summit (
Thu, 15 May 1997 08:14:22 -0700 (PDT)

Vince Cheng wrote:
> I keep the Mountain Biking FAQ and I have found a commercial site at
> that is using my FAQ without telling me or
> giving me any credits... I'm quite mad and I'm thinking about going
> with some legal action here.

I don't blame you a bit. My blood's vicariously boiling (and I
thought nothing could aggravate me more than junk e-mail).

> There is no questino about it, the FAQ is
> mine and I put the little copyright thing at the end of it. What do you
> guys think I should do?

Definitely, definitely, definitely take legal action. Do not
take it lying down, do not let them get away with it, do not let
anyone tell you that you have no real recourse or that your case
is weak. It's an open-and-shut case: they *have* appropriated
and republished your copyrighted information, without your
permission and against your wishes. This is *WRONG*! It is
precisely what the copyright laws say they must not do;
protecting your right to control the copying and distribution of
your creative output is precisely what copyright is for.
(Furthermore, note that under the Berne Convention none of this
has anything to do with your explicit copyright notice; what
they're doing would be precisely as wrong even if you hadn't
included a notice.)

Several people have suggested a cease-and-desist letter, and
they're right. Furthermore, I'm thinking you could send a pretty
convincing one without spending a cent: I'm sure that a few of us
(conveniently, with U.S. addresses) could draft something
beginning with "We represent Vincent Cheng..." which would have
results just as swift and effective as a real lawyer's letter.
(Or are there laws against impersonating a lawyer?) My reading
on this situation is that these guys are not big-league, hardened
copyright violators; they're just some grotty little bike shop.
I seriously doubt they'll fight this; I bet they'll roll over
in a hurry.

If, for whatever reason, you find yourself needing to retain a
real lawyer, be sure to let us know; I know that I for one would
instantly chip in at least US$10 for your expenses, since you
shouldn't have to spend lots of your own real money to defend
something you've created for love instead of money.

Steve Summit