Re: What do I do?


Paola Kathuria (
Thu, 15 May 1997 17:22:04 +0100

Steve Summit wrote:
> 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...
> [...]
> > 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.

Yup. I mailed the list a while ago about my experience with copyright
infringement by magazine publishers but it should help again now.

Two years ago I found that the list of UK Internet companies that I
maintain and posted was starting to appear in net magazines without
my permission, any credit, the copyright notice and without reference
to the net versions. I got conflicting advice about my rights - which
was in itself upsetting (a net journalist told me that anything
published on the net was "more than in the public domain"). I posted to
a UK news group and asked for recommendations of a UK lawyer who knew
about copyright and the net and was directed to a firm who later became
our company's solicitors.

They sent cease-and-desist type letters on my behalf to the 2
publishers. I had wanted a printed apology in the next issue and a
pointer to my web site containing the full list. I was persuaded to
also ask for monetary compensation with the reasoning that people will
not usually accept all the conditions and will feel better if they can
refuse a part of it. If people refused to pay money, I would get
the apology I wanted. The letter asked for #200 (~$300). The bigger
publisher wrote to apologise and sent a cheque for #300. The other
didn't reply. The first letter (two years ago) cost me #60 and the
second #40, I think. I also paid #70 for a proper copyright notice
(at for the compilation.

A few months later, the compilation appeared in yet another magazine,
this time by a rather large publisher. I decided to e-mail them myself
and I asked for their usual page-rate in compensation, which they
agreed to as well as the apology the following issue. When it happened
again last year with another publisher, I was again successful in
getting a mailed and printed apology.

I ended up paying #250 in legal costs and received #300 in compensation
but it was a very distressing time when considering the audacity for
someone to take something in broad daylight, as if I wouldn't notice and
was too stupid to do anything about it.

The copyright notice prepared by the solicitor produced a marked
difference: people started phoning me to ask permission to reprint the
list in newsletters, etc. The last year it has become less imposing and
the web page version has progressed from having a bigger copyright notice
on every page to a prominent notice at the top of the main pages. This,
although not legally necessary, has again made a difference as people
now phone/mail to ask if they can buy the list (I refuse) since people
are using it to send ads to Internet companies.

I hope this helps.