Help please. Someone stole my web content

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ning Wong, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. Ning Wong

    Ning Wong Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,

    I found out that someone STOLE my web site design, content, source, code, everything.

    The website is for a hospital that I designed. I took the pictures, edited them, wrote the code, made the graphics, wrote the copy.

    Well, tonight I found out that someone stole my EXACT design.

    I have an agreement w/the hospital that I have the contract to make the webpage. BUt one of the doctors does not like me, so he bought in another person who is "professional" to make the webpage. This "professional" stole my design and made his own page to compete w/mine.

    It has the same exact misspellings, graphics, copy. EXACT word for word.

    The hospital has not paid a dime on the page, yet I am always making corrections and updates on it. They are over 1.5 months overdue on payment.

    So what can I do? I am so pissed off right now.
     
  2. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    First suggestion: Start getting screen shots and document your "competitor's" website immediately.

    Then do the same to yours. Document and archive all your current source and beta code and burn it to cd/dvd for permanent record. Make sure you do not update the "Last Date Modified" on any old files. Include any written records and contracts with the hospital. You may need this to show you developed certain code before your competitor put his work on Public Display.

    Second suggestion: Get a business lawyer immediately that is familiar with web practices. During this process, learn about copyrights and legal protections for your future web work.

    Good Luck. I'm definitely no expert in the field, but I would think this would be fairly commonplace. The web is an open place and some "business people" can be unscrupulous. Actually, these folks are not "business people", but frauds and cheats that give free markets a bad name.

    Let us know how you do.
     
  3. Tim Johnson

    Tim Johnson Agent

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    Well, depending on your contract with the hospital it is possible there is nothing you can do about it. Unless the contract specifically states that you retain full copyright and full control over the site it will probably be considered a "work for hire" by your states laws. If that is the case then the site and all related images and design elements belongs to the hospital and they can bring in as many "professionals" as they want to work on it.

    However, if you were able to retain full control of all the images, design elements and code you may have a chance to get the offending site removed.
     
  4. Aurel Savin

    Aurel Savin Supporting Actor

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    Ning ... sounds like the design duties were given over to another designer and at the moment he is just doing updates.

    I work in web design as well, and like Tim said, your work belongs to them as long as they paid for it.

    Have worked on several projects myself that were taken over from other designers that the client was not happy with and their design was still on the site until I finished with my revisions.
     
  5. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    I would say, that since the hospital has not paid you for your work, it still belongs to you. If they are willing to pay you for your work, then I wouldn't worry about this guy stealing your code (as aggravating as it may be). However, if they won't pay it's time to take action. It sounds like perhaps they like your work but are kicking themselves for agreeing to pay you for your work. So maybe they brought in someone cheaper who just promptly took your work. Essentially the hospital can eat their cake and have it too.
     
  6. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    this one is a little tough. if the hospital paid you for the website, they should rightly retain rights to it. sort of like intellectual property.

    but, they haven't paid you anything yet. that's where i think it'll get tricky. i'm not sure what recourse you have now - if it's worth it to you at least get a consultation from a business lawyer.

    i had a similar thing happen at my previous job. we hired a heavy-hitter programmer to fly in from texas to do some programming. later on, we had one of our internal guys come in and tweak his work - tbh, he (the internal guy) did a better job in the long-run. however, the consultant flipped out and tried to sue us. i'm not sure what the final outcome was, but i know we never heard from him again, and afaik, no litigation was brought on us.
     
  8. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i dunno jeff. i see your distinction between being an employee and a contractor, but i would think the end result is the same?

    i'm paying you for some product or service. if you wrote me a book on the best anime of all time (hey...that's actually a good idea [​IMG] ) then i would think i should be allowed to do whatever i want with that book.

    anyway, i'm certainly no business lawyer and unfortunately ning's position is even more complicated since he hasn't been paid.
     
  10. Joel Mack

    Joel Mack Cinematographer

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  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    now that's just silly joel. [​IMG]

    using something that i paid for and claiming it as my own are two different things.
     
  12. Aurel Savin

    Aurel Savin Supporting Actor

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  13. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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  14. Ning Wong

    Ning Wong Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi guys

    Thanks for your responses.

    The only reason why I am still doing work for them is because I have worked w/them extensively in the past, and while they do pay late, they do pay.

    And I am A LOT cheaper than the "professional". I know this for a fact.

    I talked to the CEO of the hospital (one of my primary contacts for the web site), and he told me he was not aware of this, and that he will speak to them about this and get back to me. Let's see how this goes. I do not want to involve lawyers yet.

    My primary goal is for the hospital to realize that the other "professional" company are sleazebags for stealing my site. That way they know what they are dealing with as well. My secondary goal is to get them to take the site off.

    In my contact, I own 100% of content, until they pay me. So right now I own 100% of the site. I do not work for hte hospital, I work for myself.

    Anyway, i am kind of rambling here, but I do appreciate all your guys' advice.
     
  15. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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  16. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    If the doctor did go outside the normal channels then that doctor can be in some major trouble (unless the doctor is paying for it himself).

    Why it it doctors can't just be doctors anymore???
     
  17. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    What did your contract with the hospital stipulate ? If you did not have a contract, then you should seriously consider it before beginning any more free-lancing. You can make some decent money with gentlemen's agreement from honest people, but it only takes one jerk to burn you bad.

    It sounds like you're a decent programmer, it is now time to kick your business acumen up a notch !
     
  18. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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