Website Thieves in the Internet
by Dr. j l Scott
Sometimes I wonder if it's possible for ANY organization to
even make a dent in cleaning up the Internet. So many scams -
so many "business owners" who have no intention of treating
their customers with anything other than contempt - so much BS
And so much theft!
In the past month or so I have personally known
online business owners who have had their web sites stolen!
ENTIRE web sites - good GRIEF!
The first question is - WHY? Any 10 year old can build
a simple web site with an hour of training. It may not have
forms, fancy graphics or cgi scripts but it can be functional
- and it can work. If the learning curve is just too steep,
how many sites do you think there are where you can find free
There is no necessity for stealing someone else's web site!
Neither design, nor content. Of course, if you're using the
same 'ol hype on your site that everyone else is using - it's
sometimes a bit difficult to tell who stole what from whom.
Let that be lesson number 1!
Unfortunately, the theft itself is only the
beginning of the problem.
One victim was advised by several people to, "just leave it
alone, let it go."
In a pig's EAR! For one thing - why do we bother to copyright our
work if it isn't going to mean anything? For another - she
could soon find her own products stolen right along with the
If your site is stolen - you need to
get that stolen site OFF
In one of the instances mentioned above,
the product WAS
actually stolen - right along with the entire web site - and
was being sold by the thief. He even used the same credit card
provider as the real owner!
In addition to all this, the thief then proceeded to market
the product using "spam." Is this something you should just
"leave alone?" I don't think so!
Yet, even with all this -
the thief's web host REFUSED to ban the stolen site.
Even with undeniable evidence that the owner had both his
domain name and his site up first! Even though the thief had
been reported for "spam" by an outside source!
What to do next?
Start moving toward the Internet backbone. Even dedicated
servers have to get their connections someplace. Go to
http://network-tools.com/ and find out the next step toward that backbone. Then report
everyone under that connection who is refusing to do business
in an ethical manner.
Each Internet Service Provider is accountable
to the provider above them.
Don't think a web host has carte blanche to do as they
please! Moving toward the backbone is exactly what it took to
get this web host back in line. The stolen site came down.
At least it came down from THAT web host. The thief could
have just put it back up with another hosting company. Not
that it wouldn't be easy to find with the domain name in
place. So, the job wasn't finished.
The merchant account provider also had to be put on notice.
Think THAT was easy? Of course, at first the victim was just
blown off. Again - it took moving up through a hierarchy to
get the job done.
Once the right person was informed that the merchant account
provider could be held liable for assisting the sale of a
stolen product - they paid attention! The thief's account was
Now granted, all this took a lot of work - a lot of energy -
and a lot of stamina on the part of the victim. This victim is
a Charter Member of iCop. When he became aware of what had
happened - he wasn't sure how to proceed.
So - he asked for advice. More importantly, he followed the
advice. And most important of all - he hung in there until the
job was done!
Let it go? Well, I suppose you could. But how much are your web
site - your products - and your reputation worth to you?
Sidebar for September 2004 update by the author
jl scott, ph.d., Author
Copyright © 2000, All Rights Reserved
A copy of this article is available at: thieves@i-Cop.org
This article may be reprinted with permission by including the
following resource box:
dr. jl scott is the Founder of the International Council of
Online Professionals (iCop) - and also the publisher of the
Internet Marketing Trade Journal - the ezine that keeps you
up to date on Internet marketing coming of age.
----------------------------------------------------------- Article presented with
permission of the
the Author nor the publisher represent themselves to be
engaged in providing legal advice or professional services.
When, or if legal advice is required, it should be solicited
from a licensed professional.
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advises that things have changed considerably...
"Now we have the Millennium
Digital Copyright Act, and to file
complaints with web hosts, we
have to use Section 512(c) of
Each host is *supposed* to
have a designated agent for
Notification of Claims of
Infringement. The agents can
be found here:
Nearly all of them are
attorneys. If a host doesn't have
a registered agent, then we
start up the backbone until we
find the first one that does.
The verbiage of the claim is
supposed to include specific
information, which I believe
can be found in the Act. and
I believe most if the
information is here"
..jl Scott, September, 2004
It certainly seems to make
good sense for you to
Consider protecting your
work by inclusion of a
Publication of works created
after March 1, 1989 no longer
requires a copyright notice to
be attached in order to be
under US copyright
Even so, to bring a lawsuit
upon someone who is
illegally using your
it must first be registered
with the United States
Address: Library of Congress,
Washington, DC 20559-6000
(This comprehensive website
contains an expansive array
guides for protecting your
Most authorities recommend
that a copyright notice along
with terms of
use are posted
on your Web site to remind
others and to give yourself
additional protection in case
of a copyright dispute.
Here's an example:
© 2004, Your Business Name.
The material on this
site is protected by US
Copyright Laws and cannot
with out the express
written consent of the
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