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View Full Version : Anyone else experiencing copyright and plagiarism issues?


kerriparker
12-09-2010, 10:30 PM
Hi all, I wonder if anyone can help.

I am experiencing high levels of plagiarism and copyright issues at the moment and am looking for some advice - I am seeing solicitors this week so I know that would be your first bit of advice, however wanted to know if anyone had anything similar happen to them.

I have several new companies copying me - I run my own Academy for models which is now the UK's largest model training school, and run monthly Model Tutorial Days which are training events which have now been franchised to studios across the UK and have been running for almost a year and a half now (the academy for two years)

I told a friend in the industry I was going through the paper work to register model tutorial days as a ltd company now they are a nationwide brand with weekly events, and suddenly one of his friends registers it and buys all similar web domains to mine (bearing in mind they have never run a training event before or anything similar!) and he suggests he buys it from them for a nominal sum and sells it back to me. The friend has now said I have no right to use this name for my brand as they own the limited company and want me to change it - of course I won't and will happily take this to court.

It seems a set up to scam me out of money - however what rights do I have? If they even set up the events now they will be passing off as me. What bothers me is I cannot now buy this company name as they have it, and now two other companies are copying me calling their events model tutorial days too! People know it's a big brand in the industry I am in and I feel they are passing off as me to make money knowing models will hear the brand and assume its to do with me.

Whilst its all good for a case to sue them - they have no money so it's all expenditure just to protect the brand when money could be better spent on equipment - it seems its one company after another copying me!

Now another company has been approaching all of my models to get information on what I do and has physically copied everything I do - calling themselves the academy and running model tutorial days in an area I currently have franchised. They say the same thing as me on their homepage almost word for word with little changed - am I within my right to take action?

Do you recommend putting a page on my site declaring they are nothing to do with me and we do not recommend them?

I know good ideas will get stolen, and thats what keeps me motivated to stay the best in the business and offer the best service but theres this open passing off as my brand and plagiarism that has really started to bug me.

All advice would be greatly appreciated in this matter

Kerri Parker
Previous Grand Ideas winner

James Smith
13-09-2010, 10:04 AM
"The friend has now said I have no right to use this name for my brand as they own the limited company and want me to change it - of course I won't and will happily take this to court"

First up thats brown dung if ever i heard it. As I say until I am blue in the face on here, forming a limited company gives you NO rights to trade. None what so ever. Its a common and very expensive myth. What gives you the right to trade is TRADING with a trading name. The fact you have won the Grand Ideas presumably means you ave some pretty strong evidence of all of this. They would be laughed out of a solicitors office. Do show them this thread, and if they dont stop being silly so and so's then a nice solicitors letter will do it.

"They say the same thing as me on their homepage almost word for word with little changed - am I within my right to take action?"

Too right you are. First up screen capture the whole site. Then just challenge them. Ring them up. Ask them to change it. If that fails, formal letter showing the similarities. Believe it or not I have to do this on a regular basis with my own website, and this is for blinking accountants who should after all know better!

Just stand your ground, and you will find they will back off.

http://www.plagiarismchecker.com/
http://www.copyscape.com/


Some tools to use - just run mine again and found another two sites....


Regards,

carolinem
20-09-2010, 01:00 PM
What a horrible situation Kerri!

I wouldn't "name and shame" but I certainly would stress on your website to beware of imitations. you might want an intellectual property lawyer have a look at both sites to see if there is a case for "passing off" or copyright infringement - but this route is expensive and often fruitless since all the other party loses is closing down the site whereas you'll be pouring money into defending yourself from their advances.

Not sure if this helps:
http://www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk/2010/09/08/how-to-catch-the-copycats/
But you may also be able to appeal to some sort of model organisation as well to intervene?

Caroline