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How do I prosecute/take legal action on a stolen theme

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  • How do I prosecute/take legal action on a stolen theme

    Hi Guys

    Can someone advise as to what steps I should take if I have found out that another site has blatantly ripped my skin...? Is there legal action I or vB can take...?

    I paid for full customisation and a unique skin. I have had a reported post where the site in question has blatantly ripped a copy. What can I do?
    John

  • #2
    Hey Mods... I also notice there is no vB license text on the site in question. Can someone in authority at vB please PM me...

    Thanks

    EDIT: sorry.... scrub that... have just found the license text...

    But - what can I do about the theft?
    John

    Comment


    • #3
      Here's what I would do.

      Send them an email requesting it to be removed. BCC Yourself in on it then you have details of the content, date and time. Give them 24 hours. If no responce then email again as before but stressing that if they do not remove it then you will contact their webhost due to copyright infringment. Wait 24 hours. If they still have not responded or removed it then find out who their webhost is (a wHIOS search should reveal this). Email their host, again BCC'ing yourself in on it and including copies of the ignored emails to the site owner. Check back again after 24 hours, if it is still not removed then contact the webhost again. Repeat as desired. Depending on where in the world the site is based and the webhost is there should be copyright laws and a Federation for Copright Protection (in the UK it's called FACT) contact them, including copies of all the emails sent and any responses recieved. They should deal with it.

      [edit]Give a girl chance to get here reply in next time
      Also if you want somewhere to send copies of any emails via BCC then PM me and I'll gladly let you pop them into my inbox.[/edit]
      Kerry-Anne :)

      Twitter Blog

      www.peterska2.com www.worldnewszone.com www.popularusenetgroups.com www.superclickers.co.uk www.forumsforchrist.com www.browsergameplanet.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Many thanks Kerry-Anne.... great advice there. I will certainly do as you suggest.

        Very much appreciated....

        By the way... I am with NTL and so far have found them OK...??!!
        John

        Comment


        • #5
          [ot]

          You find ntl ok ???????????????????????

          Are you mad ???????????

          Seriously though, if you need any help then just yell in my direction. I have contacts high up in senior management there

          [/ot]
          Kerry-Anne :)

          Twitter Blog

          www.peterska2.com www.worldnewszone.com www.popularusenetgroups.com www.superclickers.co.uk www.forumsforchrist.com www.browsergameplanet.com

          Comment


          • #6
            A. Email is not a legal document - sending them email has no effect.
            B. Their webhost probably will not do anything - unless there is criminal activity going on. Copyright infringement, in this case, would be a civil matter, not criminal.
            C. I checked several webhosts and none had anything in their TOS regarding HTML/php copyright infringement.
            C. What if this site also had a receipt for a 'custom installed skin'?
            D. I've seen numerous sites offering custom skins which were nothing more than minor reworks of currently available skins.
            E. If you paid less than $50 for your 'custom' work, chances are, it wasn't too custom, nor too exclusive.

            Sorry I can't be more encouraging - but there probably isn't a whole lot you can do, especially not if you're not willing to fork over many times what another skin would cost, in legal fees.

            Comment


            • #7
              If you cite The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, an email is just as powerful as a subpeona. Assuming that you have sufficient evidence that you own exclusive rights to the skin, contact the datacenter housing the server (IP Whois will do the trick) and cite The Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the server will be shut down fairly quickly. The host will be dead pissed, but there's nothing they can do about it except cut the hosted customer lose.

              Good luck.
              Best Regards,
              Andy Huang

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KJR
                E. If you paid less than $50 for your 'custom' work, chances are, it wasn't too custom, nor too exclusive.

                Sorry I can't be more encouraging - but there probably isn't a whole lot you can do, especially not if you're not willing to fork over many times what another skin would cost, in legal fees.
                I certainly paid a lot more than that for my custom skin KJR... so how does one protect ones assetts then...? are there technical things I could do to further protect my design. I have seen on here several times, people ask about a if certain skin is available - and one of the vB staff has always replied stating that this particular skin has not been released unless you wanted to pay thousands for it... how do they protect their skin...?

                Originally posted by Alfarin
                If you cite The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, an email is just as powerful as a subpeona. Assuming that you have sufficient evidence that you own exclusive rights to the skin, contact the datacenter housing the server (IP Whois will do the trick) and cite The Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the server will be shut down fairly quickly. The host will be dead pissed, but there's nothing they can do about it except cut the hosted customer lose.

                Good luck.
                Though I have not heard of this, I will certainly look into the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Thanks.

                How exactly do I find their datacentre...? I use www.dnsstuff.com for other searches, which one on that page should I use...? or do you have an alternative method I could use to ascertain their datacentre.

                I have also contacted the original designer to check 'uniqueness'.

                Many thanks so far folks...
                John

                Comment


                • #9
                  To acquire the host information, use WHOIS Lookup on your page that you linked.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I always gather the info and produce a .pdf of the data and include that as attachment and explain the attachment. Then I point out the terms of services on their hosting account and data center where the host is located and I point out what they possibly did wrong. And give them a timeframe to either explain themselves, purchase a license for the theme. And I cc: to the hosting company and data center (which I also note in a ps at the bottom of the email that I am sending over a copy to those 2) and I bcc to myself.

                    Usually people don't know (so they say) that they run an unlicensed copy of my style and either stop using it or make a purchase because they now understand it requires money to get it. And they usually also help provide details from where they get it from.

                    In those occasions where they do not take action I phone the hosting company and request their support in DMCA which they usually do. In cases where this doesn't happen (very rare) I print & mail a letter to the data centre who usually do take action.

                    But in most cases things resolve after the first email.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for this Floris... great information...
                      John

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You could contact a few anti piracy companies and request an email example. Maybe it has some nice writing or phrases you can use. You could also look into their services and see if it is worth to hire them to do it on your behalf.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TheMusicMan

                          I certainly paid a lot more than that for my custom skin KJR... so how does one protect ones assetts then...? are there technical things I could do to further protect my design. I have seen on here several times, people ask about a if certain skin is available - and one of the vB staff has always replied stating that this particular skin has not been released unless you wanted to pay thousands for it... how do they protect their skin...?

                          The fact of the matter is that there is no real way to protect your skin. It's the nature of the web. In order for a browser to display a web page, the information is first downloaded to the local machine.

                          End of story.


                          If they know what they're doing, they will be able to recover this locally stored information - or they will be able to save it from your servers. The fact that they can see it in the first place means that they have to have Read Access in the first place - and that's all that's necessary in order to obtain it.


                          Now, that having been said - I would also caution you to make sure that they have really stolen something enforceable.

                          You can protect original images, but you cannot protect a color scheme. There is no monolopy on orange! So, if someone copied the combination of colors that you use - you will not be able to legally enforce any sort of copyright on that.

                          ONLY if you have original images, do you have a leg to stand on. And by original - I mean that you will not be able to successfully enforce copyright over images of solid colors, gradients, etc... Those types of images are too basic, and would not be recognized in court as unique enough to qualify.
                          echo $ocean_signature;

                          ;)

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