Copy-Cat Website

Discussion in 'Site Security & Legal Issues' started by Pigoo, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. Pigoo

    Pigoo Enthusiast

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    Just discovered there's a website out there that's basically ripped off the look & feel of my website:

    - similar theme
    - similar home page layout
    - almost exactly the same URL (website is .us versus .com).

    My website has been around much much longer than this copy-cat website...thus there wouldn't be any question which site was around first.

    I guess the main questions are:

    - How close does the look & feel of the website need to be (including very close similarity of the URL)...for it to be a true legal situation?
    - Has anyone been in this situation...and if so...what did you do about it?

    I've already done some internet searches on this subject...so no generic links please (unless it's a really awesome link).:)

    What I was hoping to hear was...actual real-life actions website owners or website admins did in this situation...and was starting "small & friendly" when contacting the offending website successful in getting them to change things appropriately (or take the site down all together)...or did things rachet up quickly to needing to threaten the site with legal action if something wasn't done.

    Thanks much.:)
     
  2. overcast

    overcast Adherent

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    I think if they are using any theme that looks like you then I don't think you can take much objection over that. However if they literally copied your custom them, then that can be argued with the owner. Also if the site copies the content, you can file DMCA with the host. Not sure how much that effective would be in case of the site hosted on some hosting companies where they don't reply to DMCA. You can in case report to Google adsense about they copying your content. I had some of my content in past stolen but I reported to the webhost and showed them the content, they took entire site down.
     
  3. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

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    Unless its a custom theme where as the images for that theme where custom made you are out of luck. Same with layout unless its custom made layout then this can happen. URL is difficult unless its protected in some way your out of luck.
     
  4. KimmiKat

    KimmiKat Adherent

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    When I used to do a transit site, someone at another agency copied parts of the website. Funny thing though a few years later I ended up doing the "other" site too. My career ended at both when they decided to gear the sites to the mobile.
     
  5. Pigoo

    Pigoo Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the replies folks.:)

    My issue is this copy-cat site has basically copied/very similar:

    - the layout & color of my website (somewhat of a custom layout..but not super customized)
    - the organization scheme of my site (forum & subforum titles/categories)
    - URL name is basically the same (.us versus .com)
    - exact same website subject matter

    When considering all four of these factors in thier totality (very similar URL, visually very similar, very similar subject organization, and same exact website subject matter)...it's pretty plain this copy-cat website didn't do all this by accident.
     
  6. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Administrator

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    - Forum organization is going to be hard to pursue, unless it's word for word, best you can do there is a DMCA for that page only.
    - Unless you have a trademark filed for the domain name, you're out of luck there too.
    - Pick any topic on the internet and there are dozens, hundreds or thousands of sites covering it. You have no rights over a subject.
     
  7. Anton Chigurh

    Anton Chigurh Ultimate Badass

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    It's quite safe to completely ignore the "clone" and concentrate instead on the Real Deal.
     
  8. Pigoo

    Pigoo Enthusiast

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    I agree...any of the parameters listed by itself would not present much of a "copy-cat" case. But take all 4 of the parameters mentioned together as a package...and I think it would be pretty difficult for the copy-cat website to argue that it was all purely accidental/coincidental.
     
  9. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Administrator

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    I've seen both it and your site:

    1. They are using different forum software and it has a different layout.
    2. They cover the same things, but it is not a 100% copy.
    3. The domain name, considering your own domain name is using a trademark owned by another company, well, that makes this claim moot.
    4. The only thing I see in common is the color red, and nothing else about their color scheme is the same. Also, they are using a flat theme while yours has gradients.

    They started in 2015, "officially" opened in November 2018 and since then literally only two real posts - by the owner. Everything else is simply RSS feed content. Copycats are par for the course with forums, and in this case, I think you're worried about something that is essentially a dead site.
     
  10. Pigoo

    Pigoo Enthusiast

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    Thanks for checking things out.:)

    Yes noticed all of that.:) But even if the copy-cat site is not much competition at the moment...if they're doing something wrong...better to take care of it when the copycat site is small & before they gain traction.

    Thanks again for the reply & opinions on the situation.:)
     
  11. cubdriver

    cubdriver Aspirant

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    Having been through this several times in the last 18 years of forum operation, I would say just stay the course and don't sweat it to much unless they are using your copyrighted or TM content. In one case, some of my most troublesome members left and went to the other site :)

    sj
     
  12. dojo

    dojo Passionate admin

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    Had a similar issue when www.pftoday.com was copied ENTIRELY by another website. Namecheap (their registrar) didn't do anything, hostgator and Cloudflare where they hosted did nothing as well. Took a month of back and forth without any support from any of these, although it was clear it was a copycat website. Fortunately they just stopped and redid the site. Weird enough my site was deindexed by the idiots at google while the copycat with MY CONTENT AND DESIGN was indexed. :D
     
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