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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member acetate's Avatar
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    Accused of copyrighted infringement by Burlee

    I was wondering if you guys/gals can give me an advice on this.. About a month ago, I'd received an email from Bxxlee saying that my website was infringing on their intellectual properties (ie website). So, I had my website redesigned and today, I received this from them..




    Derek,

    I appreciate the changes you have made thus far, but the defining
    characteristics of your site (i.e. navigation structure, grouping of icons,
    page layout, top and bottom curved borders, color arrangements, people image
    placements, choice of demarcations, choice of content headings, labeling,
    the plans charts with features section beneath it, etc.) still remain
    striking and outstanding trademark and intellectual property infringements.
    Please remove all such infringing content immediately. We can no longer
    tolerate a copy of our site to be present on the Internet and in violation
    of U.S. as well as international law. If the site remains posted as it is
    past 9am EST, Friday November 30, then I will pass the matter to our
    attorneys and notify your service and upstream providers, who I am sure do
    not tolerate copyright infringements to be hosted on their networks. It is
    rare that such steps have to be taken, but I can wait no longer for the
    proper measures to be taken and the content to be removed. Please comply by
    tomorrow morning.

    Thank you,

    Lee Griffith
    VP & Director, Technical and Client Services
    Bxxlee.com
    With my website redesign and part of it being online, do you think his current claim holds some validity?? What should I do at this point?

    My Site
    Theirs

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Hierophant; Dec 18, 2001 at 13:50.

  2. #2
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    Your sites look nothing alike. Only thing that looks similar is color scheme.

    I would just ignore the e-mail.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Member acetate's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply.. Actually the color scheme isn't even the same..

  4. #4
    + platinum's Avatar
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    I would not do a thing

    The *only* things that are even remotly similar is a purple background (diferent shades anyway) and the roundiung off at the top and the bottom (hardly even looks the same either).

    Apart from that there is nothing... he has no postion in a leagal battle IMO.

  5. #5
    busy Steelsun's Avatar
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    I agree, they both look nothing alike except for the fact they both look like so many other websites: Header on the top, sidebar on the left.

    Tell them to shove it.
    Brian Poirier
    SunStockPhoto: Stock Photos, Fine Art Photos, Event Photography

  6. #6
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    Okay I got it - I have a webpage - that was my idea...i call it and you all heard me - now everyone else on the internet please delete their sites and stick to pine...you have till 9am tommorow morning to comply or i will have to take legal action...hahahaha....whoever they are tell them to shove it and that they don't have a case at all.

    Cheers
    Casey Swenson
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    This is very odd. Though I am not a lawyer, I really don't think that anyone can trademark or clime to own a color scheme, nevertheless, a background color. It's also ridiculous because their site shares more similarities with Sun's Web site than with yours.

    I think, one day is not a reasonable time period to fix your site even if it did infringe on his trademarks, because you've certainly been cooperating so far. In addtion, your terminology, navigation, layout, use of curved lines, color scheme, use of people in your images, and anything else in that mumble are all different than Burlee's. And, I don't think that any single one or subset of those violate intellectual property rights, anyway.

    This is frivolous, in my opinion, and any judge with a functioning left hemisphere can see though it (though, don't use that particular example in court)!

    But this is very serious because they are threatening to shut down your site. I think that you should tell them that you believe that your sites are sufficiently different and do not infringe on their trademark. Then say that you will hold them responsible for any damages that result from unfounded, unnecessary, or frivolous actions they may take.

    Good Luck, Acetate!

    ~~My 2

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    im being completely seriouse in what im about to say!

    tell them to get _ _ _ _ _ _ !

    there is nothing even remotley similar in beetween the 2 sites and i have looked at both sites and have found nothing that you could comprehensivly claim a trademark infringment on.

    the "navigation structure" isnt even similar, and they are both very common methods of displaying navigation. and i am sure that if they want to get into trademarks that either apple or amazon would be interested in there top nav bar as there is more resemblance to those sites then there is to yours.

    the other mentioned design similarities are not the same. and im sure with a few hours of surfing i could come up with a dozen other sites wich feature similar styleing to both your site and there site.

    basically i would urge you not to change anything on your site and tell them that if they want your site changed then you will happily forward them the invoice for the site re-design.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Addict Seer's Avatar
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    Are these Burlee people for real?
    That statement is ridiculous, to even claim the "grouping of icons" to be a trademark infringement.

    There are plenty of sites i've seen that use Burlee as an inspiration, yours is a lot further off than these.

    Heck, check this one out http://www.vdhosting.com/
    That's *far* more worth complaining about!

    I cand only laugh at that, there needs to be a bit more "intellect" in these intellectual properties...

  10. #10
    + platinum's Avatar
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    Woah.... VDhosting is like exactly the SAME!
    sheeeeesh.

    Is that for real or what?

    lol... now you can send them the email:

    Dear Madam/Sir,
    It has come to our attention the a direct copy of your site is currently being used by a rival hosting company.

    Should you care to drop any legal action against us, we may be able to supply you with the name of this site which has stolen your template.

    Edit:


    And while your at it... tell burlee to fix the corner at the upper left of their tabele... cos it is donald ducked.
    Last edited by platinum; Nov 30, 2001 at 06:01.

  11. #11
    Gone!
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    ROFL

    The only thing remotely similar is that fact that both sites (yours and burlees I mean) look good, damn good.

    Hehe, go with Platinums idea!

    The VD Hosting is a blatent infringement, add to the fact that the VD site is broken and has many faults!

  12. #12
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    If your previous design looked like vdhosting they may have a case against you. Because you would have created a derivative work off their design. They'd have to prove that you built your current design off your old one which was a rip off of theirs.

    If not they have no case whatsoever. I would make a preemptive contact to your hosting company just in case to inform them of the situation.

    If they try to shut your site down, your host(provider) would only legally be obligated to do it if they (Burlee) followed the DMCA guidelines for submitting a complaint.

    (see DMCA info posted by me in this thread:
    http://www.sitepointforums.com/showt...threadid=40767)

    If this happens, all you have to do is contest the claim and your host(provider) can put the site back up. So what you might want to do is preemptively contest the claim so that there is no downtime.

    Once that happens your provider would not be legally obligated to shut your site down no matter how much they complain. Their only recourse at this point would be a lawsuit (which won't happen because their lawyers would have to be stupid).

    You're a host yourself so you should be familiar with the DMCA. If not you should become familiar with it.

    I like your site by the way, nice colors.
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    So it's the 30th... what happened? Let us know if your site goes down or anything!

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    I am very curious as well, I wish I'd seen this earlier as my advice would have been: Correspondence.

    Open dialogue solves 90% of all problems with large companies. Be open, cooperative but firm. If they continue to claim such consistencies and infringement do an analysis...

    Beyond that, follow aspen's advice and contact your service provider
    SVP Marketing, SoCast SRM
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  15. #15
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    And to my suprise I get out of bed and looked on the internet and there is still other sites on there, I thought I told everyone that they must take down their website as I have a website and you all are just stealing ideas from me(see earlier post). I'm afraid legal action will now have to be taken. oooohhh Judge Judy....

    [note - i know this post is stupid, just trying to keep on pace will burlee's level of thinking]

    Cheers all

    PS - i'm also very interested into how this will play out. I'm curious if there are all things involved? Did you at one time work for Burlee and leave to start your own company? Have you had any business or personal contact with Burlee before you started your hosting company? Based of the email you pasted it didn't seem to make it sound like that, but would be interested in hearing the whole story as to when it started, how they found out about you, what their email was originally etc.
    Casey Swenson
    Casey@mini2.com
    http://www.mini2.com

  16. #16
    SitePoint Guru SWD's Avatar
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    i will also ignore it, is would be my case!
    Our Sites: Arcade Muffin | Viefex

  17. #17
    SitePoint Member acetate's Avatar
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    Thanks to all who are interested in my situation. Fortunately, I haven't receive any further emails from "Lee" and am not going to take my site down after hours of designing. Currently, I'm awaiting an appointment with my attorney and see what he says. Once again, thanks and happy holidays..



    Derek

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Once again, good luck!

  19. #19
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    (i.e. navigation structure, grouping of icons,
    There is no valid argument. One cannot copyright any of those unless he has trademarked or servicemarked those icons and images. No one can copyright the design scheme, interface (I have tried this), color scheme, menus or the navigation structure. Besides your site does not look anything similar to theirs. Unless you have changed things now (he says that you have made some changes so we don't know who is telling the truth) there are no similarities and nothing to worry. Tell him to have his lawyers contact you and tell him that you are ready to fight, if that is what he wants. If he takes you to court, you can countersue him and because you are small and they have money (I think) you and your attorneys have a better chance at milking some money out of them.
    Last edited by Gurudev; Nov 30, 2001 at 20:05.
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  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    even your old design, wich shared similar elements looks nothing like burlee`s site...

  21. #21
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    Man I got a good laugh out of that email they sent you, its so obviously nothing more than straight intimidation tactics to undercut the competition. Your site and theirs have almost nothing in common. If I had got that email I would have done some very nasty emailing and threatning of my own I would say what they are doing is borderline illegal just from a business ethics stand point.

    disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and nothing in this post should be considered legal advice, it is for entertainment puproses only. (LOL what a crazy world we live in).


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  22. #22
    SitePoint Guru hurtdidit's Avatar
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    I would drop Pud at f---edcompany.com a line about this...usually intimidation tactics such as this are signs of a dire entity with nothing left to live for but cause chaos among the rest of the industry.

    Best of luck to you!


    "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world.
    Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Mead

  23. #23
    SitePoint Guru jkcity's Avatar
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    Thw question is who was usingt his look first(evan thought they look nothing alike).

    If it was me I would send them an email saying it wa sin fact them who was infringing on your copyright and demand they change there site, and I would lodge a copyrught claim with there isp.

    Not the best advice, But just what I would do, I like to make problems worse.

  24. #24
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Gurudev


    There is no valid argument. One cannot copyright any of those unless he has trademarked or servicemarked those icons and images. No one can copyright the design scheme, interface (I have tried this), color scheme, menus or the navigation structure. Besides your site does not look anything similar to theirs. Unless you have changed things now (he says that you have made some changes so we don't know who is telling the truth) there are no similarities and nothing to worry. Tell him to have his lawyers contact you and tell him that you are ready to fight, if that is what he wants. If he takes you to court, you can countersue him and because you are small and they have money (I think) you and your attorneys have a better chance at milking some money out of them.
    Every unique creative work is automatically copyrighted as soon as it enters a fixed form. So most of those things you mentioned above are indeed copyrightable, in fact they are copyrighted automatically under US law as soon as you're done making them. You wouldn't be able to copyright the concept of a left menu (its not unique enough), but YOUR left menu (with your curves and your colors and your button alignment) would indeed be copyrighted.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  25. #25
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Every unique creative work is automatically copyrighted as soon as it enters a fixed form.
    You can not copyright concpets and designs - sir. I know everything else can be copyrighted in terms of content, images, writing and the work itself once it is published (in the USA) but not concept, layout or designs.
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