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What can I do if someone steals content from my website?

Friday, 28 April 2017

laptop-2411303_960_720While still a relatively new concept, most businesses in the UK now tend to have some kind of web presence. Whether with their own website, social media channels or Google listings, most businesses have begun to see the benefits of the internet. However, good websites take lots of careful planning, time and money to put together. So what happens if someone steals from your website, copying it’s coding or content? What does the law have to say about this and what avenues can you pursue for compensation?

Why is content copied?

There can be plenty of reasons as to why sections or indeed your entire website has been copied. It may be that the offender has simply tried to save money and time by copying material from your website. While this is not only infuriating for many business owners it can also have a negative impact on their online presence with duplicate content meaning that they may be led to the wrong website page when performing a search in popular search engines like Google or Bing.

However, there can be more sinister reasons too. A criminal may try to ‘spoof’ your website, which involves very closely matching colour schemes, patterns and logos to trick regular users of a website into thinking that they are visiting a familiar website. If the website is a good imitation then it may even convince them to hand over confidential information like passwords and bank details.

How to enforce your copyright

In the UK, in broad terms you own copyright to any material that you create through intellectual property rights. These are defined under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act (1988) and are enforceable. This means that if you can prove that a substantial amount of work has been stolen from your website then you may be able to make a claim. In the UK, web hosting providers have a responsibility to remove offending content within a reasonable time period after a report has been filed and investigated and can be liable if they fail to do so.

If you believe that someone has stolen content from your website and you are concerned about the impact on your business you should seek immediate legal advice. Here at Rollingsons our team of copyright and trademark solicitors have handled claims in a wide variety of creative industries. For a consultation, please call us on 020 7611 4848 or click here for further information.

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