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  1. rod@missionop.com
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    Copyright Infringement and DMCA Takedown Orders


    Have another copyright infringement case.

    This one involved an SEO's customer where they wanted to believe they had exclusive SEO services and if they desire exclusivity that's a higher premium. Most customers only want ranks for the cheapest price.

    When they discovered their competitors were also using my services they terminated their SEO. So my SEO cancelled that service package and we removed everything from the customer's website. That occurred mid-January.

    On February 5th, I receive a visitor's referral from one of the pages we disabled. The customer reinstated all my content.

    I advised them they had until Monday, February 9, 2015 to disable all the content or I would send a DMCA Takedown Order to their host. I also advised them that if they wish to claim the Copyright themselves they need to file a Counter Claim with their host.

    Awaiting the host's response.

    Honestly, I really want to go to court to show service validation... You get want you pay for.

    Will update this thread as things progress.
    Last edited by fathom; Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:07 AM.
  2. #2
  3. rod@missionop.com
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    The SEO just showed me the results my services provided for his SEO customer that canned him due to working with the competition

    223 #1
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    50 #3
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    13 #5 ... that's about 400 phrases in the top 5... no wonder why they want to steal my content.

    30 more #6 - #10.
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  5. Digital Marketing
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    cool story Rod, thanks for sharing. Please keep updating.
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  7. B afraid.. B very afraid!
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    In your contracts do you specifically state who owns the content, i.e. your company, unless otherwise provided/paid for? If there is any doubt at all over content ownership you may be in for a legal hassle. Will it be worth the cost of legal fees?
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  9. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by SEO_AM
    In your contracts do you specifically state who owns the content, i.e. your company, unless otherwise provided/paid for? If there is any doubt at all over content ownership you may be in for a legal hassle. Will it be worth the cost of legal fees?
    My contractual agreements are with SEO Practitioners. I have no control over how they represent their services to their customers. I am upfront about my rights to all SEO Practitioners. I eat the costs of content creation and domain acquisition and claim Copyrights and domain ownership are my profits. Instead of cash profit in advance.
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  11. rod@missionop.com
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    Misrepresenting ownership by the SEO Practitioner might give the customer a false belief they own copyright and they can exercise their right to file a Counter Claim, after that I must show proof of Copyright to get a court date.

    There is limited risk. I either own the right or I don't. If I don't own the right I cannot file for a court date and legally this ends there.
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  13. B afraid.. B very afraid!
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    Does your contracts with the SEO practitioners require them to advise their customers/users of your ownership of the copyrighted content? Are they, the publishers, also made aware that the content they are receiving is in fact owned by you, i.e. they have publishing permission/license that can be withdrawn by you at any time?
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  15. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by SEO_AM
    Does your contracts with the SEO practitioners require them to advise their customers/users of your ownership of the copyrighted content?
    To directly answer you - NO!

    Contract Law is not a replacement for Copyright Law - it could however reduce Statutory Damage awards.

    But I have a choice to seek Actual Damages or Statutory Damages. Right now I'm leaning to Actual Damages.

    Originally Posted by SEO_AM
    Are they, the publishers, also made aware that the content they are receiving is in fact owned by you, i.e. they have publishing permission/license that can be withdrawn by you at any time?
    My company is the publisher. While the blogs resided on their domain they had no login privileges. To access they circumvent admin login by phpAdmin access in cPanel.

    The SEO Customer's only entitlements are ranks, traffic and that should produce sales.

    The SEO Customer terminated the SEO without warning for competitive reasons - they suggested they had an exclusive right of service. After reviewing all the documentation provided by the SEO their suggestion of EXCLUSIVTY was wishful thinking.

    After discussing this with the customer directly and making them an offer to continue at 50% of their contracted fees for 1 year if they agreed before their term expired (within two days). January 13

    That offer was ignored.

    After I exercised my rights and put everything in the trash from the blogs I notified them. January 15

    They responded thereafter asking for that reduced offer which expired already. (January 16)

    On Monday January 19 scheduled a conference with the customer and explained everything to them including terms to use my firm directly or to be trained to do everything themselves

    Never heard back from them but on February 5 notice a referral from one of the pages I disable - meaning someone activated that page and I returned to their domain to find all the content I disabled re-activated.

    By February 9 I filed a DMCA Copyright Claim with Godaddy (their host).

    GoDaddy must disable those pages to continue to have a safe harbor from a collusion claim with their customer.

    Then the SEO Customer MUST state under the penalty of perjury that they are the rightful copyright holder and that is where this gets interesting.
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  17. rod@missionop.com
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    A side note: the cornerstone of copyright protection is originality. Only "original" works of authorship are protected by copyright. MissionOp hired writers to create original works that we registered with the copyright office under "works-made-for-hire" as compilations in a specific commercial theme.

    There is no de facto rule that's make any work sufficiently original, though the standard for proving originality is relatively low. However, it must possess some creative spark, no matter how crude, humble or obvious it might be. I'm not an expert in any other field beyond SEO. I cannot determine for myself if anything is sufficiently original.

    So my creative spark must be built on some thing I know inside and out which is our overall process I built from scratch that we use to provide content in general. Proving originality can be one of the more challenging aspects of a copyright infringement lawsuit. We haven't distribute a single work we had created under "works-made-for-hire" we made authorized derivatives to distribute from those originals that once fees stop they become unauthorized derivatives.

    That and the blogs (lack of login privileges) prevents uninterested party from direct access.

    If they have never tough the content, don't know who actually wrote it, don't have access to original scores they really cannot claim Copyright.

    I'm sure someone will attempt to claim Anti-Trust but that is a different set of laws.
    Last edited by fathom; Feb 15th, 2015 at 08:55 AM.
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  19. B afraid.. B very afraid!
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    Not disputing your copyrights and their protection. Where it gets interesting is if you try to sue the site owner for damages when they, unknowingly, are using your copyrighted work in a commercial setting. Your damages, if any, may be confined to your SEO customers that, potentially, misrepresented the content as theirs to the site owner. This, unless your copyright is proven to the site owner, may be your legal recourse. If the site owner continues to use your copyrighted work once your rights are acknowledged, then they likely will also become liable. Not an attorney, but have played in this area a bit.
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  21. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by SEO_AM
    Not disputing your copyrights and their protection. Where it gets interesting is if you try to sue the site owner for damages when they, unknowingly, are using your copyrighted work in a commercial setting. Your damages, if any, may be confined to your SEO customers that, potentially, misrepresented the content as theirs to the site owner. This, unless your copyright is proven to the site owner, may be your legal recourse. If the site owner continues to use your copyrighted work once your rights are acknowledged, then they likely will also become liable. Not an attorney, but have played in this area a bit.
    And I'm not discrediting your thought process.

    I've brow beaten them with my rights so they can't claim ignorance.

    Having a good faith belief in Copyright ownership is them have a written signed document from me stating I transferred Copyright to them.

    Maximum Statutory Damages is applied to registering a copyright within 3 months of it being put into tangible form. That's $30,000 dollars per title without needing to prove any damage occurred.

    Willful intent to infringe is the prerequisite - circumvent the login of the blogs and disabling my login is willful intent to force their claim of ownership without asking permission and/or offering any compensation to the copyright holder unless they actually own the copyright.
    Last edited by fathom; Feb 15th, 2015 at 01:13 PM.
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  23. B afraid.. B very afraid!
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    If they are aware of your copyright and blatantly violate the copyright, as it sounds as though this is the case, they are liable. Have your SEO customers advised or noticed the site owners that they do not have a right to the content that is protected under the copyrights you hold?
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  25. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by SEO_AM
    If they are aware of your copyright and blatantly violate the copyright, as it sounds as though this is the case, they are liable.
    Right now we are just posturing, I'm waiting for Godaddy (as their host) to disable the content as I filed a DMCA Copyright Claim (Takedown Order).

    Then it is up to the SEO Customer to file a Counter Claim stating they are the rightful copyright holder. Once they do that the dispute will go to Federal Court as ignorance about copyright does not afford you any rights to say whoops sorry I didn't know because this guy kept saying he own the copyright and we were too stupid to check with a billion free resources and millions of paid ones.

    If they don't file a Counter Claim to Godaddy - Godaddy will continued with the disabled content forever or at least until the party continues to compensate me for it use.

    Originally Posted by SEO_AM
    Have your SEO customers advised or noticed the site owners that they do not have a right to the content that is protected under the copyrights you hold?
    Actually yes... but they do have a right to own it simply cost more.
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  27. B afraid.. B very afraid!
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    It would appear that you will prevail either by Godaddy pulling the plug on them permanently or their coming to terms with you. Good luck.
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  29. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by SEO_AM
    It would appear that you will prevail either by Godaddy pulling the plug on them permanently or their coming to terms with you. Good luck.
    I thank you for your comments - much of which was passed on to the IP law firm we hired in Miami to prepare for litigation. I expect this will go on for some time.

    I've been waiting for someone to "assume they had rights" to actually willfully infringe because they assumed SEO Service fees includes Copyright - unless that is actually spelled out their lack of due diligence is their problem.

    DMCA are provisions to avoid the high cost of litigation plus designed to get everyone that doesn't have anything to do with the dispute off the playing field.

    But the moment they circumvented the blog's login credentials, re-activated the content and disabled my access so I couldn't deactivate that content (my rights) they were willfully infringing. If they also file a counterclaim which states at least I am in error about my rights that is a list of 4 willful acts. (note: they were previously advised that I own the copyright and that is in a voice recording that they acknowledged in advance that I could do and I sent them a copy of that before their willful acts)

    Making this a damage claim somewhere between $2,000 & $100,000 dollars plus legal expenses.

    Even weighing in all the odd Contract Law nuances this makes a great test case to get our feet wet. I'm sure I will learn a lot about actual Whitehat SEO as well.

    e.g. "just make a great website".

    <added>Godaddy just responded to my claim and investigating".</added>
    Last edited by fathom; Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:54 AM.
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