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Let say your website design got stolen. You saw your design being used from a different site or company. The only difference from your design is the logo and some images.

What actions can you do to resolve this issue?

Here's what I did. I emailed the developer that is claiming the rights but didn't respond. I called the company and they're putting the responsibility on the developer. They said they're not responsible and they just pay some person to do it. They also told me that they don't have any access to the files or such.

If I understand it right, the initial responsible for the copyright infringement is the Company using my design. So the developer will have to answer to the Company who's using the design.

Here's my idea, since the Company do not have an access to their Host/Server and the Developer wont answer me.

  1. Is it possible that I can contact the hosting company to pull down the website for copyright infringement?

  2. Do I have to get an approval from the company (the one who stole the design) to bring the site down?

I have sufficient evidence to prove the design is mine.

Thank You.

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This is largely a legal issue and thus may be very location specific. Probably a good idea to mention where you/the companies are; although not sure that legal advice is appropriate. –  e100 May 17 '12 at 11:03
    
Can you prove that design is yours and that it was created prior to theirs website (or development)? If you go the legal way it will boil down to facts like this. Ad as a rule of thumb: don't spend time and money on something that will cost you more (in time and money) than it's actually worth. –  Robert Koritnik May 27 '12 at 8:34
    
Yes, I think I have all the proof to prove it is mine. It's just i think it is not worth the value to pursue it. –  Pennf0lio May 27 '12 at 15:16
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can file a DMCA notice and address it to the webhosting company hosting their website, and to search engines who will delist the copyright infringing content.

If you don't want to do the legwork, you can use a DMCA service. I found this one on Google:

DMCA service ($99)

and I am sure you can find many others. Or you can write the DMCA yourself. In all cases it is far cheaper than contacting a lawyer.

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What you need to do is contact a lawyer experienced in copyright law. More than likely the first step they will take is send a cease and desist letter to the company. Only after that happens will they suggest further action, if and only if the company does not make the necessary changes.

The host provider probably won't want any involvement either until it goes through proper legal channels, they're not going to just take your word on something like this.

You have no business contacting the developer. It is the Company's responsibility and that is whom you would take legal action against. Depending on their contract with the Developer since it sounds like it is not an In-House web person they can then follow with legal action against the Developer on their own terms.

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Thanks. How much would an average Lawyer cost? Will you still push the copyright issue even when you know the cost of your design isn't that high? eg, your design only cost about $200-$300. My worry is, I might be endup spending more on the lawyer compare to the actual cost of the design. And will the company pay additional damages or they will just pay for the actual cost ($200-$300)? or not even pay at all? –  Pennf0lio May 16 '12 at 18:24
    
Well I've only been in the position once and it was for a Print Ad not a website. I decided it wasn't worth it more for the hassle as the company declared bankruptcy in-lieu of paying me and a few others. It would've taken years to settle and wasn't that much I lost. I can't say how much the lawyer would charge or if its worth it. I would judge more by how large the company is and how much value they're getting out of your design. You could try to use a Cease & Desist template from the web as a first resort before getting a lawyer. –  Ryan May 16 '12 at 19:21
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