Dealing with website content theft

Website content theft is a common problem. Quality content can take a lot of time and effort (or money) to create – and it can be stolen in seconds by a child with a computer and a internet connection. Legal proceedings are the ultimate weapon, the nuclear option, in your armoury against website content theft. But before issuing proceedings, you should consider in detail the other options open to you.

Terms of use FAQ

This brief FAQ contains answers to some of questions I get asked on a daily basis relating to website terms and conditions. Questions covered include: what's the difference between the different types of terms and conditions? What's the point in having terms and conditions in the first place? Will good legal documents protection me from lawsuits?

Domain name transfers after UDRP complaint notification

One of the oddities of ICANN's Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution is that they require the complainant to affirm, in the complaint, that a copy of the complaint has been sent to the domain name holder (Rule 3(b)(xii)). In theory, this requirement could give a fast-moving domain name holder the chance to transfer the domain to another person before the proceedings formally begin (from which point such “cyberflying” transfers are forbidden under Rule 8(a)).

Using your own photographs on your website

When you take a photograph, you own the rights in it, don't you? Yes. And no. The person who takes a photograph will usually be the first owner of the copyright in the photograph (unless that person is an employee acting in the course of his or her employment). However, there are other rights to consider.

Domain name choice and trade mark infringement

Trade mark infringement is a trump card when it comes to domain name choice. No matter how many good reasons you have for choosing a particular domain name, if the domain name infringes someone else's trade mark, you should steer well clear.

The legal risks of running a website

Many websites are inherently risky; indeed, some of the web's most famous sites are built upon technologies and business models which test the boundaries of the law. Examples include eBay which, despite a vigorous IP enforcement programme, has over the years facilitated a massive online trade in pirated products; and YouTube, which still hosts huge numbers of copyright-infringing films. Even Google's right to cache websites for the purpose of search has been tested in the courts. Is your site a risk?