phantom sites

Pilots Design in Amsterdam found that someone had pirated their entire site, and used it for a design firm in Chicago. Details in this story on Core 77. Not long ago, the same thing happened to some pals of ours, MediAssociates. They too, discovered a phantom site of their own site. Someone basically stole their entire site. At first glance, it appears as though the thieves are trying to replicate their business, in another market. I believe instead, that this is an email address harvesting scheme.

If this happens to you - here's what you can do:
You own - or have properly licensed from your design firm - the copyright to your site's design. There's an act called the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), which protects copyright owners. Your attorney can send a cease and desist letter to the site's host company - claiming an infringement on your copyright, and that you plan on pursuing based on the DMCA. If the host company removes the site immediately, you won't hold them responsible. Typically, they'll get the site removed.

Here's another great resource for Internet-related legal rights - and a truly fantastic non-profit organization - the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

None of the above is meant to be actual legal advice, as it's pretty much a miracle that I've spelled "desist" correctly, above. For actual legal advice, seek someone who wears a suit - like an attorney.

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