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ruby

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #1 
This is a bit different from being plagiarised online, however any advice and thoughts would be welcome.

In November 2007 I submitted first draft website copy to a client. I received no feedback or revisions and for various reasons did not chase the client further.
In March 2008 I noticed the client has published one of the four pages I had supplied to their website.  I invoiced for the single page, reminded them of the opportunity to amend any other copy and said that the remaining pages would need to be paid for too.
Since then they have published all my copy to their website and are now saying they are unsatisfied with my work and offered a nominal fee.
I refused the fee and notified them they were in breach of copyright by publishishing my work prior to payment being agreed and gave a final deadline for payment.

They have since come back saying that my work is unoriginal and merely "typing dictation"

The webpages where they published the work all pass copyscape - I am assuming it kind of works in reverse.  If the pages don't show as not plagiarised by anyone else then it would suggest the content itself is original and not plagiarised.

I have already been in touch with the clients webhost and notified them that the company are in breach of my copyright.

Is there more that I can do? I dont have the funds to go through a lawyer.

stapel

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Posts: 140
Reply with quote  #2 
What were the terms of your contract? Was it all "work for hire"? When did ownership of the content transfer? Has the content been published by you or another of your clients at any point?

Also, has your ex-client put in writing that its feel your work to be sub-par? If so, one wonders why it is now using your copy...?

Eliz.

ruby

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #3 
There was no official contract - my mistake, it was for a friend of a friend, but essentially I am a freelancer that they hired.

The only feedback I got was that they were disatisfied with the word count but that was after they published all the work - unaltered.
Then on chasing payment when I started talking about copyright they decided that they didn't think my work was original and that of a typist. 

I already notified their webhost to ask them to remove copy, but it could be a long drawn out process.

I am with you stapel - why publish the work if it is either awful, plagiarised or what they could have written themselves?

ruby

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #4 

A moral victory on this one.
The webhost followed up with them and I also followed up with a cease and desist letter, givng them two payment options or the choice to take down the copy.

They took down the copy, I have since loaded my copy to a page on my own website so should they try to sneakily use it again I have my own copy under copyright in the public domain.

stapel

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Posts: 140
Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruby
I have since loaded my copy to a page on my own website so should they try to sneakily use it again I have my own copy under copyright in the public domain.

"In the public domain" is kind of the opposite of "under copyright". Which is it? Free for all (including your ex-client) to use as they choose, or "all rights reserved"?

By the way, to "prove" your copyright (to increasing numbers of hosts), you will need to register your work with the relevant copyright authorities, if such is available in your jurisdiction.

Eliz.

ruby

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Eliz, sorry I used the wrong terminology on that one.

What I meant was that I published it to my site so that it can be seen to be under my copywrite.

Since then I do periodic checks on this ex-client and I'm glad I did because lo and behold they have plagiarised my work and put it on their site.
Some is just a cut and paste job and some is a bit of a re-write, though to me it is clear that whoever wrote it used my copy as the basis.

I have to gear myself up for this fight all over again. 

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