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Subject: Re: UKNM: Legal Question
From: Ray Taylor
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 13:16:12 +0100

From: Jason Dale <jasonatloquax [dot] co [dot] uk>

>If a site has a bunch of links and someone comes along and uses
>the same links in another way, albeit the same subject matter - is
>that an infringement of copyright? (I guess not, but would like to be

Copyright rules restrict _copying_ and nothing else. If you place links on
your site, you presumably put them there so that people click on them, so
you can't really complain when someone does. Only if someone copied a
substantial proportion of the text or html and placed it without alteration
would you have any cause for complaint.

>However if we find a commercial website of similar ilk to our own
>(as we have), which because they have links which contain our
>affiliate store codes (honest!) makes it pretty convincing they've half
>inched from us - have they then infringed copyright and if so what
>exactly is the best way to proceed (other than hoping they make
>us a fortune through the affiliate link and laugh because we can't
>actually believe people are so stupid!).

In the above instance it would appear that you have ample evidence that
someone has copied your pages. Suggest you ask them in a simple polite
letter to delete the offending pages and give you an undertaking that they
will not do it again.

You could ask a solicitor to do it for you, at greater expense, but with
more effect. Or you could do it yourself and if they refuse, ask a solicitor
to write on your behalf as a follow up.

I dare say the breach of your copyright, if there is one, would be
actionable. But once you initiate proceedings I'm pretty sure they would
delete the pages in question, which would remove your evidence. So if you
wanted to sue, I guess the best thing to do would be to ask a solicitor to
advise you on how you can preserve the evidence. Perhaps you could ask a
number of witnesses to download the page, print it out, and to sign and date
the printouts.

In all cases, the best thing to do if you want legal advice is to ask a
solicitor, not leave yourself open to advice from barrack-room lawyers.

Ray Taylor
Barrack-room lawyer
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