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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I have recently discovered that original content & translations

Customer Question

I have recently discovered that original content & translations from our sports site (www.insidespanishfootball.com), are being utilised and syndicated for profit by Press Association (PA) in the UK.
My first response has been to contact PA directly and formally, to raise the matter with them, but I am awaiting a response.
Primarily I am annoyed that they are utilising our work, without either permission or citing our publication as their source, whilst secondly, the fact that they are then selling that work for profit.
Should my direct communication with PA prove fruitless, I would appreciate sound advice on steps to A) Protect ourselves from this happening repeatedly, which is a problem particularly with UK press/media outlets, regularly plagiarising and copying our work, and B) What the best legal steps are to take, to ensure we're compensated accordingly, when our work is utilised and then sold on for profit, by another media outlet, without consent or remuneration.
Regards,
Heath Chesters
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
Do you have proof as to who authored the works and were they marked as copyright with a (C)?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ and thanks for looking at this.

Yes, we have proof in terms of publication times being logged at our site and the author names are ***** ***** at the head of our articles.

Whilst we don't place the (C) for copyright within each article, we have clear, standard "terms and conditions", along with our "terms of use" policy, readily accessible at our website.

Unfortunately it's particularly UK media outlets that are frequently utilising our original work and translations, although this particularly from the PA and the fact they're profiting from it, I find staggering.

Regards,

Heath

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 Section 11 the author of written works is deemed to be the owner. If you created these translations and articles in the line of your business then they belong to you.
If someone is copying them then you can sue them for breach of copyright. As a starting point I would recommend you ask a local solicitor to write a cease and desist letter and demand a sum of money for the continued licensing of the articles (and an acknowledgement of authorship). This has to come from a solicitor because the headed paper will give it the added gravitas that you have been properly advised and know your rights. If you send the letter from your own name they are more likely to ignore you.
In order to stop future plagiarism consider:
- Using the copyright stamp on your articles - with date and name of the owner;
- Consider using water marks if appropriate on your site;
- Update your serves that store your material regularly and ensure all files are backed up and date and time stamped.
- You will then just have to be vigilant and send people a cease and desist letter if they do unlawfully use your material.
How much money do you think they have made?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

All information and content published is securely backed up and stored at our web hosts, so providing solid evidence of original authorship isn't a problem. We use WordPress to publish to the site, which also documents original publication times.

Utilising a copyright stamp isn't possible within the articles themselves, although at the head and the foot of each page, it is clearly defined that all rights are reserved and there are links to our terms of use, explaining copyright in detail.

In terms of frequency, I would estimate that our work has been copied, duplicated or plagiarised, hundreds if not thousands of times over the last couple of years, therefore as I'm sure you'll appreciate, it's difficult for our small editorial team to keep on top of.

The following is just one example of an article syndicated by PA to ESPN today:

http://www.espnfc.co.uk/spanish-primera-divisi%C3%B3n/story/2091468/granada-v-rayo-vallecano-preview?

These are the original translations published at ISF yesterday:

http://www.insidespanishfootball.com/130102/amaya-rayo-vallecano-debut-will-be-a-dream-come-true/

Whilst they have cited the club websites as the sources, neither actually publish in English and the translations are exact copies from those we (or myself in this particular example as author) have produced at ISF

In addition and coincidentally I may add, along with being Co-Owner and Chief Editor of ISF, I am also the International Communications Manager for Granada CF, who feature in this article.

Whilst this is one example incident, there are literally countless others. If PA are producing (as in this instance) a pre-match preview article for syndication (to ESPN and others) for each of the ten matches every weekend in La Liga, utilising quotes that we have translated, obviously you can imagine the quantity of our translations they have already utilised and will for the remainder of the season.

In addition to this, there are countless news articles they syndicate to possibly hundreds of media outlets internationally, which also feature our translations and/or content. Without knowing how much they sell syndication rights for, it's difficult to place a monetary value on this. Particularly relating to Press Association and the volume of our work they are copying, it's difficult to place a value exactly on how much they will have made, but at a guess, I would certainly estimate it to be in the thousands of pounds region.

As mentioned, being a widely recognised and respected originating source of Spanish football news, numerous leading media outlets cite our publication/website without any problems or issue, having sought permission directly with us. Obviously when an organisation such as PA is profiting from usage of our content, without permission or agreement, we need to get it nipped in the bud, or be compensated accordingly.

If you can recommend a specialist law firm, perhaps based in the UK, as this is where many of the problems are originating from with media outlets, I would welcome your suggestions. Clearly this is a matter we need to resolve swiftly, as well as taking on board any changes we need to make as an organisation, in order to protect our work.

Regards,

Heath

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
We cannot recommend lawyers through this site I am afraid. What you need is a solicitor specialising in licensing and intellectual property disputes. If you contact the Law Society www.lawsociety.org.uk they will be able to recommend some within your locale. It does not have to be an over priced London based lawyer.
In the mean time is there anything you can do to your website to stop people from copying and pasting your articles?
Also am I right in assuming you rely on advertising revenue? Can you calculate the damage this has caused to your advertising revenue?
So you can place a monetary figure on the articles you may also wish to consider creating a pricing listing for your licensing even just as a "rate card". That way you will be able to show a court something tangible in terms of your loss if you ever had to make a claim.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3521
Experience: Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
Alex J. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your advice AJ.

The main revenue stream for our site is indeed advertising based at present, although obviously the CPM value for each article can fluctuate quite significantly.

AP have been in contact since we last spoke and insist that they will investigate the matter thoroughly, with me having set a deadline for their full response of next Monday. I have made it clear to them that from this point onwards, they should cease any further use of our content (which will lead to us taking legal action if they continue to do so), or alternatively, to reach a mutually beneficial agreement regarding the syndication of content from our site.

Hopefully, the latter will be the way forward, as obviously collaboration is far preferable to conflict. In the meantime though and following your advice, I have noted all the points you have raised and recommended, plus I have shortlisted suitable law firms based in the UK, from the Law Society website, should we need to proceed further.

Regards,

Heath

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your kind feedback.
I wish you the best of luck.
Just as a side point, I would say it would not be unreasonable to give them 7 days to respond, unless the situation is urgent for commercial reasons?
Kind regards
AJ

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