How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask UKSolicitorJA Your Own Question
UKSolicitorJA
UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6052
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
62162956
Type Your Law Question Here...
UKSolicitorJA is online now

I am experiencing 'copy wright' complaints from my former

Customer Question

Hello
JA: Hello. How can I help?
Customer: I am experiencing 'copy wright' complaints from my former employer after setting up a new website
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No I have not
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I own my own start-up UK company
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 7 days ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call.
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 7 days ago.

Hello,

What would you like to ask please? Please give details.

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
https://cjfinance.co.uk/
https://harrisonbrook.co.uk/
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
My previous employer is saying I have infringed their copy write with my website and in particular the fee schedule as attached above
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Previous Employer:
My only concern is the new website. The colours are identical and a lot of the framework, like on 'our costs' page is the same. When we spoke we drew the agreement, I believed there was a clear understanding there is no point copying each other it's not going to benefit either of us, which is why we had the section in the agreement covering this exact topic. Naturally, I wasn't aware this was the reason why you wanted this part removed.I'm not massively concerned as we have a new website going live in line with going solo, but the reason we drew up the agreement from my side was for this exact reason, and it's been fully ignored. Which is against the spirit of why we did the agreement in the first place and why I paid for it to be drawn up. The agreement was to protect the interests of yourself, in terms of money and clients, but also from my side the intellectual property of the company. I've got no issues with people moving, I actually suggested to you this, the fact you've picked the same colours complicates matters needlessly. Because of that, and our gentlemen agreement that this wasn't going to occur I agreed to remove that section from the agreement. But you've completely gone against that. Which from my side I just want to have this finished, but now I'm going to run this by the solicitor given it infringes on parts we have already got copyrighted.My concern now is without a section on branding that, this could become an issue again since we will be launching the new site in the next few weeks and if this has been done now, it could continue to be done in the future. My initial thought is that we are going to have in the copyright section in again because it's been ignored without it. I'm sure you can understand my chain of thought, I'm being reasonable on so many points and I did expect this in return.I don't want to drag this out and I'm sure your the same so I'll email the solicitor now, but the solution will be to add in this section and parts we have copyrighted are going to have to change. Such the fee breakdown, is identical, even the wording. I'm not fussed about dramatic changes but it can't be the same.Happy to chat through over the phone if easier in the morning and we can then get the reply from the solicitor so we can get everything signed off before the end of the week
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
My response:
Hi mate,Yeah, let’s chat today.I'm available at 7 am BST also we can chat then before and catch-up again at 1 pm after.Regarding website information - you can see there is no crossover. I wrote lots of the HB website and articles myself, but I haven't used a single word from the HB website or from my old articles. I have purposefully written everything unique as it would only damage both of our SEO's. Blogging data - again I’ve not used anything that I wrote at HB.Website framework and structure - I must have been the HB website a handful of times since I knew I was leaving as I have purposefully not wanted to make it the same. There are 40 odd pages on my website - I am sure you will agree that (bar the fee section) nothing else is similar to HB which should make it obvious I really haven’t been using HB.For the Fee section, the whole pages are very different but I agree with you on the actual fee breakdown section. It is factual information and there are not a million ways to say 3% advice/fee, 2%, 1% + 1% service/cost/fee pa but I’ve compared this to HB and already updated all of the below to ensure there is no cross over on identical wording.Changes:Removed word “unique” from the title - Not sure if that was an issue or not“Less Than” - Changed Wording to “Up to”“More Than” - Changed Wording to “Over”“Set-Up Fee” - Changed to “Set-Up Advice Fee”“Annual Service Charge” - Changed to “Annual Fee”“Get Started” - Change to “Get Advice”“Low 1% Annual Cost” - Changed to “Low Cost - 1% Annual”All other icons and bullet points totally different anywayOther ThingsToky - I spent two days researching all the competitors on capterra and get.app doing free trials - to use something different but Toky has the best capabilities (iOS, Android etc). Half the apps don’t even have Android download so I couldn’t even have them on my phone. Toky is by far the best one.Let’s chat this over today and get it worked out as I don’t want it to drag out either. Anything you see like the fee schedule just let me know - I think the rest of the website pages framework is totally different.
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Previous employer:
Good morning mate,The issue isn't the wording being changed, under copyright even if you rewrite someone else's work, where you edit to spin in your own words but where the concept remains the same, layout, flow, etc. it still is somebody else's work and a breach of copyright. Otherwise, everybody would just use each other's designs and change the words without having to do any of the design or the original concept.This is the point you are also agreeing with below, you have simply changed the wording on exactly the same concept, with the same colours and flow on several pages. I agree lots of other pages are very different and no issues at all with these, but there are many which fall foul of the exact point I've just made above which are all copyrighted for this exact purpose. And why this was also mentioned in the meeting with the barrister and the solicitor.The key issue is how close you have copied somebody and if you had the permission to do so, wherein case you didn't. If we take the fee page as an example, this was designed by Callum and also copyrighted by him. You can't just change the words and say something different, under any of the laws, it's a copyright breach.I'm speaking with James Freeman this morning (I'm up early with Julia currently) and I will see what he suggests. Imagine we are going to have to go through and see what fall's foul of the above copyright point and then we can work out a route forward following this.
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Our termination agreement states: "The parties agree and undertake that Cameron James Limited will not
copy or replicate any website information, blogging data, branding, used
by, or belonging to Harrison Brook Limited."
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 7 days ago.

Under copyright law, for you to have infringed copyright, your work should be substantially similar in design, structure or content, to the degree that it can be said that the work was copied or adapted from the former employer's work, rather than simply a similar idea or concept.

In my opinion, it would appear that the fee section in your website has been adapted from your former employer. I have not looked at the other sections in your respective websites.

At the end of the day, only a court may determine conclusively whether or not you have indeed infringed copyright.

May I help further?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
In my opinion, it would appear that the fee section in your website has been adapted from your former employer. I have not looked at the other sections in your respective websites - OK thank you for this feedback
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Can my former employer stop me using colours though?
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Also, would it be advisable to try and copyright my logo now?
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 7 days ago.

It is up to you whether or not you wish to comply but for the sake of peace and quiet, you may agree to stop using the colours.

Copyright is automatic.

All the best. Please click on 5 stars

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I spent 4 weeks going through logo and branding with my designer though. I also share logos and colours with 25 people to get feedback and choose the one that had the best feedback
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Can my former employer sue me for using the colours? Can he stop me from using the colour scheme? The colours are not identical.
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
In your opinion, is now better? Ie. less chance of a claim being made for it being adapted?
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 6 days ago.

Please accept to continue.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
What is your hourly rate for work?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I have shared my case with 2 other IP lawyers in London
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
This Q&A style is very and you do not have all the information pertaining to the case
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Please outline your hourly cost structure. Or your fixed fee cost structure. And if you offer an initial consultation.
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 11 hours ago.

This is an online only service, not a law firm.

 

Please accept proposal to continue.