Copyright infringement. What can you do if your work is illegally copied to furnish another website

I’ve recently discovered that a website in Belgium has illegally copied my plant descriptions and plant care advice for of over 3,800 plants, to furninsh their website.

I think it’s an absolute disgrace.  It cost tens of thousands of pounds to pay Authors and years of work to gather this data.

They have not been very subtle in the way they have copied my work. They have copied the plant description (including spelling mistakes and typos), Latin names explained, aspect , height etc including the source codes and simply put the data on their site so people to sign up for their website and Apps. The Apps have my data as well.

Fortunately I have Copyright transfer contracts with the Authors going back to 2001, so there is no doubt the text belongs to me.

The website in Belgium knew it was going to take them years to gather enough useful data to get their sites up and running so they decided to copy it for free instead. I’ve instructed a specialist Copyright Solicitor to write to them and have my data and images removed.

I’m interested to know does anyone else have silmilar situations where people steal your work?

Some people might suggest it’s a compliment to have ones work copied, but I don’t agree. It’s just greed. They are earning money from my work and saved years of work in doing so.

The site in Belgium also make out that they are a .org company in the attempt to make out they are an organisation. They are just three computer programmers who want to make a quik buck / Euro.

My specialist Copyright Solicitor is in contact the Company so I will be more than happy to share my experience with others in the same situation and with luck we can make it expensive and difficult for lazy people from doing this to others.

UPDATE:- The Belgium company have now removed the data and images from their sites. No apology though.

If you want to see my geniune site with in-depth plant descriptions, height, spread, aspect, etc please visit www.rightplants4me.co.uk  The site has over 3,800+ plants, mainly garden plants but also many other types such as weeds, trees, shrubs. Each plant has images to help with plant identification.

More plants are being added daily.

It’s free to browse but you can subscribe if you wan to be able to make plant lists and printable notes. I hope you find it useful.

The screen shot showing how you can search for plants.

Thank you

Best wishes

Neil

2 Responses to Copyright infringement. What can you do if your work is illegally copied to furnish another website

  1. Mertie Mae, Horticulture Talk Editor says:

    I had a similar situation happen to me. I had written an article about growing garlic in the south in 2012 after someone posted a question on my blog. The original article I had written had been extracted from a paper I wrote up in grad school based off of an experiment that we did to study the effects of a southern climate on vegetable production. Got an A on the paper and then later extrapolated it a bit to fit the question when it came in.

    Then this past summer I got a nasty comment on the post from a Susan Fluegel from Grey Duck Garlic telling me I had plagiarized her website. Huh? I remember sitting at the computer with the eyebrow raised wondering if this lady was crazy. Went to her website link (http://greyduckgarlic.com/Southern_Garlic_Grower_Guide.html), and sure enough, there was my blog article! The only thing she did to change it was to add photos and their description and then a thing about their cats:

    “…Our cats, Baby and Hissy, work hard to keep our garlic field clear of any vermin.

    Update: Sadly Hissy, our best gopher catcher, passed away last year and she is greatly missed. Baby keeps the field clear of voles and mice but is too impatient to wait for gophers. In lieu of Hissy, Susan has to catch gophers herself. ”

    To say I was ticked was an understatement. As

    I immediately made all of my posts private and went to work on finding out if anyone else had plagiarized my work. I found a few examples on About.com and eHow were random users had uploaded entire articles (complete with my own personal stories and references). I contacted the websites and the articles were removed.

    As for old Susan Fluegel, what an old puke. She has yet to remove my work, and because I really had no legal leg to stand on because I never put a copyright on it. She did via it now being work of her company. I was out of luck and a lot wiser. I had to rewrite my article — which ticked me off to no end, but at least I was the one that was able to do it because I didn’t have to steal my work to begin with!

    My husband gets on my case about blogging. “You put everything you know out there for free, and people steal it. Why don’t you make them pay for your website?” Hopefully, one day, that will be the case. 😉

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