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Copying work - but not in school!

(15 Posts)
Seenenoughtoknow Sat 22-Sep-12 14:04:24

Okay, this might sound daft but AIBU? I set up a website for our (dh and my) business, and I had to do a very descriptive bit on the local area - what to do, where to go etc. It took me a couple of days to research and a few hours then to write all the details and description out and coordinate all the information so that it read well. I was pleased with my work.

A friend is in the same business and created a website for their company - which they posted on Facebook and on the net, and I had a look and thought it was lovely...until I discovered my work under the description of 'the area'! Word for word! I didn't know what to do, so left it for the time being, until they started a sister business and used my work in THAT website too. My dh said I should just comment to see if she acknowledged the use of the work, so on Facebook, alongside her advert I commented how beautiful the site was and how well the business photographed etc (all true), but then joked 'I especially like the description of the area - I'm sure I've seen it somewhere before ;)' - to which she replied 'Thanks - we're proud of the site etc etc' with still no mention of the 'borrowing' of my work.

I know my friend created their site, so there is no question someone else put it there. With regard to our businesses - they are similar and rely on the same trade but there is plenty of trade, both are doing fabulously so it isn't a 'competition' thing - there is definitely room for both in the local area. Am I being unreasonable to be a little bit miffed about this? What would you do, and how would you feel?

Ithinkitsjustme Sat 22-Sep-12 14:09:48

You could always advertise "as endorsed by...." for your website! I don't know what you can do about it, I have no idea whther websites are covered by copyright but you are NOT being unreasonable to be annoyed about it - I know I would be.

larks35 Sat 22-Sep-12 14:12:45

It's called copyright, you are protected without having sought protection iykwim. YANBU, they are, call them on it. I would get them to remove your work from their website, after all anyone searching might see their website, then yours and think you nicked it off them!

tanfastic Sat 22-Sep-12 14:17:38

It's Copyright. I have a couple of websites and have had competitors steal my photos and I've sent them a firm cease and desist email which has sorted the problem
Out. However you are friends so it's a difficult one. I'm pretty outspoken so I'd have said something rather than write a comment that could be ignored. It's bloody rude what they've done. I'd be furious. Depends whether you want to lose a friendship over it.

Seenenoughtoknow Sat 22-Sep-12 14:41:47

Thank you kindly for your replies, it is a tricky one as it involves a friendship. It is just nice to know she shouldn't have done it (for the various reasons you've cited - as well as for reasons of friendship) and that in your opinions at least, I am not being unreasonable. That means a lot.

Muse23 Sat 22-Sep-12 15:10:13

Why should you put all the hard work and hours in just for her to come along and nick it??! If she was any kind of friend, she'd have asked first instead of stealing it and getting credit for it. She's got it for free but you put in all the manpower, surely you deserve some acknowledgement? Who knows what else she will do in future? It's plagiarism, how stupid of her not to have changed any of it. I think you've every right to be pissed off. I would want them to take it off, you wrote it yourself as you wanted it to be original, now it looks like a copy of another site. People won't be fussed who they choose to go with as they will think both sites are much the same and it won't matter who to pick, neither will stand out. I guess asking her why her site reads word for word the same as yours and where she got the original write up from could be a start but tricky?
Copying is meant to be a form of flattery though!

ivanapoo Sat 22-Sep-12 15:15:23

I work in online marketing and this could also possibly damage the authority of your website in the eyes of search engines eg Google.

If google detects what they call "duplicate content", they could basically penalise your website which would affect its position in Google searches.

Not sure if you're doing SEO for your site but if you are, ask your SEO guys about it

EmmelineGoulden Sat 22-Sep-12 15:32:50

Seen if she doesn't know you but a lot of effort into creating that bit of prose, she may just have assumed you nicked it from somewhere and didn't really give it a second thought to use it herself. Not that that means it's OK, just that her using the text and not acknowledging you may simply be because it never occurred to her that you wrote it.

Friendship notwithstanding you are still well within your rights, if you wish, to ask her to take it down and rewrite her own. Especially if you want to give an impression of your business being unique (I'm guessing guest house?). Or tell her you spent a lot of time writing it, you're proud of it and you'd like her to acknowledge the origin on her website with a copyright notice naming you (and linking to your own website if you like).

notanaxemurderer Sat 22-Sep-12 15:36:26

Google does penalise duplicate content, but it will be your friend who is penalised, not you, as your website is the original site.

Seenenoughtoknow Sat 22-Sep-12 17:24:52

Muse23 - I agree, I think I was most offended by the fact that she had been on my site, copied and pasted my work, and hadn't even asked or let me know. But it's worse that when I did my best to call her on it, she didn't even acknowledge it then either. I feel a bit peeved that my work is on my site and two of hers!

Ivanapoo and Notanaxemurderer - thank you for that information, I had no idea about that so I will definitely check out what I can and perhaps use that as a reason to ask her to remove it.

Emmalingoulden - I had thought that might be the case, so when I mentioned on her Facebook that I'd 'seen it before' - and she just thanked me for the compliment - I did say I know how much work goes into the writing for a site as I'd written ours myself - but she again didn't acknowledge it and the work is still on her sites! For that reason I can only assume she knows it was my work but has chosen to keep it on there.

I only wrote this question today because she is re-advertising the sites again on Facebook (2nd time in 2 weeks since they were completed) so I am forced to see it and deal with my discontented feelings again.

EmmelineGoulden Sat 22-Sep-12 17:40:17

Not necessarily Seen, if she made her site by copying and pasting from other places on the Internet she might think you did the same. That your reference to having seen it before meant you had seen it on other sites - hence it ending up on yours. She may think the hard work involved is to do with designing and coding the site rather than writing the prose, since the prose wasn't hard for her!

But I postulate this only as a Pollyanna approach, not as my best guess at the situation. You know her and the detail of what was actually said, I do not. I think YANBU to be miffed.

EmmelineGoulden Sat 22-Sep-12 17:42:35

Sorry - just reread the bit about specifically telling her you had written it yourself. I can finagle an excuse for her at all.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 22-Sep-12 17:47:44

Why don't you just ask her why she's done it rather than endlessly hypothesising?

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 22-Sep-12 19:43:35

Seenenoughtoknow: if I were you I'd point out to your friend that her site will be penalised by Google for having duplicate content. Also, tell her that you wrote the content.

Internet marketers and SEO bods will tell you that "content is king" and that she needs unique, meaningful and well researched content for her site.
Otherwise she'll not get the results that she expects from her website.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 25-Sep-12 20:41:58

Thanks for your help grateful for all your suggestions - apart from DolomitesDonkey...(do you get a kick from making people feel small?). I was here to ask for help because, as I explained, speaking to my friend about it will be difficult, and I wasn't sure if it was worth the problems it might cause.

To the rest of you - thank you very much.

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