Companies love to ignore copyright law

Saturday, March 10th, 2007 at 1:37 am | 1,646 views | trackback url

This morning, I was checking my Google AdSense and Google Analytics statistics, and noticed a bump in the number of hits to my 9/11 Commission Report page.

9/11 Commission Report

I decided to hit the referer logs and look at where the traffic was coming from, which led me to these three company pages.

If you look closely at the first one, they have a copy of the 9/11 Commission Report, nicely annotated, converted to Windows CHM format, available for purchase at $14.95.

Closer examination of a page like this shows that they have some footnote links which link to the footnote index.

Comparing that to my own version, you’ll notice that they are IDENTICAL.

If you compare that to the original 9/11 Commission Report from the .gov site, you’ll notice that these footnotes do not exist at all, and they aren’t in the PDF version either.

Why? Because I created them! I put them there, painstakingly by hand… every… single… one (this is also referenced in my detailed ChangeLog for my HTML version of the report).

I took the PDF version, created a fully semantic, validated version of the content, page-by-page, footnote by footnote, making sure everything met with the highest standards. I then converted it to Plucker format, with the end result that looks very nice on the Palm (I also converted it to iSilo format as well).

They also conveniently used the images I google’d around for, and put in my version. There are quite a few “easter eggs” in the version I have which makes it easy to spot someone who has taken my copy, instead of using the upstream version. I won’t mention what they are, but these three sites are guilty of violating the copyright on the HTML presentation and corrections in my version. They also stripped out the meta tags identifying it as mine, as well as the HTML comment that warns not to steal the work without permission.

They knowingly elected to violate the copyright by taking my work without permission, and are selling it.

One of these companies even went so far as to claim it as their own version, their own creation (and yet, my hidden “corrections” to the original content are mysteriously in their copy).

This morning, I decided to send the three of them a Cease & Desist takedown notice. They have been given 24 hours to remove the unauthorized reproduction of my work, before I begin taking a walk with them through the legal system.

This email is to notify you that you are henceforth forbidden from redistributing, selling or promoting derivative copies of my works, specifically the “9/11 Commission Report” as referenced here:


Failure to remove this work from your website and all partner websites within 24 hours will result in direct legal action against your company for copyright violation as well as other applicable laws, and proper financial restitution will be assessed at that time.

As the original author of the HTML work you have stolen my without permission, I take direct issue with your redistribution of my work.

Prior authorization is required by the license which you agreed to when you decided to download, convert and/or sell the work as your own.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss your options.

I have quite a bit of experience chasing down copyright violations.

I am not happy about this, but I will be vindicated, as always…

Last Modified: Saturday, March 10th, 2007 @ 01:37

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