Business - Internet

Website copyright infringement beware

In one of the first cases of its kind in South Africa, a company accused of online copyright infringement has paid an out-of-court cash settlement to the copyright owner., billed as South Africa's premier online Financial Advisor directory, recently took legal action against another directory site, for what it saw as a direct breach of its intellectual property. The alleged wrongdoer purportedly copied, word for word, a large piece of text from FindanAdvisor's website and distributed such as part of an email newsletter for its own marketing campaign.

Up until now, website content has been pretty much a free-for-all. The ease of copying and pasting from millions of online sources has exploded. Copying images from the web also contravenes copyright. Everybody, from plagiarising post-graduate students to bogus overnight medical experts, has participated. Many are unaware that they are in fact breaching the law, but, as internet business gets more serious, more litigation of this nature can be expected. Specialist companies have even sprung up overseas that scout the web for copyright infringers and then report them to the original content owners (presumably for a commission). If found guilty, offenders can be sued for up to three or four years of royalty fees, or even more if financial loss can be proven.

Parties making use of content from websites need to quote the source of the content, and preferably provide a link back to the source website. Most web authors will be content with the publicity and incoming link. However, in order to be completely watertight, express authorisation by the author of the content needs to be obtained.

With the worldwide web being such a huge place, content authors who have had their work plagiarised are seldom aware that their rights have been infringed. A good way (but not guaranteed) to find out is to type a long sentence of your text into a few good search engines and see what comes up. In theory the search should render no results, unless of course somebody came up with the identical sentence on their own accord. If not speak to your lawyer! is pleased with the settlement and is continuing to establish itself as a top class portal for members of the South African public needing to make an informed, un-pressured and proactive choice about which financial advisor or broker to appoint. Reputable financial advisors around the country are also benefiting from the exposure they are getting to a growing, astute and affluent segment of the South African population. In fact, the website has had such success that a sister site,, is due to be launched in the next month.

This information is distributed for and on behalf of FinandAdvisor.

For further info please Contact Chris Preen Tel 021-7832183 or


Frank Coetzee

Frank Coetzee

SA Internet News Group Cc

As developer and owner of this group my goal is to help clients and members as much as possible so please contact me at any time if necessary.

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