Dear Aunty B,
Everywhere I look there is a new competition business starting up.
I’m all for competition, but when they are copying wording from my site, using my terms and conditions and ripping off my designs, it sends me insane.
I’m stressing about it all and don’t know where to turn.
I don’t have thousands of legal $$ to spend. Do I just turn a blind eye? Stop looking? Email every one of them? Or just keeping changing my stuff?
Either way it looks like I’m at a loss for time or money because these people are too lazy to do their own ground work.
I checked out your site and you have done a lot of work. No wonder you are frustrated at being ripped off.
Given that intellectual property, and particularly copyright, is the lifeblood of your business, you should definitely be taking legal steps to protect it. The question then is how to do it to a budget.
Step 1: Go to a lawyer who knows about the area and ask for a legal letter that is so withering that it will sear the very envelope it which it is sent! You want to be able to send it out multiple times, or have an arrangement whereby the law firm sends it out each time (to give it extra weight), but without charging to re-invent the wheel each time it gets sent.
This shouldn’t cost more than about $500.
Step 2: If you need to issue proceedings, the costs can start to mount, so only do this where the rip-off is particularly blatant and there is strong likelihood of success – and some ability of the other side to pay costs.
Then publicise the action for all you are worth so that the message gets sent to others to reinforce the “cease and desist” letters forming part of Step 1.
Hope this helps. Better still, email our SmartCompany lawyer whom I can highly recommend. Tell him Aunty B says hi and he will look after you. His “wither” letters are something to behold. His name is James Omond and you can contact him on [email protected]
Your Aunty B