M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp., Brea, CA, recently fell victim to a different type of cyber crime: website piracy. While surfing the internet for images, M.R. Mold Owner Rick Finnie came across an image that he recognized as his own, and hovered over the image with his mouse to track the source. To his surprise, M.R. Mold’s website did not appear but instead, a company from China by the name of Mold Sourcing China. The website was an exact copy of M.R. Mold’s site, from categories and tabs to all verbiage and images. M.R. Mold’s website had been pirated – copied to the T.
Taking immediate action, M.R. Mold contacted AMBA’s partner law firm Ice Miller to see what could be done. According to M.R. Mold Marketing Director Geri Anderson, its website administrator was a great help and immediately identified the host of the pirated website. “Ice Miller sent out a letter to the host company to cease and desist, accompanied by a 40-page document proving the website was pirated,” said Anderson. “It was a long, arduous process putting together the documentation, but it was necessary to prove the theft.” It also cost the company almost $8,000 to claim what was their own.
The process took about a month and on January 10, 2014, the pirated site was taken down. Unfortunately, on January 13, 2014, just three days later, the site reappeared using a new host, and the process started all over again. “We went after the hosts instead of the Chinese company because the hosts were in the US and provided a route that was much easier and quicker,” said Anderson. “Going after the registrar would have taken too long and cost too much money.”
Today, M.R. Mold continues its struggle, as the stolen site still contains two categories copied off of its website. To help combat future theft, M.R. Mold recommends taking the following precautions:
- Watermark all images with company name and/or website. These watermarks cannot be removed and help to protect your property.
- Register your contact information with Google. Google then checks content information and the author to ensure its validity. If Google finds it is not valid, it penalizes the fake author via Google rankings. This doesn't prevent others from using your content, but it is a deterrent.
- Conduct periodic searches through your web browser to ensure the integrity of your website.