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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Run my own successful business/contract law practice.
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I work for a marine parts business. A competitor of ours has

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I work for a marine parts business. A competitor of ours has downloaded a large set of PDFs from our web site. This competitor is now using these schematics on his web site. He has left the author intact which clearly states that I am the author of the files he now uses to compete with us. He has also imitated our methods for entering part numbers from those schematics. The content of the PDF does not belong to us, however we are a dealer for the company that produces them and they are well aware of our use of them on our web site. The competitor in question also is a delaer for the same marine parts company. I would estimate we spent 100K converting the documents and developing the part of the web site that handles these schematics. We are located in the State of Maine. Our competitor is located in the State of Massachusetts. I do not know for how long he has been using these schematics without our permission, but we created the first ones in 2005 and we have added to them annually. There are tens of thousands of them.

1) What cause of action might I have against this competitor?
2) Can you provide me a PDF of a case where this issue was litigated an the injured party recovered?

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

Oh, good grief. What you are describing is potential 'copyright infringement', since by modifying and creating your own schematics, you have created your own intellectual property. From your facts it is unclear if your business directly suffered, or that you can prove that your business ended up losing customers (as that would be a separate cause of action for 'tortious interference with a business interest'), but you have a very direct and blatant copyright infringement claim based on outright theft of your work product and the use of such product without consent. Their only potential defense would be that by placing the images online, you have failed to protect them and therefore made them part of the 'public domain', thereby losing protection and a claim that they are actively infringing on your interest.

Here are part of the statutes that would govern the infringement and the remedies involved:

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html


There are quite a few cases that govern--here is a link where you can evaluate the laws. Please give me a bit of time to see if I can find cases in Massachusetts or Maine, since on a state level I have not been successful as yet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_copyright_case_law (See Lenz, MDY Industries, and Perfect 10)

Good luck.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I am pleased you think I have a cause of action. I thought so much myself. However, I was looking for a case that might speak specifically to the issue I posed: downloaded a file and using it without consent on another website. Are you unfamiliar with this area of law and do you think that is something you could find that would apply in a Massachusetts court? Wikipedia is not really what I had in mind for an answer.

Thank you for your follow-up, Henry.

I am quite familiar with this situation and with such causes of action, which is why I was looking for more specific case law. However the 'wikipedia' entry is merely a means under which a case sumXXXXX XXXXXsting is provided, and why in this case I linked you to it (otherwise I have as much disdain for the website as you do because the information may be incorrect). The cases they list, however, are accurate.

However please review my original answer, while you very well may have a cause of action, if you uploaded and failed to protect your files online, there is a very strong argument on the other side that the information was out in the public domain and is no longer protected.

After searching, I believe I found a case that is on point. Please review it, and let me know how I can further assist:

http://homepages.law.asu.edu/~dkarjala/cyberlaw/KelllyvArriba%289C2003%29.htm

Good luck.

Thank you for your follow-up, Henry.

I am quite familiar with this situation and with such causes of action, which is why I was looking for more specific case law. However the 'wikipedia' entry is merely a means under which a case sumXXXXX XXXXXsting is provided, and why in this case I linked you to it (otherwise I have as much disdain for the website as you do because the information may be incorrect). The cases they list, however, are accurate.

However please review my original answer, while you very well may have a cause of action, if you uploaded and failed to protect your files online, there is a very strong argument on the other side that the information was out in the public domain and is no longer protected.

After searching, I believe I found a case that is on point. Please review it, and let me know how I can further assist:

http://homepages.law.asu.edu/~dkarjala/cyberlaw/KelllyvArriba%289C2003%29.htm

Good luck.
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