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    Pirated Proposal


    Here goes.

    Three weeks ago I approached a company about a possible website redesign. They were happy to listen, but I was told to come back in a week and outline my idea for improvements.

    One week passed. I made a informal presentation to the two owners. They liked my ideas but wanted time to work out a little cost/benefit analysis. "Call back in a few days" they said.

    A few days later: "nope, we're not interested right now." No problem. Anyone who builds websites is familiar with a little rejection now and then.

    Yesterday I had to call the guys back because they requested some information from me. I forgot their phone number so I went to their website and wouldn't you know it, someone had started to rebuild their website. Worst of all, they're using my proposal ideas!

    I'm familiar with copyright laws and of course I've got written proof they're using my ideas but what can I do about this and is it really worth legal action.

    I'd be interested in knowing how other people have handled this situation.

    Thanks

    sp
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    You didn't file a copyright so proving anything is, in practice, next to impossible without the filing number in hand.

    You can't copyright an idea.

    You can patent an idea.

    I assume you did not file for a patent.

    Conclusion: you have no basis for legal action.

    --- edit/continued --

    Beyond this basic set of facts regarding copyright and patent, I don't see how you could see any "piracy" of a proposal. A proposal is: I propose that I perform tasks x, y and z and you pay me $n

    Next person: I propose that I too will do x, y and z but you only pay me $n*3/5

    That's the way proposals and contracts work. I fail to see how there can be any intellectual property involved in a proposal. If there was, next time sign the contract before you start consulting
    Last edited by medialint; February 8th, 2005 at 08:31 PM.
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    Thanks. Pardon my tone, but I'm a little steamed at the moment.

    This is just a follow up to your response.

    The below paragraph is from http://www.rightsforartists.com/copyright.html

    "While registering for copyright is not required, the legal registration with the Office of Copyright will benefit the copyright owner should an issue of infringement occur. Registering copyright is beneficial because you cannot sue for copyright infringement without registration."

    So yes, you're right. I really have no chance at legal recourse. Yet, the above definition does suggest I have limited intellectual property rights--although it would be a long battle proving this and I would never be compensated.

    I did develop the idea and whether or not you wish to call this "piracy" or an extreme form of generosity the fact (you'll have to take my word for this. let's not involve the courts) is this idea was stolen from me.

    If I followed copyright law (and your suggestions) I would have to patent/copyright my idea months (the link above suggests it could take 8 months) in advance of a client proposal and make any potential client sign a intellectual property rights agreement after I shake their hand. That would go over well.

    As the storied saying goes: "Don't hate the player. Hate the game."

    Thanks medialint

    I hope some this will help someone someday.

    sp
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    I think you're misunderstanding the whole thing. Look, you're doing work for hire. The end product of that work is the property of your client, not you. If you have an original idea, put together a prototype and copyright that code and, if the idea is so unique, get a patent attorney. You can't copyright an idea. You can only copyright the end product of that idea. "I'm going to write a song about greed and corruption in modern society" is an idea. You can't do anything with that. Whereas the song "Money is not our God" by Killing Joke is the implementation of such an idea. That is where the copyright comes in. If there was a melody or any part of that end product that is distinctive that's where any plagiarism comes in. Not piracy, in any event.

    In the corporate world there are vendors that bid for large projects. Each has their proposal. The company tells each what they must have, would like, and what would be nice. Each vendor comes back with an estimate and a list of what can and cannot be done, often accompanied by a mock-up demonstration of the expected result.

    Undoubtedly your proposal in turn was created out of your client's need. It should have been. If it wasn't clear that you compete for clients with many other people, it probably is now. Please re-evaluate the situation and see if this isn't true.
    medialint.com

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    I think you should have signed a mutual NDA before you revealed your idea to the company. It is not a full guarantee, but at least they would think twice before pirating your idea.
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    Originally Posted by colin104
    I think you should have signed a mutual NDA before you revealed your idea to the company. It is not a full guarantee, but at least they would think twice before pirating your idea.
    I think the original OP has figured out a solution to his problem after 4 years.
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    Hiker, I'm not sure what you mean...
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  15. 'fie' on me, allege-dly
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    Colin, check the date of the original post ...

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    ooooops......
    sorry, my mistake

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