Why Do The Various Copyright Pre-Settlement Lawsuit Factories Keep Copying Each Other?

from the that-design-looks-familiar dept

Earlier this year we noted, with some amusement, that the US Copyright Group (the biggest name among the recent glut of copyright pre-settlement shakedown letter factories popping up all over the country) had apparently copied the code for its settlement website from a competitor, the Copyright Enforcement Agency (even leaving in the phone number). And, of course, we've also noted that the US Copyright Group is now involved in a lawsuit after threatening to sue competitor Media Copyright Group, for being too similar.

Now, a reader who goes by the name Mr. Piracy Reporter, notes that yet another new pre-settlement lawsuit factory, going by the name of the Copyright Defense Agency, appears to have created a very, very similar website to that of the Copyright Enforcement Agency (the same company that USCG was accused of copying. You can see the images below:
Copyright Enforcement Agency

Copyright Defense Agency
Now, it's true that they're not exactly the same, but it certainly looks like one site pointed their designer towards the other's and said "make it look like that." Either that or the design firm they hired just went looking for a similar site to mimic. I especially like how both have similar, but not identical, graphics on the right-hand side, including the globe with the arrow (what does that even mean?). Of course, such copying almost certainly is not illegal, but for organizations trying to convince the world that they're all about preventing unauthorized copying, it does seem amusing to note just how much copying of each other they seem to do.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Chris (profile), Oct 14th, 2010 @ 12:46pm

    Hey, sometimes when you go chasing ambulances, it's best when your car looks like all the other cops.

     

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    VancouverDave, Oct 14th, 2010 @ 12:50pm

    It may not be that nefarious

    It looks to me like they just settled on the same free web template.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 14th, 2010 @ 1:40pm

      Re: It may not be that nefarious

      That's the first thing I thought, it's just some web template they both used. That is until I read how the CEA (first image) had sued the USCG for copying their website. So, if it is the same web template, the CEA thinks they own it.

       

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      Alatar, Oct 14th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

      Re: It may not be that nefarious

      What did you just say? "Free"? You mean that the content creator is not pay a tax on every single use? Piracy! Theft! Fire the lawyers!

       

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    R. Miles (profile), Oct 14th, 2010 @ 12:50pm

    Huh?

    Mike, have you not been out in the web lately? There are a ton of sites which do this, so it's not what I'd call "Hey, copycat!"

    Especially from a group that's copying each other's "legalese" documentation.

    By the way... those sites look suspiciously like something I developed in 2005.

    *readies copyright lawsuit

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Oct 14th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    It looks like ..

    It looks like they stole seals from the US government is what it looks like. Trying to be all official looking. What a bunch of asshats.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    if you go to the news section on CDA, you'd swear they're only collectors for the pr0n industry

     

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    Spectere (profile), Oct 14th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    Now, it's true that they're not exactly the same, but it certainly looks like one site pointed their designer towards the other's and said "make it look like that."

    I work for a company that offers web design services (among other things) and you'd be surprised how many people will just give us a list of URLs (it's usually not much of a list, either -- usually they only give us one or two) when we ask them what they want it to look like. We try to make inspire our design on the other site without making them look similar at all, but nine times out of ten our customers aren't satisfied until we make the sites look almost the same.

    Long story short: color me unsurprised.

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Oct 14th, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    Globe with arrow

    If I had to make a wild guess, I'd say whoever designed the CDA copied from the CEG based on the globe with arrow image alone.

    On the CEG page next to that image, it says 'Web Collect' - so someone obviously wanted an image that involved the 'world' wide web (for those that remember when the Internet was referred to by that name).

    How a globe with an arrow relates to 'Recovery Specialists' - I'm totally lost on that.

     

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      nasch (profile), Oct 14th, 2010 @ 4:04pm

      Re: Globe with arrow

      someone obviously wanted an image that involved the 'world' wide web (for those that remember when the Internet was referred to by that name).

      Enlighten me, when was the internet referred to as the world wide web?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2010 @ 7:31pm

    Perfect example of copying

    Just think, without patents you could just copy a process and use it for free and we could have the kind of progress and innovation displayed in this article.

    Copying, bad for pre-settlement factories, good for innovation. WTF?

     

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      nasch (profile), Oct 15th, 2010 @ 7:48am

      Re: Perfect example of copying

      He didn't say it's bad, he said it's ironic that so many anti-copying people do so much copying.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2010 @ 10:45am

        Re: Re: Perfect example of copying

        Fair enough. But to be clear, this is exactly the kind of copying that Mike says drives innovation. Everything the same is not innovation.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2010 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Perfect example of copying

          [Citation Needed]

           

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 15th, 2010 @ 4:31pm

          Re: Re: Re: Perfect example of copying

          Fair enough. But to be clear, this is exactly the kind of copying that Mike says drives innovation. Everything the same is not innovation.

          Um, wow, that's dumb.

          1. I never said that you shouldn't be able to copy websites. I just pointed out the irony of companies who claim they're pro-copyright and anti-coyping who then copy. It sorta shows that copying is natural. Which was the point. I wasn't condemning the act, just the hypocrisy.

          2. I have never said that straight up copying drives innovation. Lies will get you nowhere. What I have said is that being able to *build on* the works of others does help innovation, by letting you make something better.

          Willful lying about my position is just sad.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2010 @ 7:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Perfect example of copying

            Willful lying? Perhaps it is too easy to misunderstand you. Willfully dodging your own words is just sad.

            From http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100826/09354110786.shtml:
            "Of course, the traditionalists will be horrified at this sort of blatant "copying," but these kinds of "mashups," while certainly not legal, are actually an interesting way to experiment and potentially innovate"

            Right there you say that blatant copying is potential innovation. Like I said, everything the same is not innovation. I did not get it wrong by leaving out the word 'potential'. You really think that blatant copies are good for innovation and that really is sad.

             

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 3:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perfect example of copying

              Right there you say that blatant copying is potential innovation.

              Ah, reading comprehension fail. Put that text back in context. I did not say straight up copying. Note the "copying" is in quotations, because that whole story is not about straight up copying, but about companies building on the works of others to build something better (like iPhones running Android).

              Like I said, everything the same is not innovation.

              And that article had nothing to do with everything being the same, as I pointed out to you and is clear upon reading the article. Oddly, you seem unable to comprehend this.

              I did not get it wrong by leaving out the word 'potential'.

              You got it wrong by being so incredibly wrong.

              You really think that blatant copies are good for innovation and that really is sad.

              I have said no such thing, but, willfully lying is amusing.

               

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    hxa7241, Oct 15th, 2010 @ 8:36am

    It is worse than that -- the armorial logo looks almost exactly copied from somewhere else!

    The design/syle is not the only thing 'Copyright Defense Agency' seems to have copied . . .

    The armorial bearings (coat of arms) in the top left are those of the old East India Company no less! -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_India_Company -- Copying that is maybe not decent and honourable given the intent of heraldry, but probably legal.

    But perhaps awkwardly for 'Copyright Defense Agency' those arms are currently owned as a trademark of a company now trading in London. Furthermore, that new company claims -- as normal -- copyright for all things on their website, and the image of the arms used by CDA looks remarkably similar to the one on the EIC website.

    Have a look: http://www.theeastindiacompany.com/24/the-company-coat-of-arms
    or http://www.theeastindiacompany.com and click on the 2nd box in the top row.

     

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    Rat, Oct 16th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    there's new under the sun

    truer words were never apparent then right now. Rat

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 4:27am

    Maybe it's just me.......

    ....... but doesn't that thing at the bottom of the CDA site there look like some sort of .. ahem.... "phallicly shaped massager" with wings? Apropos perhaps? But then I always thought a Freudian slip was what a psychoanalst wore under a skirt.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 1:21am

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 1:26am

    and I sent east india a note about the website

     

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