Friday, October 23, 2009

How do you protect your business website from plagiarism?

You've spent hours developing unique content for your website or you've paid a pretty penny to a website developer to create unique copy. Why did you do this? You knew that Google's algorithm rewards those with unique and relevant content with a higher ranking. Why didn't you plagiarize someone else's site that was performing well? Well, you knew that it was morally and legally wrong, and you knew that if your site was not unique, Google would rank it lower.

Now that you're performing well on Google, your competitors will notice this and may attempt to duplicate your success by stealing your intellectual property. Take steps to prevent this from happening.

Ignorant, Lazy, or Cheap: Why steal website content?

Some people are just plain naïve and think that if it's on the web, it's public domain.

Everyone else feigns naivety, but steals your content because it's cheap, quick and easy. They are either too lazy to spend the countless hours developing content or lack the knowledge and experience in your field or the skill set to generate copy from brain to computer screen on their own.

These copyright violators also know that there's another option to developing their own content. They could pay a copywriter knowledgeable in your business to create unique content. They are just too cheap to do so. This is theft at its finest.

The ounce of prevention.

1. Always place a copyright notice on your website. The HTML code for "©", the little "c" with a circle around it, is "&copy". This will hopefully deter others from thinking it is part of the public domain.

2. Periodically search key phrases in Google. You can pull out whole sentences with quotes around it to see if someone is copying verbatim. However, you also need to search for fragments with quotes and whole sentences without quotes, to see if they are plagiarizing the 7th-grade-term-paper way (by mixing up the words and clauses or by using synonyms).

You can also add key phrases or image names to Google Alerts to let you know immediately when someone steals your content. Many plagiarizers are too lazy to change the file name of your images which easily show up in a google search.

3. Pay a service to monitor your copy for you. Copyscape is the most popular alternative to this. Remember, you get what you pay for in this world, and a little protection up front is worth much more than that pound of cure down the road.

The pound of cure.

If you come across someone who has stolen your intellectual property, research who they are and then contact them immediately. Go to to see who owns their domain name and who the contacts are. Most people, upon a phone call or a professional, non-accusatory email, will feign naivety and agree to immediately remove the content.

Others require more threatening letters or require you to contact their website host. Remember, the law is on your side. If all else fails, contact a lawyer to threaten litigation. If you are successful in copyright infringement litigation, you are entitled to damages and may be entitled to attorney fees.

by C. Michael Arnold
Attorney at Law
Arnold Law Office, LLC
Eugene, Oregon, USA

To visit Arnold Law Office on Facebook, click here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

How consistent are sentences in Lane County for major crimes?

Consistency in sentencing is important. The local print media does a fair job in reporting on individual cases but typically fails to report how a given case fits in with other recent similar cases. Here's a snapshot of some of Lane County's recent high profile sentences.

5.8 yrs. - What does it take to get 70 months in prison?

The Russian Armed Robbers - 2009

  • Crimes: 2 take-over style armed robberies of a Junction City market and a Coburg coffee kiosk.
  • Plea deal: faced Robbery I and at least 140 months, pleaded to two Robbery IIs.
  • Firearm: one sawed off shotgun in the clerks faces.
  • Victims: Multiple clerks and customers including a 10-year-old girl who watched her mom have a shot gun in her face.
  • Likely Motive: funding meth habit
  • Criminal History: 1 defendant had prior Burg 1, UUV, Forg 1, and other crimes.
  • Number of Perpetrators: 3
  • Judge: No discretion in sentence; stipulated prison term.
  • Prosecutor: Lane
  • Defense Attorneys: Jeffery M. Jones (retained); Ferder (retained); Rainwater (appointed)
  • News Reports: R-G
11.6 yrs - What does it take to get 140 months?

The Mazzi/Beaudet Jewelry Simulated Armed Heists - 2009
  • Crimes: 6 takeover-style armed robberies with a toy gun; robbed Mazzi's Restaraunt four times; robbed Beaudet's twice.
  • Plea deal: faced at least 360 months (30 years) and California, Nevada, and the Feds agreed not to pursue at least four other similar robberies.
  • Firearm: air pistol or BB gun.
  • Victims: Multiple clerks and customers feared being executed.
  • Likely Motive: Gambling debts. Likely greed and thrill.
  • Criminal History: none; model student.
  • Number of Perpetrators: 1
  • Judge: No discretion in sentence; stipulated term.
  • Prosecutor: Schwartz
  • Defense Attorney: Deal (appointed)
  • News Reports: R-G 1/2/09; 1/3/09.

17.5 yrs - What does it take to get 210 months?

ATM Carjackings - 2009

  • Crimes: 3 women kidnapped and ordered to drive to ATMs and then their addresses were stolen as threats to victims.
  • Plea deal: faced 43+ years; Agreed to a range of 70-210 months.
  • Firearm: none but one threatened and purportedly hidden.
  • Victims: Three women over five days.
  • Likely Motive: funding heroin habit
  • Criminal History: minimal.
  • Number of Perpetrators: 2
  • Judge: Cindy Carlson.
  • Prosecutor: Lane
  • Defense Attorneys: Coit (retained); Arnold (retained); Volmert (appointed)
  • News Reports: R-G

20 years - What does it take to get 240 months?

Eugene's Deadliest Drunk Driving Accident in History - 2009

  • Crimes: Runs read light at 92 mph killing two adults and two children and critically injuring another child while 0.21% BAC.
  • Plea Deal: pleaded to indictment - Manslaughter I x 4; Assault 2; Reckless Driving. According to the news reports, court had discretion to impose 46 years.
  • Victims: four deaths; one critically injured child.
  • Likely Motive: left the bar angry
  • Criminal History: unknown
  • Number of Perpetrators: 1
  • Judge: Billings
  • Prosecutor: Vill.
  • Defense Attorney: Cascagnette (appointed); Koenig (appointed on limited basis)
  • News Reports: KVAL; RG; Fox


22.7 yrs - What does it take to get 272 months?

Romania Chevrolet SUV Ecosabotage - 2001

  • Crimes: set fire to three SUVs while under federal domestic counter terrorism surveillance with one security guard present. Also, attempted to set fire to Tyree Oil Co.
  • Plea deal in 2001: none. Bench trial. Convicted of Arson I x 3; Attempted arson I x unlawful possession of a destructive device x 2; unlawful manufacture of a destructive device; criminal mischief I; attempted criminal mischief I.
  • Plea deal in 2008: Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that crimes should have merged. Resentenced to 10 years.
  • Victims: SUVs were salvageable. Original prosecutor argued risk to fire fighters and night watchman.
  • Likely Motive: political/environmental
  • Criminal History: none.
  • Number of Perpetrators: 2
  • Judge: Velure (2001); Billings (2008)
  • Prosecutor: Tracy (2001); Hasselman (2008)
  • Defense Attorneys: Barnes (retained 2001); Regan (retained resentencing after appeal)
  • News Reports: EW; RG