||[Jun. 23rd, 2006|04:01 pm]
Some dimwit we designed a site for supplied me with someone else's copy.
I think his exact words were; "I didn't write this, but it's pretty much what I want to say. I just need to change a few words here and there." Stupidly, I assumed he meant a friend had written it for him, or his wife. Perhaps if I hadn't been in such a tearing hurry to get the bloody site up (it had been languishing in the design-finished-awaiting-copy-stage for almost two months) I might have thought to say something like: "But it is yours to use right?"
Unfortunately - and rather unsurprisingly - the large angry company who threatened us both with prosecution were less than understanding. "Ignorance is no defence" apparently, even when the thing you're ignorant of is the source of the text you used. They seemed particularly incensed that the content of their description meta-tags (also provided by our client) was also stolen word-for-word from their site.
I have explained the series of events to the angry men and have apologised profusely for being so naive as to think that most people know the basics of copyright law (i.e don't rip off someone else's text) and they have agreed to drop the matter if our client makes a donation to their favourite charity. Thankfully, he's said he'll do it.
Feel like I dodged a bullet with this one. I had about 2 hours sleep last night thinking about it, and the consequences if we were to be prosecuted by a company with as much legal clout as this one, and have decided to add some really exhaustive clauses to our terms and conditions to protect us from trouble like this in future.
Anyone have any suggestions of where I might find some guidance?