21.11.12

Building a Business Part 8: The Downs.

Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: Sugardevil
Part 3: Groupie
Part 4: "Jacob"
Part 5: Dream Jobs
Part 7: The "Ups"

With any type of good idea and success, there will always be those who want a piece of the pie. I had my fair share of individuals ripping off my copyrighted code and developing their own custom Myspace profiles with it. Usually, a nice little cease and desist letter was successful in stopping them in their tracks, but one day I came across something that really got my blood boiling... another company was using my code and whole structure for building custom profiles.

I found dozens and dozens of pages they had created all by copying/pasting my work onto their own client's pages. The more I looked into it, the more pages I found. A cease and desist note did nothing, and I was pretty much just laughed at by the company owners telling me that I couldn't do anything about it.  Excuse me!? Here they were using (and profiting off) something that I spent months and months developing with these two hands, and they were telling me "oh well"?!  I was livid!

Very soon after, I hired a law firm to go after these sleazeballs. I had probably the most comprehensive collection of evidence in existence, and I saved every single correspondence and page they had created before they could remove or change it. For legal/contract reasons I am not able to go into great detail, but I will say that it took months and way too much work to get them to stop... but they did eventually stop. One thing I learned: lawyers are expensive!

x

The legal process is not something I would want to do again, but I definitely would do it again if I was faced with the same type of situation. I wasn't after them for money (although that kind of comes along with attempting to sue somebody) it was the principle of the whole thing. The fact that they thought they had the right to just take something that wasn't theirs... something that they put absolutely no effort or hard work into themselves, and profit off it, while their clients were none the wiser.

With that mess out of the way, I could continue working on my business... being a little more cautious this time.  From the beginning, I had always marked my work with a copyright notice, which ended up helping me with the legal stuff. It's funny how you don't realize that little things like that could be so important until you find yourself in a situation where it's needed.

Back in my office, I had heard from some of my Myspace colleagues that big changes were coming. Big changes as in: a whole new Myspace. They gave me a special account in which I could see the new layout and play with it a little bit, and my god, I hated it. I could tell that if they were to actually go through with this change, it would be the end of customized profiles and how we all knew them.

This talk about a "new" Myspace went on for months and months. One minute it was going to happen, the next it wasn't. They were making slight changes here and there and none of them seemed to be for the better.  I am convinced now that they were purposely trying to run the company into the ground. Being unsure about a platform that is your sole source of income is very stressful, that's for sure! In my mind I was trying to figure out how to transition clients over to this new platform should they choose to actually use it. You have to always think one step ahead of the game, because you never know when something could be taken away from right under your nose.

Then one day out of nowhere, I got a random personal email from Mike Jones, the (now past) CEO of Myspace himself...

Stay tuned for part 9!

Have you ever had a legal battle?

18 comments:

  1. I never had but I know the feeling of finding my own work on someone else's pages! It just drove me insane... some people might see it as a compliment, but I only was mad. Luckily it wasn't stuff I earned money from, though it was something I put my heartblood in.

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  2. Oh nooo, don't stop the story there! These posts are all really interesting, and I can imagine how frustrating it must have been to have someone rip you off as far as they had. I've not had any legal issues yet, and I hope I don't, but to be honest, I'm not sure I have the strength to go through with it if I did. I'm a full-time carer, so my patience is stretched thin as it is, the idea of someone ripping me off would send me into a blind rage. Of course I doubt the person causing the trouble would be affected by any of that being that I'd probably just be screaming at the computer and my boyfriend, but I wouldn't even know where to start. My work means a LOT to me, but I just don't think I could handle something like that. Not to mention that carer's allowance is far from enough to hire even a bad lawyer.


    Kim, A Blackbird's Epiphany

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  3. So proud you went after them! People like that need to know they WILL get caught. I'm sure hearing the myspace platform was changing had to be stressful; I can't imagine! I know I say it every time, but I love reading this series. :D
    Catherine Denton

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  4. This is, by far, my favourite series that you've done. I'm always so excited when I see that you've posted a new one that I can just sink my eyes into.

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  5. This is a great series. It is so hard to decide to drop it, I am glad to hear that you didnt. too often bigger companies taking advantage of the littler ones are far too willing to just go to court until you run out of money. Glad you stuck to your guns. looking forward to part 9

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  6. I love these posts! They are my favorite. It's so great that you were willing to put the time and money into fighting. It really sends a message for us little guys!

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  7. Good for you for not letting them get away with it. People who try to take advantage because they think they have more power than you need taking down a peg!

    Lea x

    It's Such A Wonderful Life -
    http://shebeginstosee.blogspot.com

    Why not check out my Christmas Yankee Candle giveaway?

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  8. Love your blog.*_*
    Maybe follow each other on BLOGLOVIN and GFC???
    My Blog

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  9. GAHHH im just obsessed with your blog!Your DIY and makeup tipsfashion looks got me hooked! keep up the wonderful work!
    http://ciaobellalov3.blogspot.com/

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  10. ah! nice blog! want to follow each other dear? :)

    http://choccopost.blogspot.com/

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  11. Awesome photos. Love you look :)

    Have a great day ♥

    Nicole,

    www.nicoleta.me

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  12. REally interesting and informative series of posts!
    I really like yur blog...It really embraces a vast series of topics :-). REally great!

    if you love beauty, come and look at mine :-)

    www.mademoisellenature.blogspot.com

    Have a nice day!
    xx

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  13. Love these posts :) xxx

    http://jeminixlife.blogspot.com

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  14. Good post! I know that I am just 16 and not so into business matters, but I think that even others will steal your work, you have evidence that what they stole is not theirs because you and only you have all the data/ code stored in your computer. Besides I don't think that people who steal your work knows exactly how to code/ make it just using the same steps as you did. I hope that in future days there will be some kind of copyright detector or something, that's what I am scared of the most. You can't really control digital stuff. Anyways, you're just an amazing blogger and graphic designer! I'm so inspired by you <3

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  15. Wow, you have overcome so much, and I am sure you are all the more wiser for it! What copyright tips do you have for someone who is also looking to start her own online business? My will be more product/photography based. Should I copyright photos or put a warning on my site at least?

    Thank you Dana!
    Kindly,
    Brittany

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    Replies
    1. Yes you should definitely put copyright notices on your work and your websites! Watermark your images. Without your footprint on your work or content you can't prove that you created it.

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  16. Thank you so much for sharing your story with your readers! It's very inspiring and eye opening. I am a graphic designer currently stuck in a day job that I am trying to get away from. The entrepreneur spirit just won't let me stay here for to much longer. Your story is great motivation to work harder to reach my goals. Thank you for that I can't wait for the next part!

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  17. Ah Dana, I am so into your story right now and am looking forward to Part 9... I hope it comes soon!

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