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By Debbie Solomon
When we are dealing with business on the internet, there is only one thing worse than a spammer...A COPYCAT!

What is a Copycat? Someone who goes to your web site, hits the select all button, and COPY. Then they paste it in their own web site, changes the business name, and pooof... someone just copied your complete business. Not much work involved in that, is there? All the long hours, hard work, and frustration of getting everything just perfect has been stolen from you. I don't think there is anyone lower than a copycat.

Let's just take a step back and define what a copycat really is.

-A copycat is not someone who takes an idea and creates their own business.
-A copycat is not someone who uses a similar sentence.
-A copycat is not someone who uses the same forms.
-A copycat is not someone uses the same ad copies, but changes the url.

All these are not considered copycat.

-A copycat is someone who copies your designs
-A copycat is someone who takes a finished product and copies it word for word.
-A copycat is someone who has absolutely no creativity of their own.
-A copycat is someone with no morals.

Now let's take a look at our legal rights as business entrepreneurs who work hard and create a business we can be proud of.

*Are we victims of copyright infringement?
*Can we sue these copycats?
*Do we have rights?

What these copycats do is nothing short of a total outrage. We, as business entrepreneurs, do have rights. However, they are limited and restricted, so we need to be careful or we will be throwing a lot of money to a lawyer without a cause.

In researching the copyright laws, here is what I found:

"Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register for copyright, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work."

Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work.

What does copyright protect?
-- Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and architecture.

Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

-What works are protected:
Copyright protects "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device.

Copyrightable works include the following categories:

(1) literary works;
(2) musical works, including any accompanying words
(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music
(4) pantomimes and choreographic works
(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works
(7) sound recordings
(8) architectural works

-What works are NOT protected:
Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection.

These include among others:
-Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression
-Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents
-Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration
-Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)

And for all the copycats out there, here is exactly how much of someone else's work you can take without getting permission:

--Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words, a certain number of musical notes, or percentages of a work. Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances.

Copycats are despicable people, who do not have a creative bone in their body. They actually think they are running a business by copying other businesses works and putting it on their site.

Put pity on copycats... If they are not smart enough to create their own work, then you know they are not smart enough to succeed at anything. Now, you know the basic laws of copyright.

For more detailed information, please visit:

You will be able to get all the information you need pertaining to copyright laws and also all contact information you may need for registering your own copyright for your business.

Debbie Solomon - Editor of the Award winning OnLine Exchange Ezine. Debbie has co-authored 2 business e-books, and runs a successful online marketing business. Please visit Debbie at And gain some REAL business knowledge.

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