Women.com sued over plagiarism

White text on a white background. Tut, tut

Women.com is facing a 1,000,000 euro (£600,000) lawsuit from Euregio.net, which claims the company secretly cut and pasted copyrighted features on its InternetHoroscopes.com site in order to improve its search engine ranking.

Euregio - a Belgian ISP and content provider for women's interests - claims Women.com copied text from its EasyScopes.com and pasted it in white on a white background. This meant people visiting the site wouldn't actually see the text but search engines would pick up the content and up Women.com's search engine rating.

Euregio is claiming an abuse of its copyright on the text and wants one million euro in payment. In the text, the company claims, the word EasyScopes was replaced by InternetHoroscopes but the rest of it was repeated as is, including spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

When it received a complaint, Women.com removed the offending text but Euregio says it has no idea how long the site had been using its text and that the company didn't give an assurance it wouldn't do so again. The suit was filed after Women.com failed to reply to further correspondence.

A copyright infringement is very easy to find if someone is minded to do so. You simply need to search on segments of your text or on your trademarks and the same method that will boost a company's search engine rating will also reveal any abuses.

There are a number of companies throughout the world whose job it is to do just this. A corporate pays the company to trawl the Internet and write a report on any trademark abuses. The report is then either used to force Web sites to remove the content or it is retained as a backup for future disputes. ®

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