Intellectual Property Protection

The biggest problem I've ever had with iCop has been the theft of our website copy and/or of the iCop seal.

People report unlinked seals to me all the time. I check and, sure enough, the seal has been stolen. Then, it's left to me to get it removed or allow some scum-bag thief to pretend to be an iCop member.

The website copy has also been pirated repeatedly. One jack-leg copied the entire iCop site word for word and started his own organization. Word for word! Some of them have sun-sized gonads!

Now, the question is ... Do you have the same problem? It, frankly, amazes me how many stupid, lazy, and downright lawless, people operate online. And, because the World Wide Web is so huge, it would make you gasp to know how many get away with using others people's material - and products - indefinitely.

What you write - or pay a copywriter to write - belongs to you. If other people are using it to make sales, you are losing money.

And what about your products? Products are stolen just as fast as copy. But, they'll be sold. Do not doubt - it happens every day.

Not only do these people steal money that belongs to you, if they've stolen your products, they're bound to hurt your reputation. There's certainly no reason to believe they would run an ethical business with stolen property.

Check it Out for Yourself

Take several sentences from your web site - or articles. Don't use, “See Jane run.” Use very original sentences. Put them (one at a time) in the Google window. Use quotation marks on both ends. See what comes up in Google.

Products are a little harder to find. So use key terms and phrases from your sales copy. Those will most likely be copied.

You might also check the websites of those who have bought your products. If you don't find anything today, you're one of the lucky ones. Sooner or later, nearly everyone has this theft problem.

If you do find your copyrighted copy, a product or graphic on someone else's website - what next? How do you get them to take it down? How do you get them thrown off the Web?

Well, you do what I do, and use the Intellectual Property Protection Plan software. I've used this thing so many times, I can't even count them.

I never hesitate, or think twice. As soon as I find something that belongs to me on someone else's website (without my permission) I go for their throats. I have no sympathy and I refuse to listen to piss-ant excuses. I only want one thing - take down my intellectual property! Now. No negotiation.

The Intellectual Property Protection Plan (IPPP) package consists of two parts:

  • The documentation you need to protect your products at the point of sale
  • Everything you need to stop those who ignore your contracts
And the part I like best - the process for reporting and taking down any owner of any site that uses anything of yours without your permission.

I also want to add, I've had perfect cooperation from foreign hosting companies when I use this process. The location of the hosting company makes no difference at all.

The secret behind this is that all hosting companies are connected to a backbone that, sooner or later, ends up in the USA. They do follow our laws.

If you already have Auto Web Law Pro, you have everything you need to protect you from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). If you have IPPP, you have everything you need to protect yourself from the sleeze-ball thieves who cost you money. With both, you are perfectly armed for whatever legal problem might come your way online.

You'll find much more information about the uses of IPPP at the URL below - for instance, you can protect your products BEFORE they're stolen and sold!

Now, Pay Attention!

To READ about the Intellectual Property Protection Plan (IPPP):

If you wish to purchase BOTH products (Auto Web Law Pro [AWLP] and the Intellectual Property Protection Plan [IPPP]) at the bundled price simply click to order, and the second product will be offered.

To PAY for Intellectual Property Protection Plan (IPPP) ONLY for $97 rather than $147:

That is a SPECIAL DISCOUNT offered to Trade Journal readers ONLY! This is especially important if you already own Auto Web Law Pro.

And the offer will only be good for a very short time!

Greed is a Terrible Thing

I wrote last week about why I prefer to do business (a lot of the time) with folks outside the USA. That generated a lot of comment. Some of it is on the blog - What Goes Around Comes Around - some is in my in-box.

I feel like most of the “attitude” put forth by many Americans comes from greed. It starts at the top and works its way down. I don't think anyone would argue about the extreme levels of greed in this country.

I know that some people wonder why I go after the "Big Guys" so often when I'm writing about unacceptable online behavior. It's very simple. The "Big Guys" teach the "Little Guys" what to do.

We often hear we should pick someone who is successful, and do the same things they do. I don't happen to agree with that. At least, not on the internet. Online business gets too "out of control."

People start online businesses - look at the "Big Guys" and assume that if "they" do it - it's okay. After all, they are promoted by thousands of people - and they're making tons of money. Funny how money so often commands respect where no respect is due.

I well remember a very well-known and pretty ethical online marketer discussing a huge - and not so ethical - internet marketer. He admitted what the second guy was doing, and was teaching in his marketing course, was unethical as hell.

But, the course had a huge commission. So, having said all that, he proceeded to sell the guy's course, anyway! WHAT?!

Yes - greed is a terrible thing. Often, the bigger they get, the more ruthless they become. And let's not forget they're telling people what they want to hear!

Then, of course, most folks are afraid to criticize them. Why? These people are not gods!

Please, please, please take a good look at your websites and your advertising! Is there anything there that could be called "unethical?" I promise you - you can be successful without being pond scum.

And when you are, you will be the person other people emulate. Maybe that's what it's going to take to ever clean up the internet - even a little.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Even though many in the USA seem to think we have a special privilege to be called "Americans," I acknowledge that everyone who lives in North, Central or South America is "American."

However, for the purposes of this article - and simply because it's less cumbersome to write - I am using the term "American" to define only those who live in the USA.

At the risk of being considered un-American, I have a couple of words to say about the level of online professionalism in the USA. It's sad. Not only is it sad, but the prevalent attitude of Americans that the USA is at the top of the internet pecking order - and therefore has special privileges - is downright misguided.

As citizens of the USA we had better get our heads out of the sand (or wherever else we have them) and wise up, or we'll find more than our heads buried. It is so typical of us Americans to believe that we are the be-all/end-all of everything. Such an attitude blinds us to the fact that the internet has leveled the playing field.

I realize that I am making sweeping statements in what I'm about to say. I also realize that I am going to offend some Americans. Yet, these statements need to be thought about and acted upon - not REacted TO out of some sense of unjustified superiority.

These comments certainly do not apply to all Americans. It is unfortunate that those who abuse the opportunity to work online as true professionals give the rest of us such a poor image.

Plenty of us are struggling to bring the rest up to some level of competence and professionalism. However, the pitiful fact is we are fighting this battle against our own countrymen. (Sorry Ladies, I don't know if they've come up with a non-sexist way to use that term.)

I work online with people from all over the world every day. More and more I'm finding that I prefer to work with those outside the USA. Why? Because that's where I find the most true professionalism. What a sad commentary on my own country!

It is here in the USA where online business owners refuse to give complete contact information. It's here in the USA where a legitimate business letter will be ignored. It's here in the USA where people won't bother to return a phone call. It's here in the USA where we find such pathetic customer service and the attitude of, "The proprieter is always right."

The greatest blessing of the internet is our ability to easily establish relationships with others around the world. We have an opportunity never before available to learn first-hand about - and from - those of cultures foreign to us. Why do we waste that by complaining about how they use the English language - all the while we butcher it ourselves?

Our languages are different - our sense of humor is different - the way we experience the world is different. And, certainly the way we do business is different. Why do we not celebrate this opportunity by learning all we can? Have we become too arrogant to do that?

I have begun to fear that arrogance is the exact reason why so many Americans are unprofessional. I rarely encounter this when I work with businesses outside the USA.

What I find instead are people who care about their business - who care how they present themselves - and who cooperate on a grand scale to get things done in the most courteous manner possible. What I do not find is email ignored - unreasonable demands - broken commitments - lousy attitude - and blatant dishonesty born of greed.

Outside the USA I find people who take great pride in what they do - without all the self-aggrandizement. They show that pride by the actual work they do - not by blowing their own horns.

I don't hesitate to make these statements because the few exceptions I've found are negligible compared to USA standards. Or, lack thereof.

The greatest thing the internet has to offer us isn't money. It's knowledge. It's the opportunity to learn and to finally become a true global village on this planet.

Can we do that? Not if we don't get off our high horses and admit we might have something to learn.

Meanwhile, continuing to treat those outside the USA as the second-class citizens of this global online village is bound to come back and bite us in the ol' wazoo! Tolerance and acceptance of other cultures is part of being a professional in the first place.

You can trust me on this. The USA internet glory days will most assuredly come to a close. So, just remember ...

What goes around - comes around. Every time.

Playing Both Sides of the Game

At the risk of being redundant, please allow me to say this again. Online business owners are both merchant and customer. We play both roles and we need different talents for each.

As the Merchant

While I was growing up my daddy used to tell me, "It's your decision. You have to make it. But be prepared to take responsibility for whatever decision you make."

Yikes! Now, that will make a kid stop and think!

Stepping up to the plate to take responsibility is one of the things I look for in those I choose to do business with. There can be no higher ethical standard. In our online businesses, we make decisions every day. Even a small decision can come back and bite us in the butt.

We make mistakes. We make thoughtless choices. We sometimes get involved with online programs without thinking about the repercussions. Stuff happens.

The question isn't whether we're smart enough to avoid all that. We can't. The question is whether we're willing to be accountable when we screw up.

Now, is this about customer service? You bet it is! But it's also about how we deal with other businesses - as well as life itself. And it's about telling - and accepting - the truth!

Can you make money without accountability? Sure you can! It's done every day. But when push comes to shove, you'll be the one going over the cliff.

Those willing to step up to the plate when necessary don't hide their contact information. You don't have to try to beat them out of the bushes. You won't have to threaten them to get a refund. They tell you the whole story right up front.

If they're not willing to do that - they're not willing to be accountable should something go awry. They're not willing to say, "I was wrong. How can we fix this?"

The absolute best way to establish a sterling online reputation as a business owner is to, "Be prepared to take responsibility for whatever decision you make!" It's a matter of integrity - and it will earn you the respect of both your customers and your business associates.

There is no higher compliment!

As the Customer

There's always talk online regarding the amount of "Internet Rage.” I've noticed that attacks seem to come from two places.

First, from people who don't do what they committed to do. This includes merchants who don't provide what they promised. It's a defense mechanism. You know - it's the ol' "The best defense is offense," routine. It's a little sad.

Secondly, rage - and the "flames" - come from some customers. These are the same customers who forget all their manners because they never have to see you face to face. Let's talk about that ...

iCop members are required to exhibit professionalism in their online businesses in every way. But - how do we do as customers?

Every online business owner is also an online consumer. We can't run our businesses without using other online products and services. When we are dealing with other merchants, we're just another one of the crowd.

However - that does not mean that we get to act like some of the other online rage-aholics. No matter what you are doing online, you're doing it as a member of iCop.

Ideally, that is mentioned in your signature file. If so, that means you are identifiable as a member to anyone who receives an email from you.

When something goes wrong while we're acting as the customer - we need to deal with that in a professional manner. This goes for everyone - iCop member or not. You know who acted in an unacceptable manner toward you, don't you? And, you'll remember that person!

Well, other merchants will remember you too - if you lower yourself to the level of the rage-aholic. Nothing warrants anything other than professional behavior at all times. It is perfectly possible to write a scathing letter without all the histrionics. Off-line professionals do it every day.

Just food for thought ...

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* dr. jl scott is the Founder of Chamber of Commerce - on the Web™ - and also the publisher of the Online Business Trade Journal™ - the blog that keeps you up to date with online business coming of age. Visit:

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