[thelist] Copyright breach - advice please

James Hardy evolt at weeb.biz
Wed Dec 22 10:20:40 CST 2004

And lo; it came to pass that the great prophet, Help Center Live - Mike 
spake. And the huddled masses rejoiced to hear:
> Hi,
> I'm a newbie on the list but I'd really appreciate some advice on a 
> difficult issue.
> I wrote a PHP chat application and registered it with SourceForge about 
> a year ago. It is pretty popular (c 3000 downloads a month).
> A few days ago one of my users informed me that another website is 
> providing the app for download but it is attributed to someone else. I 
> downloaded this version and all the developer has done is search and 
> replace my copyright lines and make very minor changes to some of the 
> graphics.
> The developer is Portuguese and Google translator doesn't really help, 
> but it is obvious that they are claiming it as their own work.
> My website is www.helpcenterlive.com
> The offending version is at http://www.weslley.com/scripts.htm (WI PHP 
> Live Help)
> As I mentioned, the downloads are identical apart from the copyright 
> search and replace, the name, and the translation of some of the images.
> What should I do?
> Mike
As far as I can see there is little or anything you can do, you released 
the code under the GPL, in translating the images into Portugese they 
can be said to have created a "derivitive work". As they give away all 
the code themselves and a copy of the GPL with it, they seem to be in 
full compliance as I can see nothing in the GPL requiring that original 
authors be acknowledged, merely that they show what changes have been 
made and they do that in CHANGELOG.

Why not look at this as being an opportunity rather than a problem. 
Looking at your site, your business model seems to be the sale of a 
commercial add-on product "winApp". You have a company who are willing 
to translate your code to make it sellable to the Brazillian market. If 
their changes are minimal, your addon product will remain compatible so 
you should be able to sell to these people. Suggest to weslley.com that 
you offer reciprocal links
"Unofficial Portugese version" - on your site linking to theirs
"Add on tools for Live Help" - on theirs

Just my €0.02


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