The recent Benchers’ Bulletin from the Law Society of British Columbia warns BC lawyers to watch-out for fake law firm websites. Recently, a BC lawyer had content from their website copied onto a fraudulent site masquerading as a law firm. The lawyer was alerted because the fraudster had failed to remove references to the legitimate lawyer when they copied the content.
This follows an incident from May 2011 where a fake law firm website was used in a new variation of a bad cheque scam.
There’s not much to be done about protecting content on your site from being copied. Rather, you should stay alert for incidents where copying does occur. The Law Society suggests creating Google Alerts under your professional/trade names. An alternative strategy is to regularly run a Google search for a text block drawn from your website. Other than your own site, you’ll be able to see where else the same content appears.
If you detect fraudulent sites, please contact the Law Society and/or the police. If other legitimate law firms are using your content, they may be infringing your copyright. In that case, the first step would be to notify the other lawyer of the infringing content.