The Deal Really Could Be A Steal
There are many ways to get a deal these days, but before you give in to the temptation to jump on board thinking you are saving a lot of money, consider things in perspective. If someone walked up to you wearing a trench coat offering a deal on an expensive watch, your instincts would tell you it is most likely stolen. If you bought it anyway, you would be just as guilty as the thief.
When you are dealing with the Internet, the guys in trench coats can put up a respectable looking site and make themselves look just like a fine jeweler. If their prices are about the same as everyone else, then it may be harder to spot the frauds. When they are offering an incredible deal, consider it not worth the risk.
To make matters worse, endorsements from respectable sources might not even be enough. As I wrote this article, the graphic design industry had just made a discovery, and they were rightfully outraged. The law is on their side too, so in the near future, many unsuspecting businesses are likely to find themselves faced with expensive lawsuits.
A major online logo provider seemed at first to be just an annoyance to respectable graphic designers who create logos for businesses. The company offers logos for rates that should make anyone suspicious, but they managed to get some endorsements from sources such as The Wall Street Journal. As it turns out, many of the logos they sold were stolen. There is mounting evidence against them for trademark infringement and the buyers can be held just as liable as the thieves.
This is not an isolated case. The growth of the Internet makes this form of theft more common, but also easier to catch. I am finding the content I create being stolen more frequently. If I can help spread the word, maybe we can help reduce the problem.
There is a growing trend toward outsourcing offshore for just about everything. Manufacturers have struggled with idea theft from offshore companies for decades, but copyrights and trademarks are more easily enforced in the US. Before you jump into a great deal by turning to offshore outsourcing, intellectual property rights should be one of your main concerns.
Suppose you had a web site developed in India (either directly or through a company that uses offshore outsourcing), and instead of creating original content, they steal it from various sources and pass it off to you as their own work. It is an unfortunate reality that offshore sources outside of U.S. jurisdiction are also a breeding ground for all forms of pirating.
When a copyright owner discovers your site with stolen content, they, or their legal firm Dewey, Stickem, & Howe, will contact you about it. Since prosecuting the offshore company is more difficult, and the copyright owner may even be more irate that you used an offshore outsource to steal their work, you could legally receive the full brunt of their wrath.
Copyright and trademark infringement is not flattery to the owners. Original work takes creativity, thought, effort, research, money, time, and other resources. Stealing it is easier, and buying from a thief is often cheap, but also risky. These thieves are smooth con artists. They may appear very professional, but it's because they steal from people who are professional.
The Internet is a great place for the free sharing of information. It is completely understandable that no business owner wants to be charged too much for professional services. Just be aware that sometimes the bargain doesn't just bite, it can tear you to pieces if the one providing it is using unethical standards.