There was a thread last Saturday in which feedback was sought concerning
testimonials that were blatantly swiped/ripped-off from the Warrior's site.
Someone suggested the people who wrote the testimonials had copyrights,
and they should issue DMCA's rather than the site owner.
Here's the thread if you want the background on it:
I posted that I was unable to easily find any information about this. However
I did find an attorney in California who specializes in these matters. I sent him
an email asking about this situation, and he responded this morning.
I decided to make a new thread to provide the best exposure for the benefit
of US based members since it is applicable to US law, etc.
Mr Larry Zerner, of ZernerLaw.com, is based in Los Angeles California. He
specializes in copyright law, trademark law, entertainment law and intellectual
I do have his permission to reprint his email which is below:
The people who wrote the testimonials would own the copyright to what they wrote, unless there was a written assignment. But Matt could have a claim of copyright to the “selection and arrangement” of the testimonials, which could provide the basis for the DMCA claim.
Besides having a claim for copyright infringement, the people who wrote those testimonials might also have a claim for violation of their right to publicity for using their name as an endorsement without permission. But Right of Publicity claims are state based claims so it might depend both on the state where they live and the state where the thief resides.
As for Matt, it might not be a bad idea to send the DMCA notice just to see if that gets it resolved quickly. If not, the suggestion that he prepare DMCA notices for those people whose testimonials were taken is pretty good. Nobody likes having their name associated with a scammer so he should get a fairly good response.
Hope that helps if the same situation arises in your business.
Thanks very much to Mr Zerner for taking the time to offer his legal advice.