In my investigation of the sites on the Internet that sell downloaded standards illegally, I notice a few characteristics that most sites have in common. I want to bring these to your attention so that you will not be duped into purchasing a pirated copyright document.
First, it appears that there are only a few individuals that perpetrate the majority of the sites. We can determine this because of the use of similar home page designs in various URL’s (Uniform Resource Locator — the website address).
There are about 3 or 4 designs that crop up for several different websites, suggesting that the intellectual property thieves are reusing the code in order to maximize the profits to be made as quickly as possible. The sites will look like authorized stores, with logos from the actual SDO’s (Standards Developing Organizations) prominently displayed.
Additionally, the home pages display the covers of the standards they offer. They include copies of standards from API, ASME, AWS, IEC, DIN, SAE, UL, and others.
When you look on WHOIS to determine who owns the website in question, you’ll often find that the owner is located in Florida, unfortunately with a 6 digit zip code that starts with the number 8. Too bad Florida zip codes are 5 digits and start with the number 3… Additionally, the names and email addresses of the owners are also patently false or incomplete. Or the WHOIS information may be linked to a service that provides internet domains anonymously.
These sites are ranking fairly high in website ratings. They are doing so by posting trackbacks and comments to various blogs. The blogs they target do not bother to edit the incoming requests. They tend to not only have trackbacks from these IP (Intellectual Property) pirating sites, but also from sites that offer introductions to young ladies from Russia, storefronts for the purchase of viagra, etc.
The sites in question also use Google adwords to get advertisements posted in the margins when you do a search for a standard. This is particularly onerous, as it appears to give these sites legitimacy when they are actually in the business of thievery.
We cannot stress enough that should you choose to purchase a document on such a site, you are abetting those who are stealing from the standards community and helping to destroy a system that is already under pressure from the changes in technology we’re currently experiencing.
Stopping these sites is a time-consuming business, costing time and money. Often the cases must be pursued in non-U.S. courts (notably in China). The results of a favorable judgement are not effective enough to prevent the perpetrators from renewing their services once out of jail.
Since Document Center Inc. is an advocate for proper use of intellectual property and the copyright obligations that accompany the sale of standards, we continue to work with Standards Developing Organizations to identify and solve this problem.