Hanover, NH asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property, International Law and Internet Law for New Hampshire

Q: A website copies our content 100%, as is, with no compensation to us. Where can we sue them?

We're based in an African country, but the offender is:

1. Registered in another African country - Mauritius

2. Operates in an altogether different African country - South Africa

3. Hosts their website in the UK

4. Has its parent/holding company registered in the British Virgin Islands

5. Has a ".com" domain, so shoud be subject to US laws.

1 Lawyer Answer
Griffin Klema
Griffin Klema
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Tampa, FL

A: It sounds like a very complex case, involving international copyright issues. You might consider asking yourself whether enforcement of your intellectual property rights will yield a net positive gain, because it sounds like a very expensive case to pursue legally, and may require a team of lawyers licensed in different countries. What kind of revenue are you losing to the putative infringer? Does the infringer have money to pay on a judgment?

However, there may be targeted, surgical strategies that you could use, such as pursuing a narrow legal claim in one country that effectively cripples an offender's operations in other countries, but again, that will likely depend on the law of numerous jurisdictions.

Finally, I don't believe that merely having a domain with a TLD of .com would subject the registrant to U.S. jurisdiction (i.e. a U.S. court), although substantive U.S. law (e.g. statutes) may apply in another jurisdiction.

Good luck!

Griffin Klema


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