Author Topic: Cease and Desist Notice (FTAO those who run their own outdoors websites)  (Read 2686 times)

harry_keogh

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After another email exchange it seems that they are claiming that ALL the peak district walks on my blog are blatantly copied from his walks - funny as, like I've said, I've never read his books. He has written and published over 8700 routes. Apparently nobody is allowed to write about any of these routes without first seeking permission. I've also found another person that has received the same threat - a very popular and respected site. I won't name them.

BuzyG

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Sounds like he is trying it on.  You can't copyright a route.  Lotus cars once tried to copy right the wedge shape of the Lotus Esprit.  That one got laught out of court too.  If it where me I think I would simply shut down all corispondence with them.

Mel

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I agree with BuzyG.  Unless/until they can provide hard evidence (copies of pages from your website and their website of this blatant copied content) then you have no further discussion with them.


What does the other person who's received the C&D notice think?



No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)
https://snailspacewalks.blogspot.co.uk/

barewirewalker

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I've just looked at your blog. 2 peak district walks you have done with your 3 year old child charming introduction to the countryside for a youngster. Does the irreverent Merrill advocate in detail these two was as suitable for a 3yr old? One of the particulars I have noted in the past is walk authors being unable to recognise any reason to advocate a walk being tackled clockwise or counter clockwise. Here might be a particular analysis that could separate the tracks, because that would seem to be the only similarity as you say you have never read any of his books.


Come to that has any guide writer claimed intellectual property on suggesting a road route to drive anywhere on our highway network. The same protection applies to a right of way, so it is arguable that by claiming to be sole arbiter to part of the right of way network he is blocking the route to others, who do not wish to use his site.
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ninthace

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This is pure BS


1.  He says in his own site that he bases his routes on public rights of way.  These are published by the Ordnance Survey and are in the public domain.  Free to use by anyone constructing a route.  Walking routes present themselves obviously from the map - there is no way you can check it has not been published before.

2.  If you go on to websites, such as the OS mapping site or ViewRanger, you will probably find copies of his routes there too- again public domain.

3.  I suspect many of his routes will have been walked by others long before him - he cannot demonstrate that invented them, nor I suspect, looking at the subject matter, can he prove he was even the first to publish them.


If you go on any walking website you will find duplicates, with or without variations of popular walks.  For example, if you go on the OS site, there are often duplicate traces, with or without minor variations, of popular walks.


He can legitimately claim copyright for his narrative, his pictures and his sketch maps.  To claim copyright infringement he would have to demonstrate you lifted the routes from his books.  However, the truth is that you and he got your route information from a common source - the Ordnance Survey which predates both of you.
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harry_keogh

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Good points there nintheace... I may use those in my next email.
The other site I mentioned have signed the agreement - I've told him that he still needs to challenge it. The agreement is to take down material that infringes copyright so they still need to prove that copyright for it to happen.

ninthace

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Further thought:

Have a look at Wikipedia on Copyright https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright.  In particular the definition of Copyright:

Copyright is the exclusive right, given to the creator of a creative work, to reproduce the work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic or musical form.

But:

Copyright is intended to protect the original expression of an idea in the form of a creative work, but not the idea itself  (my bold)

Also in the section on Originality:

Copyright law recognizes the right of an author based on whether the work actually is an original creation, rather than based on whether it is unique; two authors may own copyright on two substantially identical works, if it is determined that the duplication was coincidental, and neither was copied from the other.


Point that out to him and tell him to go swivel
« Last Edit: 14:46:26, 01/09/19 by ninthace »
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ninthace

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There's more:  From - https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/uk_law_summary


The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, is the current UK copyright law. It gives the creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the right to control the ways in which their material may be used. The rights cover: Broadcast and public performance, copying, adapting, issuing, renting and lending copies to the public. In many cases, the creator will also have the right to be identified as the author and to object to distortions of his work.
Copyright arises when an individual or organisation creates a work, and applies to a work if it is regarded as original, and exhibits a degree of labour, skill or judgement.
Interpretation is related to the independent creation rather than the idea behind the creation. For example, your idea for a book would not itself be protected, but the actual content of a book you write would be. In other words, someone else is still entitled to write their own book around the same idea, provided they do not directly copy or adapt yours to do so.        (my bold)
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Skip

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Harry,
I have read this thread and have looked at the various links.

I have no expertise in this area but, from what I have read here, they don't have a leg to stand on. So it seems the most appriate response is to politely tell him/them to eff off.

I wonder whether it would help or hinder your case if we - as members of Walking Forum - emailed him/them with our views of their behaviour?

BTW, I put the lawnmower advert's phone number into Google and found this:

https://www.192.com business the-john-merrill-foundation comp
The John Merrill Foundation - Book Publisher in Waltham Cross EN8 ...
01992 762 776 Or Call 118 119. Calls cost 0.77 per call + 1.55 per minute with a minimum of a 1 minute call, plus your telephone company's access charge.
Skip

tonyk

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Hi,
I'm just wondering if anyone who runs their own site has recently - say in the last week - received a threatening legal email from a rather well known guidebook writer, claiming copyright infringement.
A legal email? You mean a email unless it came from a legal firm.I used to send these to people who owed me money on a daily basis and they were very effective.In truth they had no basis in law and would probably have weakened my case if things went to court.Just have a exchange of emails with this author and go into minute detail of how you have infringed his copyright.Challenge everything he says.That should waste a few weeks of his time and eventually he will get bored and go onto the next person.Tip:I used to know John Merrill when he had his shop in Bakewell.Great walker but hardly the brain of Britain.If you do your homework properly you will run rings around him.

Strider

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You could try contacting the Ramblers, they might be interested to know that someone is trying to copyright walking routes

https://www.ramblers.org.uk/contact-us.aspx

I'm inclined to agree with Ninthace's (congratulations on 4000 posts btw) summary:

Quote
This is pure BS
Not all those who wander are lost

ninthace

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Tip:I used to know John Merrill when he had his shop in Bakewell.Great walker but hardly the brain of Britain.If you do your homework properly you will run rings around him.
  Looking at his website - would you get a badge and certificate?  Run enough and you can even have a cup.  Bargain badges and certificates at 6.00 a pop https://www.johnmerrillwalkguides.co.uk/BADGES---CERTIFICATES.html.  Cups up to 40  https://www.johnmerrillwalkguides.co.uk/CHALLENGE-WALK-CUPS.html
Read this about his Peak District Walk:  "CIRCULAR WALKS ON KINDER AND BLEAKLOW - 20 really great walks on the moorlands. All the classic walks. Special offer price"  All the classic walks - is he claiming copyright for the classics Harry? Or "SHORT CIRCULAR WALKS IN THE PEAK DISTRICT - VOL 2 15 walks - 3 to 5 miles long in both the White and Dark Peak. John's classic book - over 95,000 copies sold!" - at 7.95 each.  Perhaps I should have posted this on the Bargains Thread?
« Last Edit: 17:36:51, 01/09/19 by ninthace »
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Percy

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[/size]  Looking at his website
I did. It appears to have been written by a terrible writer.  :(

archaeoroutes

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"John is acknowledged as Britain's most experienced hiker and the world's greatest marathon walker... He is author of more than 470 walk guides - all devised, created and authored by him. He is regularly copied but never equalled. Britain's forgotten champion of walking." - https://www.johnmerrillwalkguides.co.uk/default.html 1/9/19
I'm rather concerned by the day packs he's selling. Not really suitable!
Walking routes visiting ancient sites in Britain's uplands: http://www.archaeoroutes.co.uk

Rob Goes Walking

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I'm rather concerned by the day packs he's selling. Not really suitable!

Would have done nicely just to carry my waterproofs in the mornings though, think I overpaid at 20 ish when I can get a bag for 6.50 even if it looks... well not to my tastes.