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Website Cloned By Aliens

Leading New Zealand intellectual property law firm A J Park, has had its website cloned by a Russian computer programmer, who copied the site exactly, but replaced every New Zealand reference with a Russian one.

On the plagiarised site, the Wellington Office became the St Petersburg Office, the Auckland Office became the Helinski Office and even Partners and staff had their names changed to a Russian equivalent. Partner, Greg Arthur's picture had the name Grigory Fokin next to it and Managing Partner Andrew Collins was renamed Andrew Colmogoroff.

General Manager of the firm, John Lamb, said the firm was astounded by the audacity of the copied site.

"We were totally bowled over by the copied site. It was copied down to the last detail including papers and opinions on legal issues, with all the New Zealand references replaced by Russian ones. Even the firm's previous logo was copied, but with the Russian site's name inserted where A J Park had been."

John Lamb said the firm only became aware of the imitation site after being contacted by an international associate who recognised an A J Park article that he thought had been plagiarised. Further investigation revealed the whole web site had been copied down to the last detail.

John Lamb says the firm did some complex searches and established a Russian man based in St Petersburg was behind the cloned site. "The site had been up for about twelve months and he had it with two ISP's in different States of America. He was also providing an administrative address in Canada. It appears he was using it to try to attract advertisers from whom he would then collect some revenue."

John Lamb says A J Park has made contact with the Russian perpetrator and instructed him to remove cloned Russian site, one of which was at datanotary.com. These sites now direct people back to ajpark.co.nz, which is the official site.

"We were fortunate to have found out who was responsible for setting up the sites, so we could take action to get them shut down. Intellectual property lawyers spend a lot of time making international database searches, and know where to look to find out who's behind cybersquatting. If you're not a company that has access to the searching knowledge we have, it would be difficult to get to the source of the copyright infringement."

John Lamb says it should serve as a wake up call for all organisations with a web site. "Everyone who has a site risks having it copied by someone else for their own gain."

John Lamb said the firm would be taking the issue up with the ISP's that were hosting the site to make sure all traces of the Russian copy were eliminated.

Ends

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