CALIFORNIA — When the adviser to the Loyolan, a student newspaper at Loyola Marymount University, visited www.loyolan.com, he immediately realized the newspaper should have registered the domain name.
But before fliers about the Web site began appearing in late April around the Los Angeles campus, billing it as “a different look at LMU,” Tom Nelson had not thought to do so.
The Web site contained exact versions of articles taken from the Loyolan Web site, http://loyolan.lmu.edu, with the names of each reporter used as the names of individuals who “submitted” the article to the site. The reporters said they did not give the site permission to post their articles, Nelson said.
Soon after writing to a letter to DreamHost.com, the Web hosting company for the anonymously created site, the Loyolan articles were removed from the site.
“This is a rival site that is masquerading as the Loyolan site by using the Loyolan name,” Nelson said. “I wanted to get the information that was intellectual property that was stolen off their Web site as soon as possible.”
The university did not authorize the use of the newspaper’s name or trademarked university logos that appeared on the site, according to Nelson’s letter. The site also did nothing to distinguish itself from the official Loyolan site, which is hosted by the university.
Copyright laws protect written material as soon as it is created, but to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement, creative works, such as news articles, must be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington, D.C.
Nelson said he plans to add a copyright notice on the Loyolan Web site and in the print version of the paper. He is also considering applying for a trademark on the newspaper’s name, but wants to wait and see what will appear on www.loyolan.com when the Loyolan resumes publishing in August.
Under common law trademark practices, the first users of a term — in this case, “Loyolan” — in a geographic area would have priority to register it as a trademark. The Loyolan has published at the university for more than 80 years.