October 29, 2002
Hollywood, Florida Once again, MetroGuide.com, Inc., formerly RealMetros.com, Inc., has prevailed in an intellectual property suit against digital pirates. MetroGuide's legal victory in RealMetros.com, Inc. vs. e-Business Holdings LLC, a Delaware corporation, Brian J. Prince, an individual, Gregory A. Hartnett, an individual, and Rachel Gabay, an individual, Case No. 01-7918-CIV-HURLEY, marks its second decisive blow since announcing late last year its zero-tolerance policy toward intellectual property thieves.
MetroGuide prevailed in its copyright infringement action when, on April 22, 2002, federal district judge Daniel T. K. Hurley entered an order permanently enjoining the defendants from using MetroGuide's copyrighted work, or any substantially similar work belonging to MetroGuide. MetroGuide's complaint alleged defendants not only ripped off, word for word, MetroGuide's content, but violated copyright laws by creating web sites that stole the look and feel of its HotelGuide sites.
Shortly following adjudication of contested infringement issues, the parties reached a confidential settlement on damages with the Court closing out the case on October 4, 2002. "We are pleased with the outcome of this litigation," said Scott Rogers, MetroGuide general counsel. "The road ahead, however, will be plowed with additional legal action against others who have stolen our site content, look and feel, and those who have misappropriated our trademarks."
"Our complaint spelled out the acts that brought about this suit," said MetroGuide founder and president, Mark Metz. "As the legal system gains understanding of digital piracy and Internet intellectual property theft, as the correlation between these and white-collar crime becomes more apparent, more judicial rulings will come down in favor of content originators and against thieves. These are not victimless crimes."
MetroGuide is a pioneering contextual commerce firm, known for content-rich its Guide-brand travel and tourism sites. Metz established his contextual commerce concept in 1992, and incorporated MetroGuide in 1996.
High standards for accuracy, thoroughness, quality and user-friendliness made MetroGuide a prime target for piracy, but also provided the means for the firm not to have to take it lying down, according to Metz. "MetroGuide achieved a level of success that enabled us to fight the rip-off artists," said Metz. "But this is happening to others who do not have the means to fight back.
"WWW stands for World Wide Web, not Wild Wild West," said Metz. "Content thieves, cyber-squatters, digital pirates steal real money from real people, causing increased cost of goods, and loss of other goods entirely as people are forced out of business." Metz added that the fact that this legal victory is against former employees makes it all the more troubling.
"If websites were made of brick and mortar, police would be hauling these miscreants away in handcuffs," Metz concluded.
MetroGuide vows to vigorously pursue online pirates; eschew their enablers; and forge an alliance with others who share its objective. For more information contact vice president Scott Rogers, Esq., (954) 981-5850.