February 20, 2003
Hollywood, Florida – MetroGuide.com, Inc. (MetroGuide) has prevailed in yet another legal assault on copyright infringement. On January 28, 2003, the Honorable Alan S. Gold entered a Consent Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction in MetroGuide.com, Inc. vs. Miami Rent-A-Car, United States District Court Southern District of Florida Case No. 02-23644-CIV-GOLD.
The suit contended that Miami Rent-A-Car (Rent-A-Car) improperly had taken and published on its website substantial blocks of copyrighted material directly from the MetroGuide family of travel-related websites. Rent-A-Car has been permanently enjoined from all acts that would infringe MetroGuide's copyrighted work.
"This case settled quickly and fairly because Rent-A-Car acknowledged that what it had done was wrong, agreed to stop its illegal actions and make it right with MetroGuide," said Mark Metz, MetroGuide founder and CEO. "Unlike other cases we have been forced to bring, this is somewhat unique in that the defendant apparently had hired a web designer who, unbeknown to the defendant, had stolen our content in order for his work to look good."
Miguel Garao, owner of Miami Rent-A-Car immediately took responsibility for the infringement. "I was shocked to learn that the people I hired stole from MetroGuide to complete the site," Garao said. "After I paid them for their work, I had no idea I'd be paying again. I know now to be more careful in the future."
The agreement reached between the parties included an undisclosed monetary settlement. "Because Rent-A-Car did not knowingly steal from us and took immediate responsibility for the theft, we did not seek to have the domain name disgorged," said Metz. "We understand the importance of the domain name to Mr. Garao's ability to survive in this tight market." Instead, Rent-A-Car will install links and title ads to its website directing visitors to MetroGuide.
"MetroGuide has invested heavily to create superior-quality original content that places high in web search engines," Metz said. "When someone takes our hard work and uses it to draw visitors to their site by seizing a search engine rating higher than that of the originator, we must protect our investment, our people, and our rights. Visitors bookmark the infringing site, and the digital pirates have gained link equity that they neither worked for nor earned." To date, MetroGuide has won every legal challenge it has mounted against copyright infringement and digital piracy.
MetroGuide, located at http://metroguide.com, is among the largest Internet providers of global travel information and reservations. Incorporated in 1996 and privately held, MetroGuide's network of websites attracts more than two million unique visitors monthly to its quarter-million-plus pages of travel related e-commerce sites.
For more information contact Scott Rogers, (954) 981-5850.