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[Home] [2009 News]

Tech-News & Views - UPDATE!

September 17, 2009

ACTIVE FIRE AND SAFETY SERVICES LTD. OF SURREY, B.C., THE SUBJECT OF AN ASTTBC INVESTIGATION INTO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, RESPONDS TO OUR NEWS STORY!

Note: This story first "broke" in March's Tech-News, but didn't mention the company involved. As of December 15th, Active Fire has a new website.

September 17, 2009 - Our September '09 issue of TECH-NEWS reported on an investigation by ASTTBC which was triggered by several complaints they had received regarding Active Fire and Safety Services Ltd.'s (Surrey, B. C.) theft and conversion of copyrighted content for use on their own website.  This included the use of Flynn Canada's Mission Statement.

On September 14, 2009 (the same day TECH-NEWS posted), we emailed the President of Active Fire, Mr. Harjit (Jit) Sangha, RFPT, providing him with a link to the article and an invitation to respond to it.  Active has now filed a response which you can read here.  We have, in turn, replied to their solicitors via email which we have posted here (note to our readers our response has been edited for publication as this matter may be going to court).  It should also be noted that unedited copies of both these responses have been forwarded to Brian Stegavig, Manager for Fire Protection Registration, at ASTTBC and Gord Morrison, BC Chapter President for CFAA. [1]

[1] Updated on September 23, 2009

This was a deliberate but poorly planned and executed attempt to usurp the efforts and hard work of several individuals employed with (or who are actual owners of) some U.S. based fire equipment service companies.  Shortly following the initial series of complaints, the entire website was moved to a sub-directory on Active's server and Mr. Sangha assured investigators at ASTTBC that the offensive material had been removed.  Anyone entering activefire.ca in an Internet browser would find an "under construction banner" with a suggestion to "check back on March 31, 2009".  Google (as well as several other major search engines) however, followed all the link changes to Active's DEV directory and archived every page there (this not only made it relatively easy for consumers to find on their own, it may also have allowed Active's personnel to continue to link to the pages in their correspondence).

What we found even more disturbing is that Active's webmaster posted a message on a terms and conditions page (within the same public DEV directory) which openly admitted to lifting content which was "deemed to be correct and accurate" from "the sites of other respectable companies - as the saying goes, why re-invent the wheel?" and went on to invite visitors to freely use anything found on Active's website to aid in the "quest for infinite knowledge"(sic).  Stealing another company's work is one thing but inviting others to use the material is quite another - in legal parlance it's called "counselling, aiding, or abetting someone to be an accessory before the fact" (that a crime is committed). [2]

[2] - Updated September 29, 2009

 

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It wasn't until ANOTHER COMPLAINT was received by ASTTBC that the offending material now seems to have been completely withdrawn.

The big question is:  Why should you care?

Many ASTTBC Registered Fire Protection Technicians (RFPT's) head up companies performing valuable and critical service to building owners and consumers in various British Columbia communities. As responsible owners/CEO's, we must remain ever vigilant that our marketing efforts do not compromise this work.  Most of us are aware that the Internet is a global community and that Intellectual Property (IP) is protected.  This protection (through either Trademark, Patent, or Copyright) extends to everything that can be produced, manufactured, or written.  More importantly, when it comes to the marketing of an item or service, company owners must accept responsibility for not only their actions, but those whom they hire (whether as a contractor or an employee).

The kind of calculated, illegal, unethical, and unprofessional conduct demonstrated by this fire service company (which is also headed by a practising ASTTBC Registered Fire Protection Technician®) deserves the harshest public censure because it isn't just a simple matter of having made a mistake through ignorance or a misinterpretation of a Code/Standard.  Plagiarism is an offence which will result in your expulsion from a University (or College) and if it isn't tolerated in that setting, it certainly shouldn't be tolerated by any professional association either (including ASTTBC).

UPDATE: June 1, 2010 - Active Fire technicians investigated for providing substandard inspection and service to a Vancouver building. You can read more HERE.

 

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