Stealing web site design

Mark Wieman

So when is it okay to borrow someone’s html code and design?  I think there are times when it’s okay to take a snippet here and bit from there.  Most likely they found it someplace else too.  I guess I could be better at citing the sources when I do this, hospital but sometimes I’m bad about it.  Sorry.  I would never take a fully functional design, javascript function, CSS library, or anything that was fully completed by someone else with out giving them credit.

Recently my friend Mark Wieman’s business site design and code was lifted as is and used for the Celebrities Against Autism site. This was done without notifying him or crediting him for his work.

Mark’s a freelance interactive producer.  He makes a living creating web sites and designing user experiences.  Because of this there is a monetary value associated with his work.  So to me, taking the design and not paying isn’t all that different from stealing from him.

imageSo he went ahead and contacted them and told them it wasn’t cool.  As a result they changed the background color and added a Creative Commons Licenses where Mark’s old copywrite information used to be. I didn’t grab a screen shot of the first rev of the site, but I did grab one after they updated it with the fancy yellow background.

Putting the CC license on the site really takes the cake though.  First they take his work and then they licensed it for anyone else to use as well.  Well, that is nice of them. 

I know non-profits don’t have much in the way of money, but there are plenty of free templates out there for them to have used.  What I really wonder is, if the person who is taking credit for the site made any money at all for their work.  Even as an employee of the non-profit, it just doesn’t seem right to me.

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4 Responses to “Stealing web site design”

  1. […] Ryan wrote an interesting post today on Stealing web site designHere’s a quick excerptSo when is it okay to borrow someone’s html code and design? I think there are times when it’s okay to take a snippet here and bit from there. Most likely they found it someplace else too. I guess I could be better at citing the sources … […]

  2. Mark says:

    This has actually happened to me several times now over the course of my career. One time I found out because the code on the offending site was referencing files on my site directly. Another time I found out because a rival of the offending site contacted me with the news. This time I found out in an entirely different way. I’m sure it’s happened other times and I never found out.

  3. Well, now Zimplit is using the ability to download and edit any website as a selling point for its newest release: http://forum.zimplit.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=384 So now anyone can do it!

  4. Ryan Lane says:

    Oh boy! Maybe I should make that encyclopedia product I was thinking about. When you look for a term it just copies the page from Wikipedia and displays it.

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