July 22nd, 2002, 05:47 AM
Flattery or Infringement?
They say that immitation is the greatest form of flattery, but I wonder what the AO communities thoughts are on the boundaries of such a statement when applied to the common practice of "borrowing" website technologies and design? It seems that every site you go to these days has at least 1 or 2 things in common with the one you just left. In fact, because of my utter deficiency with regard to design theory and my impatient desire to have a structure under which to sort my ideas on my website, I borrowed an entire site design from Open Source Web Design at: http://www.oswd.org. IMHO, all the designers at that site represent a legion of kind hearted individuals willing to allow their creations to fall into the hands of the likes of me, but I digress...
Is it alright to use design tidbits you find through your endless web surfings? For example, a menu style you like, or perhaps the way a font plays on a specific background. What about color schemes? What items are too small to worry about? At what point do you ask for permission to use the item?
Ownership of intellectual property is already a tough nut to crack without adding in the inherent "public" nature of the web. Website content is something that can easily copyrightable, but the sites themselves are obviously meant to be public domain. How much are their designs off-limits?
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July 22nd, 2002, 06:15 AM
First thing to do is follow the request of the Webmaster/mistress and provide a link back to their site if they give it for free use a credit page is good for that. Check always with the web site, for example my entire web site was taken at work and used by another company cost lots to produce it and the copywriters, photographers layout people etc. This company was modifying it live and I causght them how? Simple really did googles searches on stuff I knew was inbeded in the pages and found it 3 days later. Anyway they got hit with a suit and I filed a federal complaint on behalf of my employers request. Always give credit where credit is due even in the freebies.
I believe that one of the characteristics of the human race - possibly the one that is primarily responsible for its course of evolution - is that it has grown by creatively responding to failure.- Glen Seaborg
July 22nd, 2002, 06:17 AM
I dont know if this is techincally or legally correct but I cant see any harm in mimicing a site ... but it would depend on who the target audience is ..... for instance if you mimic one of the really good, well known sites and the audience if mum, dad and a few family members looking at what you did on your last holiday ... I guess it would be a case of who knows and who cares.
That aside, if your site was in business competition and/or became extremely prominent, or in anyway affected the original sites customer base, I would definitely watch my mail box for a letter from their legal department. People do pay lots of money to have sites designed and developed so I guess they should be offered protection in the corporate world.
Just my 2c worth.