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Is This Illegal?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by YoungGenius02, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. YoungGenius02

    YoungGenius02 Registered Member

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    I'm really stingy about breaking any copyright laws or anything so I want to be 100 percent sure before I continue to do so.

    I have ran into a site that I really like the layout and design of. I copied the sourcecode and the CSS files and started to edit it and customize it. Although it is different than the original can I be accountable for breaking copyright laws?
     
  2. Zapdos

    Zapdos Power Member

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    No.

    HTML is non-unique and normally looks the same. Same with CSS. It'd be similar to tire manufacturers suing each other for using rubber. There's also no proof you copied it. Just don't go copying huge images.
     
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  3. SuperDuran

    SuperDuran Newbie

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    I don't think the css files and source code is a big deal when it comes to copyrighting. What the site owner is mostly worried about is copied articles, pictures, videos and such. You are saying you copied only the layout of the site.

    Almost everyone copies each others layouts. Many people have copied Apple's web site layout and graphics (color scheme and buttons). I haven't heard of a case where Apple has pursued prosecution.
     
  4. Mavers

    Mavers Newbie

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    I wouldn't worry about it, as long as it doesn't look exact.
     
  5. Duffers5000

    Duffers5000 Elite Member

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    If you are essentially putting up a different site with different content then theres no comeback...Most sites are influenced by other sites. If you ever feel like you are ripping something off then just try and think how you would react if you were sent a C+D...would you contest it ?...In this case I think you are fine
     
  6. pixelgrinder

    pixelgrinder Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Make sure to change the name of ids, etc to ensure it looks different from theirs.

    For example, simply replace all in a text editor "right_sidebar" to "r_nav" or similar
     
  7. agente808

    agente808 Regular Member

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    Legally it's still stealing. If it doesn't look the same, you are not likely to get caught, but...
    on the technical side, in order to be 100% legally clear, you would need to recode the design from scratch. In particular the CSS would be legally more problematic than the html, and that's probably the part you are most interested in (assuming no unique javascript, which is also legally problematic).

    Fora more technical understanding, what you are doing is creating a "derivative work"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work
    http://www.chillingeffects.org/derivative/
    Look for the original design's copyright, it's possible that the design has a licence which specifically permits derivative works.

    If the original licence does not allow derivative works, and you want to be safe, consider that the original creator should not recognize their design when they look at yours.

    Also, it's worth noting that the design, css and javascript all may carry different copyrights, so you may need to look into all 3 of those things.
     
  8. wrovan

    wrovan Newbie

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    Check what does the license say
    ------------------------------------
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
  9. agente808

    agente808 Regular Member

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    I think you mean "Creative Commons" License

    You may be surprised to find that's not true.
    It's not that hard to track down a template by searching for snippets of unique code, and the ones more likely to come down on this may be websites that have paid for a special custom design which is not being resold. (they have probably paid more for their custom design and are looking to keep it unique)

    Also, it is not uncommon to see websites who are stealing designs "outted" on hard-core designer forums. The odds are against you getting caught, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen, frequently.

    But, the OP was trying to keep things legal, not just worry about "getting caught", so a little more effort has to be made.
     
  10. poweronics

    poweronics Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    This copying is being dome so much that I don't think anyone would bother about the copyright thing anymore. However ethically speaking it would not be a good act.
     
  11. wpbacklinks

    wpbacklinks Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Gag copied. lol @op i don't think this would be illegal....
     
  12. hounddomain

    hounddomain Newbie

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    IMHO - no you are not breaking copyright laws here, but if you are unsure you should seek proper advice. Substantially changing the content should be enough to customise it and make it your own, but it will depend on where in the world you are - some countries are much more strict than others.
     
  13. OldSalt

    OldSalt Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    The funny thing is this is how many of us learned HTML and CSS - look at a very basic website and View Source. If the coding is as simple as it looks (sometimes they are, sometimes they're not), then you can learn some basic techniques and put them into practice on your own sites. When you want to get a bit more complex, open up some more complex websites and figure out what and how they're doing what they are... and practice them.

    I am no expert and honestly am still better at HTML than CSS (OldSalt is a bit Old School... ;) ), but I hack my way through what I need to do.

    I've been getting a bit of practice this week cause I'm creating a site from html/css and php. I've gotten a bit lazy with all the WP sites in recent years. Feels kinda good to breakout the Dreamweaver, ya know?
     
  14. agente808

    agente808 Regular Member

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    You can play with the semantics of calling it "piracy" all you want, copying intellectual property IS illegal - you CAN get sued, although more frequently this story ends with a C&D.

    As OldSalt has pointed out, often it's easy enough to just remake the bits that interest you, that you may not really need to copy straight out.

    I am NOT moralizing here - I just believe in knowing what you are doing and being honest with yourself.
    Any justification about how you're not hurting anyone, doesn't make it legal (for example, smoking pot doesn't hurt anyone either, but it's also still illegal in most places).

    Finally, shoe on the other foot - if someone ripped your website and stuck it on a new domain, then outranked you with your own work - you don't think you'd be upset?

    ... something to think about ;)
     
  15. WhiteDove

    WhiteDove Newbie

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    Technically, not stealing but just check the copyrights and make sure none of the .css sheets are linked to the website you're using the code from.
    It'd be embarrassing if half your code had the other website's address on it.
     
  16. vagranttrees

    vagranttrees Newbie

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    as long as you're not copying unique aspects of the layout, such as large pictures, or the whole thing, pixel by pixel, you should be fine.