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    Can I Legally Copy & Modify Someone Else's Website


    I am curious about something and want to ask a sensitive question. If I see a website that I like and want to use it for my own site, how much of the site do I need to modify to make it unique so as to not worry about copyright issues? Is there a 10% rule or something like that. Does that include modifying the source code? Obviously I am aware I can not outrightly copy images, logos, text, etc., but what about just the layout itself, with some minor tweaks and customization? THanks.
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    Originally Posted by thall89553
    Is there a 10% rule or something like that.
    There is no such rule. There is no 10 second rule for sampling recordings. There is no 10% rule for plagiarizing literary material.

    How much can you copy without securing permission? The short answer is: none.
    medialint.com

    “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” - Dr. Seuss
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    Originally Posted by medialint
    There is no such rule. There is no 10 second rule for sampling recordings. There is no 10% rule for plagiarizing literary material.

    How much can you copy without securing permission? The short answer is: none.
    Respectfully I would disagree. Granted you can not outrightly copy someone's logo, or steal an image off a site, or copy text, BUT I would think that our world is such that there are bound to be similarities between one website and another. That being said then it comes down to whether the similar appearance is a coincidence or an outright copyright infringement.

    I would think if a color scheme were changed and various elements were modified/rearranged to make them unique then you are not copying the other site but rather being inspired from the same... Your thoughts.
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    Originally Posted by thall89553
    Respectfully I would disagree. Granted you can not outrightly copy someone's logo, or steal an image off a site, or copy text, BUT I would think that our world is such that there are bound to be similarities between one website and another. That being said then it comes down to whether the similar appearance is a coincidence or an outright copyright infringement.

    I would think if a color scheme were changed and various elements were modified/rearranged to make them unique then you are not copying the other site but rather being inspired from the same... Your thoughts.
    Ah that's why I paid for some intellectual property courses. It's a crazy mixed up world and there are no clear cut lines. That's why I said the short answer is ... the long answer requires law school (no I only took a few night classes I'm no attorney) and the power of persuasion.

    Color schemes can get into trademark (not copyright) territory but so far as taking something existing and modifying it there is no % of allowed plagiarism. If you create something entirely new and it happens to appear similar to other work this is normal.

    This is why we have court systems. There's thousands of songs with chord progressions G-D-C but are they all knock offs of Bob Dylan? Of course not. Is a distinctive bass-line being copied in a completely different song enough to file a lawsuit: of course it is (see: Killing Joke vs Nirvana over Eighties ... incidentally dropped after Kurt's big finale). ... or maybe better known to the younger mainstream crowd Queen's Another One Bites The Dust Ice Ice Baby ...

    It comes down to this though: if you copy and modify anything that already exists you are plagiarizing and it then comes down to 1) if the copyright owner knows 2) if they care 3) if they have enough evidence 4) if they bother to go to court 5) if the court finds in their favor.

    Damages: vary.

    So the short answer as to how much you can copy is: none.

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    Are you a designer by chance?
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    Originally Posted by thall89553
    Are you a designer by chance?
    What has that to do with it?

    I'm paid as a Applications Programmer/Analyst

    On the side I'm a musician, composer, photographer, 3D and 2D graphic artist, poet, writer, and cat herder. ;-)

    Please read the FAQs at copyright.gov
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    Originally Posted by thall89553
    Are you a designer by chance?
    Whether someone is a designer or not has no bearing on whether it's legal to copy another website. I have been designing websites for awhile, and what medialint says is pretty accurate.

    Although the internet consists of millions of websites, there are going to be similarities. However, your first post asked whether it's legal to copy the layout with the exception of images, etc. It does boil down to the points listed by medialint in his response. So to answer your question, no, it's not lega to outright copy a site (by any percentage)l, and there is no rule as to how much you can copy. But you can get inspiration from websites, as many people do. One of the questions asked by many web design companies upon being hired by a client, is whether there are any sites that appeal to them, or sites that they like.

    When I design a site for a client, I find out what they like from various sites they point me in the direction of, then use that to build a completely new site.

    @medialint: How do you herd cats?

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    • medialint agrees : yes inspiration; As for the cat herding I have a secret weapon .... (a can opener)
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    something every cat herder should have handy

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    a designer


    im intererested in having a web site designed can you tell me if you know someone that is reasonable.
    Originally Posted by hiker
    Whether someone is a designer or not has no bearing on whether it's legal to copy another website. I have been designing websites for awhile, and what medialint says is pretty accurate.

    Although the internet consists of millions of websites, there are going to be similarities. However, your first post asked whether it's legal to copy the layout with the exception of images, etc. It does boil down to the points listed by medialint in his response. So to answer your question, no, it's not lega to outright copy a site (by any percentage)l, and there is no rule as to how much you can copy. But you can get inspiration from websites, as many people do. One of the questions asked by many web design companies upon being hired by a client, is whether there are any sites that appeal to them, or sites that they like.

    When I design a site for a client, I find out what they like from various sites they point me in the direction of, then use that to build a completely new site.

    @medialint: How do you herd cats?
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    Welcome to Dev Shed.

    There are many reasonable designers. But then again, what's reasonable to you may not be to someone else. Here are some questions you need to answer before you can find the right designer:

    1) What type of site are you wanting? (E-commerce, static, dynamic, what language do you prefer (if any), flash, etc)

    2) What budget do you have for this type of project?

    3) What timeframe do you need this completed by?

    4) What features are you wanting on the site?

    Of course, there are many other questions that you will need to answer eventually, but you can't just ask for a reasonable designer without giving any pertinent information as to what you need.
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    site design


    I am looking for a clone to singlesnet.com i have a single page website now but it is just not working for me
    Originally Posted by hiker
    Welcome to Dev Shed.

    There are many reasonable designers. But then again, what's reasonable to you may not be to someone else. Here are some questions you need to answer before you can find the right designer:

    1) What type of site are you wanting? (E-commerce, static, dynamic, what language do you prefer (if any), flash, etc)

    2) What budget do you have for this type of project?

    3) What timeframe do you need this completed by?

    4) What features are you wanting on the site?

    Of course, there are many other questions that you will need to answer eventually, but you can't just ask for a reasonable designer without giving any pertinent information as to what you need.

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