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    Using another site's design/layout? Legal?


    I am a web developer who unfortunately doesn't have an ounce of artistic ability in me. When I get a client, often times I will scour the interent for various design ideas. When I find one, I will use it for my site, sometimes with minor adjustments, other times with major adjustments. These "adjustments" might be color schemes, nav bars, etc. So, I recently got a web site job from a hotel in Europe. A very nice hotel at that. There is a hotel in America whose web site I just love. The site is designed in such a way that it is very symetrical, meaning I could essentially just flip-flop the layout. For example, their site has a nav on the right side of the window, but if flipped, it would be on the left side. What are the legal concerns in doing such a thing?
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    tony
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    i think you need to change a certain amount of the site

    as in more than the colour scheme, in theory your passing off someone elses work as your own
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  5. Kung-fu Kitty
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    Remember that history report you 'wrote' in school? It had different words in places, and it was not identical, yet it bore an eerie resemblance to the encyclopedia's article on the same subject.

    It's called plagarism. Web design is copyrighted, just like other works.

    When you find a site you like, save the source, study it to figure out how they did that cool thing with the menu or whatever, but when it comes to creating your site build it from the bottom up it your own words, your own code.

    It's hard to avoid resembling someone else's site-there is only so much you can do, but using another's design and just changing a few colors, the font, switching out a few images is stealing. Think of the amount of time you have spent creating a site-do you want someone else stealing yours and passing it off as their original work?

    That being said, there are many, many sites out there that offer free templates you can use, or offer tutorials. Most of them have a policy in place stating to what extent you can use their design and what they expect in return (notification, a 'nod and link' to them on your credit page or in the code, etc). If in doubt, write them and ask if you plan to do this. Do not pass it off as original or you may end up on this site.

    Here is another article on the subject.
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    I don't think it's right for someone to just rip someone else's site, but proving it could be very difficult, especially the source code. Images could be easier depending on how unique they are, but anything except a blatant ripoff will have at least tweaked the images.
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    Thanks for the feedback. The biggest concern I have is the legal issue, not the ethical one. Not that I am not ethical mind you... I am just curious about the fine print of the law...
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    tony
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    well in that case change the names ofimages, change the directory they are saved in edit a little bitand you should be ok
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    Really you can use sites to inspire you, but there is a fine line between inspiration and direct copying.

    If you simply look at the general layout of a site and recreate that yourself with your own design sceme (eg colours, images, etc) then thats okay. If you start downloading and using images they have created for their site in yours and copy-n-paste the HTMK code then that is going over the line.
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  15. Type Cast Exception
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    just curious about the fine print of the law...
    The fine print of the law says that if you "borrow heavily" from a site and the site designer/owner notices then they may file civil litigation to recover damages and the judicial system will be the deciding party on whether you crossed the line.

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