Long story, if you can bear with me.
Early last year we designed a site for a client. Everything was fine and, most importantly, they paid up and everyone was happy. Recently, the client called my collegue and asked for the user name and password. Because we were very busy at the time, we thought no more about it, assuming that they needed to access their maibox control panel or something similar.
You might have guessed....
We went to the site today and find that the site is now hosted with someone else. No big deal since they had a year's hosting contract with us which has just about expired. We'd have prefered to keep them as a hosting client, but the revenue is not that fantastic from hosting anyway.
However, we then noticed that in place of our "A Tangled Spider Production" link at the botton of each page, is "Site designed by dbsitebuilder.net web design". In other words. someone else has taken over the maintenance of the site and is claiming design credit.
We have several sites on our own books that we did not design but that we maintain. In these instances, we have "Site maintained by Tangled Spider" on the bottom of those sites - we do NOT claim design credit.
The site is identical in every way to how we originally designed it. There have been no changes made and nothing added as far as I can see. The people who have their design credit at the bottom of the site are obviously not a reputable design company as the link is to a simple site with two design examples and no contact address, phone number, or even email address. Incidentally, they claim design credit for the site we designed on their own website.
Apparently the site was switched to its new hosts at 10.00 this morning.
We have no way of getting in touch with these people as they have no contact details on their one-page, seemingly hastily put-together website. We can, of course, contact the clients, with whom we believed we had a good relationship.
I would dearly love to have your thoughts on this.
Actually, I realized how I could find them. allwhois.com.
So now I have an email address and a telephone number of the people who own the so called designers.
didn't read it, but i'd try to work it out, if that didn't work and it's that big of deal to u then get a lawyer.
First of all, you should give them a warning to change the footter and maybe even scare them a little (worked for me several times in the past). If that won't work, get a lawyer's consulation about this matter.
Personally, I think that if the client has paid you for your work, the design and the site itself belongs to him, so he could do anything he wants with it. Unless, you have a wirtten contract that proves otherwise, it might be really hard to make a deal out of it and I think that you are going to waste more on the lawyer than you could ever win on the case (if it ever happens).
In my non-legal opinion I think you're stuck. As long as the terms of the contract with your client have been fulfilled andthe contract doesn't require them to always keep that line on their site I don't think there's much you can do about it.
Even if you did sue and won it wouldn't be good. If someone contacted the client for a reference about your services do you think they'd say good things about you after you sue them?
I just checked out their site and it does list you as the design firm. Guess they wised up?
It will boil down to what is in the contract.
If you need an example of a good web design contract, just see http://glassbottom.com/contract.html
Hope that helps.
You can also review:
which has a section stating that anything we design shall be recognized for services rendered (mainly in the form of a text or graphic link back to our site).
I f they have changed the credit back to you for the design, disregard the folowing, please. If you (company, entity, individual) designed the site, then it is your design. The site may be owned by or hosted by anyone that you or they specified, but YOU designed it. If there is a design credit listed, then it must say you. To claim someone else's design is fraud (legally). They can put "edited by" , "hosted by", or "maintained by", but if you designed it, you are the designer. If over 50% of the site is redesigned, then they can, at that time, claim the design credit.
Before taking legal action, contact them, and inform them that you have noticed a "mistake", and that they have a footer which claims design credit. Request that they amend this mistake, and give them a reasonable amount of time to do so (I will check back to this site in 5 business days to make sure you have corrected the mistake...). If they have not done so, send another message to them, stating that you intend to take legal action, for "theft by intent" and fraud. Fraud is saying or doing something that is not true (taking credit for your design) theft by intent is stealing money (in this case probably business) by representing your work as their quality of work, and thus INTENDING to get paid for work like yours, for their customers who may come to them because of the example of your work that they claim is theirs......Have I lost you yet? Anyway, you get the idea, I hope.....
Here's one way to get the message across.
If you live in the US, it costs $25 in most places to file a lawsuit. Since the theft was against you, you can file at your local courthouse. I wouldn't hesitate to stick it to a theif. I'd list the design company and the client on the suit.
If you make the suit for an amount less than it would cost them to hire a lawyer and travel to the court proceedings, say $500, they probably will not show up and will lose by default.
Why not stick it to a dishonest company? If everyone did this then design fraud would happen a LOT less often!
You can ALWAYS sue... that's just filing in court. The question to ask is: "Can you win the law suit?"
JJ I notice you haven't responded to this thread since you posted it - and another response says the offending Web site changed the credits back. If you still have questions or would like to hear some additional thoughts let me know. I do have some input.