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  1. #1
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    My website design has been stolen!

    I've just discovered that my website, <snip>, has been completely ripped off <snip>. My graphics, html/css code, layout, logo... basically the entire site has been (rather poorly) duplicated! This company has even gone so far as to hotlink to my images, so they're also hijacking my bandwidth.

    There is currently no contact information on their site - it actually looks half-finished - so I found the owner of the domain name through a whois search. I have written to him asking that he either remove my material or compensate me for its use, and I've also blogged about it. I've threatened further action, but I'm really hoping it won't come to that.

    Has anyone here had a similar experience with copyright theft? If so, how was it resolved? I'm quite new to web design and have never encountered anything like this personally. If anyone has any advice or suggestions, I'm all ears.
    Last edited by Dan Schulz; Feb 19, 2008 at 03:44. Reason: sorry, but I had to remove the links

  2. #2
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    I personally don't get so worked up over this sort of thing, people like that aren't real compettion any way.

    I would rename the graphics and change your page to reflect the new names. I would then create some new graphics using the old names that say "stolen from...." or "this idiot copies web sites" and place them on the server and they will display nicely on his site.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    That's pretty pathetic. They even get the stylesheets right from your site. Do what tbarr60 says and rename the images with messages to the site, or just block their server IP from your server.

    Anyways, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so be glad
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
    Singapore Web Designer

  4. #4
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    You're in luck. The site may be Canadian, but it's hosted in the United States. Send the hosting provider a DMCA complaint - oh, and grab a bowl of popcorn.

    These two articles may prove useful to you.
    http://www.digital-web.com/articles/..._down_notices/
    http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007...copy-it-right/

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    That sucks.

    How the hell did you find them?

    RJ

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post
    How the hell did you find them?
    I'm guessing by analytics?
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    I have a better suggestion: Re-name all the images on your site, and replace the current images with porn. Then send a complaint to their host, and tell them that one of their customers are violating their guidelines. Since they're hotlinking your style sheet, you will be able to modify the design to look however you like. You could even set html {display:none} or something like that.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  8. #8
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    That would be funny.

    Code:
    body {display: none;}

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    ...and see how long it takes the guy to figure out what went wrong.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Especially if it's burried somewhere deep within the stylesheet, while leaving the rest of the contents there.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    We are so nerdily evil....
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
    Singapore Web Designer

  12. #12
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Off Topic:

    Don't let Wierd Al Yankovic find out - he might make a music video out of it.

  13. #13
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    You know your a geek when you laugh out loud at

    body {display:none;}.

    I actually shocked myself there and realized I couldn't share the joke with anyone. Back to your dilemma, I would take great pleasure in using an hour of my time to ruin somebody's day possibly week. Make it fun, have 3 different stylesheets and sets of images and rotate it around.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the advice! I was tempted to replace the images they're hotlinking to with something rude, but I think I'd prefer to remain professional. If I don't hear from them in the allotted time period, my next step will be to contact their hosting company and inform them of the violation. As Dan Schulz pointed out, hosting companies in the US are required to remove anything that's in violation of copyright law.

    Quote Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post
    That sucks.

    How the hell did you find them?

    RJ
    Someone emailed me through a form on my site to let me know. I can't even email them back to thank them as the email address they supplied doesn't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz View Post
    That would be funny.

    Code:
    body {display: none;}
    Unfortunately they've embedded my stylesheet in the HTML doc, so that won't work (although it would have been cool to do!). I can enable hotlinking protection through my control panel so that's next on my agenda.

    Thanks again for all the suggestions!

    Fiona

  15. #15
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    One thing that hasn't been brought up was that this guy could just be learning HTML. I learned by stumbling across View - Source in 1996, I saved the source and did some small edits in Notepad and suddenly I was in business. It looked exactly like Netscape's home page but it did say Tbarr's Homepage and it never made it to a public server but this guy may have been learning FTP at the same time he was learning HTML and CSS. Hopefully he had just your design on loan like a book from the library, he'll give it back.
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  16. #16
    Galactic Overlord gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbarr60 View Post
    One thing that hasn't been brought up was that this guy could just be learning HTML. I learned by stumbling across View - Source in 1996, I saved the source and did some small edits in Notepad and suddenly I was in business. It looked exactly like Netscape's home page but it did say Tbarr's Homepage and it never made it to a public server but this guy may have been learning FTP at the same time he was learning HTML and CSS. Hopefully he had just your design on loan like a book from the library, he'll give it back.
    Theft is theft, whatever your motives...

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    That's a lot of assumptions to be making as well, especially after he formatted his logo to match the stolen design.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
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  18. #18
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    One thing that hasn't been brought up was that this guy could just be learning HTML. I learned by stumbling across View - Source in 1996, I saved the source and did some small edits in Notepad and suddenly I was in business. It looked exactly like Netscape's home page but it did say Tbarr's Homepage and it never made it to a public server but this guy may have been learning FTP at the same time he was learning HTML and CSS. Hopefully he had just your design on loan like a book from the library, he'll give it back.
    "Judge, I'm sorry, I didn't know that murder was illegal..."

    "Judge, I'm sorry, I didn't know I stole that lady's purse. I was learning to be a cross-dresser..."

    "Judge, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to drink and drive...I was just learning how NOT to act..."

    Theft is theft. Doesn't matter if someone's trying to "learn" something. Come on, the guy is intentionally uploading the stuff to a server for all the world to see. Even when I was just learning HTML back in 1998, I knew better than to upload stolen content. It is theft- and there should be no debate about it.


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