I have looked through some of the previous postings on this topic but still have multiple questions. I would like any specific legal info and/or sites which might address this more fully. Also would like answers from a more general, standard practice point of view.
1. I am new to HTML and am basically learning how to code on my own. On-line tutorials give you the basics, but for specifics, examples really help. Where is the line between learning from examples and plaguerism? (Obviously straight cut and paste is out. However, if you want to create a certain effect, for example, and don't know how to code it off-hand, so you look at the code for other sites that have a very similar effect and essentially end up typing in the same code, editing only color, text, etc., where does this fall? How much change is needed? If coding to create a certain effect is common and appears on multiple sites, is it more or less considered "common knowledge" and therefore free to be mimicked?)
2. Someone had mentioned in a previous posting that, when they did use code from other sites, they gave credit to that site or webmaster. Along with that posting, someone else mentioned it was good to contact the webmaster and ask for permission. Assuming permission is granted and I want to give credit to the writer, what is the standard way to do this? Where does it go, etc.?
3. If a webmaster or web-design company designs a site for a paying customer, who owns the copyright to the site? To what extent does the customer have the right to break ties with the original designer and ask another company to maintain their site, keeping the site/code essentially the same with the new company doing only small edits/additions? What happens if larger changes are made? Is it appropriate to put a "Designed by (Company A)" and "Maintained by (Company B)"? How does the copyright work on the various parts (new/old) and the whole? I ask this because I work for a small but well-established company that provides clients with hardware, software and networking services. Up to this point, we have not been involved in website design. We are looking to slowly enter this market. Many of our customers rely on us for the large majority of their technology needs and appreciate that we "do it all". Some of them don't have professionally designed sites yet, so no problem there. But others do. We are not looking to take business away from anyone but have been, and undoubtedly will be in the future, approached by customers wishing to have us take over this aspect of their business as well. These customers don't necessarily want their whole sites redone, but may want small and/or significant changes made. How should we approach this, both from a legal and ethical point of view?
4. Finally, since webmastering is a rather new and informally organized profession, I realize (assume?) their is no formal "Webmasters Code of Ethics" , but I would be curious to know what those of you who are established webmasters consider ethical and unethical in regards to copyright-related issues in particular and coding for the web in general.