Copying a tutorial sample website for a client job
I have searched everywhere and have not found the answer to this specific question.
I know someone who recently designed and coded a small responsive website for a paying client.
A few days ago I was going through some web design tutorials and discovered that this website is an almost 100% copy of the code of the example from the tutorial, and some of the graphics are identical. To add to this, the person put their own copyright notice in the footer.
My feeling is that this is wrong and very unethical but my question is: should I approach this person about it? Are tutorial examples copyrighted? How much trouble could the client and the web designer get into if the person who made the tutorial discovered the website and took exception to it?
I sometimes work on projects with this person, so I want to do the right thing but I do not want to damage our business relationship if at all possible. But this really bothers me.
First, you ask "Are tutorial examples copyrighted?". The answer to that is clearly Yes. However, it's possible that the tutorial publisher has stated that the reader is free to use the code in his own sites. After all, that is partly the purpose of a tutorial - to teach you how to create a website (or whatever). You would need to check any specific statements re copyright and licensing that comes with the tutorial.
You also mentioned graphics. The graphics in the tutorial are also copyright, and in that case, it's less likely that the tutorial publisher would have given permission to re-use them. It's not as if the particular images are an essential part of coding the site. But, again, you would have to check.
But your second question is quite different: "should I approach this person about it?" I assume "the person" is the website designer, that is, the person who used the tutorial code in his own site. The answer to that depends on what your relationship is to that person, and what your motive is for contacting him. If he is a good friend and you want to warn him of the risks he is facing, then by all means do so. If, in the other hand, you have no relationship with him and no particular interest in the matter, I would suggest you stay out of it.
Thank you, Mike. Good advice. What really bothered me was that this web designer was paid for the site by the client and put a personal copyright notice on the site which was not the designer's work to begin with.
I guess I should broach the subject because we have done paid projects together over the past year and probably will continue to do so.
Now I have some information about copyright and tutorials to base my discussion on, because the tutorial actually is in the lynda.com library and from what I remember there was no explicit permission given to use the code and/or graphics commercially.