Another Web Designer Stole My Design...What Can I Do?

14 replies
So I had a client that everyone comes across, the one that makes you want a 9-5 job, the one that calls 2-3 times a day asking for updates. I outsourced the design to a Warrior and the client wanted more and more...for free.

I am $150(along with probably 15 hours) in the hole with this project and it has been a nightmare from Day One. I have not been able to get ahlold of the guy for the last few days and I went to his site today and noticed he hired another designer, with my design. The new designer has his site in the footer claiming his company designed/developed the site. Now I am chalking this job as a loss and many lessons learned, but want to know...

What can I do if they are using my design? Anything?

Everything is the same, the designer just added a few new pages. He did change the font.

I appreciate any/all help. I want to call the past client and the designer and give them my $0.02, but I want to make sure I know the facts.
#designer #designwhat #stole #web
  • Profile picture of the author redlegrich
    My advice to you is simply walk away and forget it. The new designer will have to deal with this jerk and will likely get stiffed as well. If you pursue it you'll waste time, money and aggravation. They aren't worth it. Besides templates and themes are "stolen" every day.

    Go find a good client, your former one is never going to be happy. Be glad he left you!
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    • Profile picture of the author octaneinv
      Honestly, it's the best case scenario. Cut your losses.

      Did you have a contract? If there was any stipulation in there about exclusivity (won't ditch you, etc), then you could mail him an official looking letter and highlight the clause, and demand the money, or threaten legal action.

      Otherwise, it won't be worth it. Take the design, go find another business in his industry, and sell it to them.
      Ryan Alexander
      Companies: Brainless Inc.
      Subsidiaries: | Rogue Marketing Systems
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  • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
    Move on! Even though you feel like going off on them (I would too). You will be just wasting even more time on this bad client. People like that will go out of there way to talk bad about you if you give them a reason to (they feel). Its better to just walk away and if they contact you, just apologize and block future emails from them.

    I got rid of all my bad ones except 1 client that I am trying to finish up on so I can move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    Well, if you still have access to the site, you could always take it down...

    That's a big F U back

    Or set up the site as a lead site, and dominate all over them in the area for peanuts to someone else... Give someone else the same site, just make theirs number one, two, three, and so on. For example, if it was for a Plumber, just offer it to another plumber for free if they agree to a SEO campaign.

    Let the client steal the site... It does you no good to have a beautiful "stolen" billboard ad on a deserted highway.

    I know marketing. If someone pisses me off, I scream F U back.
    Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
    - Neale Donald Wilson -
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  • Profile picture of the author biggoogle
    You've lost enough time and energy on this. Smile and move on. Life is too short.

    There are plenty of great clients out there.

    Oh, and in the future, be sure to have an easy exit clause in your agreement.

    ''Those who fail to take big risks do nothing, have nothing and are nothing.''

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    • Profile picture of the author Luke Bishop
      what a cun-ty thing to do.

      I'd go off at him.
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      • Profile picture of the author Shelle-K
        It's still copyright infringement... Once you design it, it's yours for like 70 years (unless you release the rights or it's a work for hire -- but you have to be paid for it to transfer even in that situation). Even if you don't file and secure a copyright through the US copyright office, it's still copyrighted.

        Learn the basics here:

        Main site -

        "The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work"

        In most cases, you can send a copyright infringement notice and the recipient will usually take it down.
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        • Profile picture of the author tanya7zhou
          There is no point in fighting with people like him. I know what feelings will be urging you to do. You'll be filling like you want to give him a piece of your mind, but they will just make it worse for you. Don't worst your energy on this.

          Let him go. He ain't worth it. Like they say; don't argue with fools!

          Don't argue with fools, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience!

          It's not over until it is Over!

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  • Profile picture of the author ADukes81
    Yea, I plan to just let it go, but man does it piss me off. I was planning on collecting the remaining balcance and parting ways with this guy as he was such a pain. This is the 3rd web designer he has used in 2 months as the one before me couldn't work with him. That should have been a red flag, but I was hungry for money at the time.

    Thank you to everyone that added your comments, I do appreciate it.
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    • Profile picture of the author netkid
      This happened to me once. I let it go right away. I had too many new clients to deal with that made me happy!

      The trick with being successful in the offline is to constantly fill the pipeline with new propsects and you won't ever have to worry about dwelling on any one client especially a bad client. You would be just too busy to worry or care about it
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    • Profile picture of the author Shelle-K
      Originally Posted by ADukes81 View Post

      Yea, I plan to just let it go, but man does it piss me off.
      I know how you feel! I designed a logo for a computer repair shop - went to grab chinese one day and a "new" computer repair shop had just opened and they had the logo I created slapped up on their sign with their name. WOW did it p*** me off. I was so mad I actually walked in and asked them how he got it and he claimed the signshop did it for him. I even happened to have a business card in my car for the logo I created 3 years ago. They didn't change a single thing, same color, same everything. I showed it to him, he said he'd take it down, months later - it's still there. I never did send him a notice once I knew it was still up. I figured - well, he must really like my work to steal it. BUT now I have to avoid going to my normal chinese place just so I don't get irritated.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    The most important things you can do here:

    1. Be professional. Be the most professional you can be. Call him, tell him you are sorry it didn't work out and you are glad to have been considered. Then never speak to them again. This is a huge growth opportunity for you to elevate yourself above peolple like this forever.

    Practice professionalism and soon these types won't bother you.

    2. Learn that this occurrence was not the business owners fault. Take full personal responsibility and examine how you allowed this to happen. Was there something that made it seem that it would be easy to take advantage of you?

    A big problem I can see is that you did work and spent money before you were paid. Never work for free. Before you commit your time and resources, the customer needs to show their commitment to you by giving you money.

    Better luck in the future. Examine what happened and apply what you find.
    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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    • Profile picture of the author Summertime Dress
      you could set up a dummy site with the exact same design for his niche...get it to page one and rent it to his competition.
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  • I would report him go this his hosting company ask for the details and do go after him the legal way.


    "A budget tells us what we can't afford, but it doesn't keep us from buying it"

    William Feather

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