Legally, can I Recycle Somebody Else's Web Design?

10 replies
  • WEB DESIGN
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There are some gorgeous sites out there. I just played around with one, I copied the html source code and threw it into Dreamweaver. I made sure I had all the images from the site, and tested it, and it comes up absolutely perfectly. Here's the kicker: there was no copyright on the page. Take for example a Health Cleansing Product Review page that is very profesional. If there is no copyright on the page, is there any legal guideline preventing me from copying the source code (publicly accessible) and re-uploading the page with my own text? Legally, can I take that design and then write my own copy over it? I don't want to break any laws here, but there are some gorgeous landing pages out there and if there is nothing illegal with using those designs as my own, then the conversion possibilities are huge. A great design can mean so much. Let me know your thoughts and what you know regarding this idea!
#design #legally #recycle #web
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    A page is automatically copyrighted when it goes online - it doesn't have to say it's copyrighted. No, you can't take the source code and images from a site you like and use it as your own. Major violation and could cause you major problems. You can't take an image you like from another site and use it - that's copyrighted, too, as is the text....and the source code.

    If you see a design you like you can create a site similar in design using the same colors and layout, etc - but build it yourself. Of course there are gorgeous sites online - and people that spend a lot of time building them to be unique.

    kay
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  • Profile picture of the author kswr123
    the rule is this:

    You CAN copy the concept, and the idea, but not the FORM. That means if you see something that works well on that site (eg colour scheme) you can use that colour scheme. After all, they are not THEIR colours.

    however you can't use those colours in THE SAME WAY that they did...
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  • Profile picture of the author wayfarer
    The only exception would be if there are comments in the code indicating it is released under one of the various open-source licenses. You can be sued and be liable for significant damages if you just rip people off openly.
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  • Profile picture of the author tajimd
    All you can take is inspiration from someone elses design, but can't copy the entire code. That's 100% illegal
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    • Profile picture of the author aekaplan
      I appreciate the responses, I figured as much. With a bit of inspiration and some creativity, I think it's definitely possible to take a concept that's fantastic, make it your own, and go from there. Thanks for the insights!
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  • Profile picture of the author wayfarer
    On a humorous note, what would be wrong with ripping off Chinese web designs? After all, they rip off our music constantly.
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  • Profile picture of the author Quest4Light
    Basically true for anything written... even before it's published. If they can prove that it was created before you (if it's online there's no question) ... you will have problems. Definitly not worth it. About the color scheme... I would say it would be pretty hard for anyone to claim copyright infringements. That would be like saying a romantic comedy about two women in love with the same man is a copied from a romantic comedy about two woman in love with the same man. If you had all the same links in the same spots with the same graphics and just changed some words... you'd be looking suspect... but a color scheme is pretty general and there is no way to prove you didn't imagine the same color scheme. After the editing though you would only save a small chunk of time. You'd save something.
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  • Profile picture of the author Richard Whyte
    Simple answer...

    Concept ideas are open... IE If you like the double banner at top with three columns, go for it.

    Code.... NO.

    Images... NO.

    It's just in bad taste to rip code from a site and toss it up on your site. You can look at code and learn from it... Mmmmm, how the heck did they do that.... Oh, I see....

    If you look at almost every website out on the net, they really are very similar groups.
    I am sure you know what I mean.
    Banner, two columns
    Banner, three columns
    Banner, one wide , one narrow column
    No Banner, One column
    etc

    If you have any design skill at all and are looking to build a nice site, you tune your eye looking for ideas and the general information you want to get across to your audience.

    Sketch out a simple layout and then start building. These days, CSS is so powerful you can build almost any type of layout you want fairly easy....

    Have a Great Day!
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  • Profile picture of the author kswr123
    no. I am a desinger, and I would NEVER copy code. If I see something that looks good, I'd write the code myself, and if I couldn't get a warrior to do it or find a tutorial lol!
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  • Profile picture of the author mywebwork
    I agree with the consensus here - you can use other peoples designs as inspiration for your own but copying code, content and graphics is out of the question.

    As an example I'm currently designing an application that has an interface inspired by the iGoogle page. Like iGoogle my design allows users to customize their own "desktop" with widgets that they can drag and drop anywhere they choose. The functionality is virtually identical to iGoogle simply because it makes sense, not because I copied any of their code.

    And while the design was indeed inspired by iGoogle it also has what I consider to be several improvements. So you could say that this is an enhanced iGoogle-like design. And it could even work 2 ways - by some miracle a Google engineer could come across my web application and become inspired by the enhancements that I've made. And you never know, those enhancements may show up in a future release of iGoogle. And they wouldn't copy my code, they would just copy the concept.

    This sort of thing happens all the time and is perfectly acceptable. I suggest that you use the site that impresses you as an inspiration for your own design. Perhaps you can even improve upon it.

    Bill
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