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hollywood
31-03-2010, 12:37 PM
I thought something was similar when I was sent this link recently...

http://www.combsconsulting.com/

Then I remembered... oh yeah, that's my site - with a different logo.

http://www.jayhollywood.com.au/

What's wrong with people these days?

cadmium
31-03-2010, 12:41 PM
This seems to happen every few months on the web. What worries me is how often it happens and we don't find out!

Slightly off-topic but related to the whole copying thing - has anyone noticed how many companies are copying each other's advertising?

I've lost count of the number of companies using that pencil effect block type and there are a couple of health insurance companies using exactly the same effect on their TV advertising.

Have we run out of original ideas?

kay
31-03-2010, 01:58 PM
It's bloody disgusting. This happened to a client recently and I:

- took a ton of screenshots showing the similarities
- sent a reasonably polite "excuse me, but what the fuck?" email to the developer

In this case the ripped off site wasn't live and the developer apologised and blamed a designer for using it as a basis only, blah blah blah. Problem solved.

However, in the meantime the client posted it on his blog and his fan base (yes, he really does have one) went nuts. Someone called up the developer in the uk and blasted them. someone else managed to track down the developer's client and put them in terror of their life. I think this probably wasn't the right approach.

If my "I demand satisfaction, sir" email hadn't produced the desired response, I would have drafted up some kind of official "cease and desist letter" and sent it by registered post. If that had no effect, not being prepared to start international legal action, I would have made the issue public and done as much damage to their reputation as possible (essentially, unleashed you lot on them).

Any ideas on what the best course of action would be?

http://i.imgur.com/xKhqD.jpg

cadmium
31-03-2010, 02:04 PM
http://i.imgur.com/xKhqD.jpg

That's awesome!

But on a more serious note - how do you guys actually find these plagiarisers?

I had a case of somebody stealing my content once, way back when I first started out with Cadmium, but haven't noticed anything since.

kay
31-03-2010, 02:10 PM
the first time it wasn't someone ripping off a site, it was a developer listing our sites in their portfolio as sites they had developed... the site client was looking at the incoming links in their analytics and found it that way.

The recent case was someone anonymously tipped off the client. I'm not sure how they came across it but I suspect they were involved with or related to the developer doing the ripping.

you can try googling key phrases from your content... that would find people who are ripping off your text too... I think there's search engines that specialise in that too.

heist
31-03-2010, 02:13 PM
First course of action should always be polite:
"uhhh hey, i noticed your site was extremely similar to mine, what gives?"

From there you can gauge their reaction and make the appropriate response.

On the upside, you know who he is on twitter, and he's given you a list of his best clients.

tuna
31-03-2010, 02:14 PM
I hate this type of thing, its okay to be influenced by a design, but to lift it!

I would start with a please explain email (1). Then a formal cease and desist letter / email to them and their host (2).

That fails.. well let the web community loose.(3)... (as kay suggest)

Personally I would have done (1) immediately, no response in 8 hours, move to (2) 8 hours later go with (3).

I just have no patience for thieves.

heist
31-03-2010, 02:58 PM
8 hours? you're harsh. I sleep for longer than that :p

zeroedin
31-03-2010, 03:29 PM
8 hours? you're harsh. I sleep for longer than that :p

You don't mess with the Tuna!

ashul
31-03-2010, 04:55 PM
(essentially, unleashed you lot on them).



this approach seems to work best, already Mr Combs as soon as he wakes up will start to feel the groundswell.

But if that is not enough: there is his portfoilo, we can hit every site, go to the contact us page and let his clients know what this guy is doing as well as ask them the question, what about the integrity of your own site, that you have paid for?

A

Franki
31-03-2010, 05:39 PM
I just sent a C&D myself for plagerised content (some of my content on a customer's site design!), yerp, they got got the balls to play like that. Email the C&D to Host & Host's Host. Got a cc from Host an hour later (giving them 24hrs to take it down).

kay
31-03-2010, 05:44 PM
this approach seems to work best, already Mr Combs as soon as he wakes up will start to feel the groundswell.

But if that is not enough: there is his portfoilo, we can hit every site, go to the contact us page and let his clients know what this guy is doing as well as ask them the question, what about the integrity of your own site, that you have paid for?

A

Well, there's that. But you also have to be careful that you don't get into a situation where you could potentially be sued for badmouthing the person. Which is why I thought it was best to go the quiet route first.

In the case where that person was claiming credit for some of our sites, when i did manage to get hold of her on the phone she seemed confused and actually said "if you don't let us list the site you can't use so-and-so anymore". She CLAIMS (and I don't know how true it is) that a new employee of hers said he did ongoing contract work for us (not true).

I did say that just because your staff member has done work for someone else doesn't mean you can list that work in your portfolio and the whole thing seemed very dodgy to me BUT she did have an explanation that might potentially make her seem reasonable and us unreasonable, had we named and shamed hysterically without trying the quiet alternative approach first.

jexley
31-03-2010, 06:00 PM
First off, I agree that by stealing in the first place, you're opening up a whole can o' Whupass. Simply stopping doing the crime doesn't make up for the fact that you did it in the first place and I would gladly lable someone a "Coward and Scoundrel" loud and clear.

That said, DUDE, he's in Denver! Off E.Florida Ave!?!?? I used to work right up the street! I've got mates that can stop by, knock on his door, and tell him that he's getting a Size 11 Steeltoe up his ass if he doesn't straighten up and fly right. A quick search gets his real name and gmail addy, so I'm ready to rock when you are. Hell, if he was in web design within the last 10 years in Denver, I probably know him. Though, if he was, he wouldn't be stealing designs I don't s'pose.

Also, in response to Alex's query, set a Google Alert for specific things. I've got Google Alerts set for really random and obscure things, but occasionally they get set off and I get an email from The Googs saying "Hey, we found something!" Usually it's nothing, but occasionally it's an article on somebody's site that's really close to something I've written or the like. I'd recommend setting an Alert for a unique tagline or something off your homepage.

Hell, all you designers out there should make that part of your pre-launch checklist. "Set Google Alert for unique bit o' content on homepage".

You can never be too careful.

Stormy81
31-03-2010, 08:34 PM
My favourite example of retaliation against a design thief

http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/?p=670

take that :)

jexley
31-03-2010, 09:08 PM
Dude, nothing says "Take That" like giant neon pink penises.

hollywood
01-04-2010, 11:54 AM
Well I'm happy to say that the guy has removed the site.

I did email him yesterday, but I have a feeling the amount of tweets directed at him may have had more to do with the outcome than my email as he removed his twitter account too.

But on a more serious note - how do you guys actually find these plagiarisers?


This isn't the first guy who's copied my work, but it was by far the most blatant copy. Each time I've been notified by someone who's come across the website in question and realised the similarity.

I hate to think how many others copy our work that we just don't know about, but in some ways I think it's kind of better not to know.

There are a few tools available that you can use to find the plagiarisers yourself, including http://copyscape.com/

I've learnt a few things from this experience that I thought I'd share in case it happens to anyone else:

-Try and keep something on your site (maybe in your images) that proves your ownership. I didn't need to do this, but I've heard that some people try and claim that they were indeed the copyright holders and you've copied them. I forgot I added this, but someone pointed out that on my 404 page I put my logo on the astronaut (which was duplicated on the new site) which proves that the work was indeed my own. As a further precaution, I'm considering adding more information to my other images as well in future.

- If the site owner refuses to remove the copyrighted material, there's a few other methods that you can try without having to involve the lawyers. The first is to get their site removed from Google through the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) (http://www.google.com/dmca.html) - which although doesn't remove the site from the interwebs, would reduce their traffic significantly.

Secondly, approaching the hosting company of the site directly and requesting the removal has seemed to have some success for others in the past. I guess this would depend on the hosting company though.

All in all, I think I'm wiser from the experience, and I ended up with a whole bunch of new twitter followers as a result - so not all bad.

Thanks guys for your help and advice on this, its much appreciated.


Jay

heist
01-04-2010, 12:52 PM
Did he respond to you at all, or just crawl into a hole?

hollywood
01-04-2010, 01:26 PM
Did he respond to you at all, or just crawl into a hole?

The latter, and I kind of expected as much.

heist
01-04-2010, 01:37 PM
The latter, and I kind of expected as much.

well that's just not the sort of thing you'd expect from a design stealing numpty (http://www.combsconsulting.com/)



(go google, go!)