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Yet another design rip-off.
May 11, 2001 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Yet another design rip-off. This really bugs me. I have no problem with sites stealing layout and code, but actual graphics should be a no-no.
posted by jasonepowell (54 comments total)

 
Yeah but the bright side of it is that any business that scams that much isn't likely to stay belly-down for long either...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 2:10 PM on May 11, 2001


A website that sells sheet music for video games.
I repeat: A website that sells sheet music for video games.

We'll read about it in December when they've burned through 30 Mil and closed their doors.
posted by lileks at 2:19 PM on May 11, 2001


Actual graphics?

As far as I can see, they have simply created a bad copy of the Amazon graphics; they haven't stolen them. I'm not sure how that's different from stealing layout.

I don't see how they possibly think they can benefit from stealing some one else's design, especially from such a widely known site. They've even mirrored the arrow theme from the Amazon logo.
posted by timbooker at 2:22 PM on May 11, 2001


there are a lot of these "practically identical to amazon" sites. this one is even worse, in my opinion.

self-promo: i have started archiving screenshots of these at http://www.pirated-sites.com. there are some much worse offenders out there.
posted by o2b at 2:28 PM on May 11, 2001


The two "Browse" navigation elements here and here are exactly the same dimensions and curvature. The font has been changed, but that's all. Both images being 171x19 pixels would be a pretty remarkable coincidence. I think it's safe to say that's the graphics have been stolen, too. (Slightly modified, but still stolen.)
posted by waxpancake at 2:28 PM on May 11, 2001


cough
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 2:32 PM on May 11, 2001


this is absolutely nothing new really.

suits see that according to certain web-critics, yahoo and amazon are the best in terms of "usability".

so thanks to one man with his head up his ass (guess who), every other corporation is trying to look identical to these sites.

i've had clients ask for this sorts of sites, and i've flat out said no due to the fact that i don't want to help with this sort of garbage.

the moment i hear 'can you make it like..." i shudder. especially when you know for a fact the reason the guy is saying this is because he thinks the site with be easier to navigate. why? because that's one of the three sites he uses on a regular basis.

as for stylistic choices, being from the 'art and design' community, i see that sort of crap all the time.

and sadly the only thing we can do is what we're doing now. log and archive these travesties, and let word of mouth spread.
posted by jcterminal at 2:47 PM on May 11, 2001


lileks, I'm sure the company actually makes most of it's money from the game soundtracks themselves (CDs) than the sheet music. There are actually several sites out there that sell the same stuff (Anime Castle, Anime Solutions, Anime Nation). They kinda combine console game stuff with anime stuff. Games are starting to come out with soundtracks a lot, especially RPGs. It's a small market but it does have its niche - many of the sites (and I think this one, with a different design) have been around for a long time.
posted by swank6 at 2:58 PM on May 11, 2001


I have pirated Amazon for my family tree site. I took graphics and completely ripped them off. I don't see anything wrong with this but there is a major difference. I am not trying to make any money from their design and graphics.
posted by me myself and i at 3:00 PM on May 11, 2001


jcterminal, it's not a matter of whether Amazon or Yahoo have good usability. They were the first big names in their markets. While they are generally easy to use, what's more important is that they established / oriented people to a baseline expectation. In this diverse medium minds are attracted to familiar things, things that can be quickly and easily understood because of prior exposure.

Modeling your site after a bigger site that your customers use just makes sense. It's not a good idea to look the same because that's a source of confusion. But, for example with Amazon, it could be a good idea to use navigation tabs, place your shopping cart in the upper right-hand corner, etc.
posted by fleener at 3:00 PM on May 11, 2001


oh man, you used the smiley arrow thing and everything?

Amazon put a lot of money into their design and usability work, and even if you're not trying to make money, you're benefitting from their hard work, money, and effort. They have every right to say you've stolen something from them.
posted by mathowie at 3:02 PM on May 11, 2001


fleener:

that's not a nav-bar! that's tombstones for failed dot.coms!

:P
posted by jcterminal at 3:04 PM on May 11, 2001


Here's the other thing: A lot of people who are less... computer-savvy than the MeFi crowd are sometimes confused by design rip-offs. That is, they think these sites are somehow affiliated with amazon.com or Yahoo!, and therefore it is safe and good to buy things from them. Of course, that's probably part of the motivation for stealing a design (laziness plays a role, too, I'm sure).
posted by binkin at 3:16 PM on May 11, 2001


I told you I took it all. If they want to go after someone, they will start with the big fish and then my tree will probably look like fedex or NECXDirect or something. If you look around my site you will see it is huge and only the family tree is a direct rip off. Everything is somewhat influenced by some other site.
posted by me myself and i at 3:51 PM on May 11, 2001


Perhaps there is some difference between copying a site wholesale (the 123Hosting thing) and being influenced by it, especially when something is as easy to use as Amazon. Are we saying that their innovations shouldn't be used because they're copywrited? If that's the case, science would never have developed much past the wheel:

CAVEMAN ONE:
I've invented the wheel.

CAVEMAN TWO:
Cool. I think I'll make one just like it for my cart.

CAVEMAN ONE:
You can't.

CAVEMAN TWO:
Why not? It's such a good design. It really works.

CAVEMAN ONE:
But you'd be copying off me . . .

See - doesn't quite work.

Besides all this we watch films and take great pleasure in seeing that so and so was heavily infuenced by some film he saw years ago. Hell, I saw 'Captain Correlli's Mandolin' tonight, the sex scene from which is direct 'steal' from 'Out of Sight' which itself borrowed from 'Don't Look Now'. Are we saying the web shuld be different.
posted by feelinglistless at 4:15 PM on May 11, 2001


jcterminal: Nielsen never recommended ripping off designs. He's simply suggesting that we might follow certain design standards, in order to make a site which is instantly understandable to it's users.

Personally, I think Nielsen's articles are well reasoned, and that any designer who has such a knee-jerk seriously needs to think twice about his comments.
posted by timbooker at 4:23 PM on May 11, 2001


Yeah, Jakob may go a little overboard sometimes, but basically it's not so much that he has ideas, but that he has common sense. When you see people listening to him, cheer.

Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with marrying usability with a pleasant design that will win awards.

So, sticking to the topic at hand, I don't really see a problem with a site like gamemusic using a "tab" design. Maybe some of the elements suggest that they were indeed just downloaded and tweaked, but that's not necessarily actionable. It's just ... cheap and tawdry. So go ahead and laugh at them, but not for using tabs.
posted by dhartung at 5:02 PM on May 11, 2001


hey! i NEVER mentioned anyone's names.

you're just assuming i'm talking about him.

and did i just get called a knee-jerk?

but for everyone's sake, i'll rethink my sense of design...

...

yep. still feel the same. i still think one can create an easy to navigate site without ripping off pre-established trendy ideas created by big dumb corporations that don't see people, but only hits.

not me man, uh uh. they won't take me alive.
posted by jcterminal at 5:17 PM on May 11, 2001


Everything is somewhat influenced by some other site.

Ah that makes sense - so since everybody's ideas are inspired at least minutely from others, I can just take whatever I want and that's just fine...good logic there.

Not that I haven't taken stuff even physically in my time, I just don't attempt to justify it with incredible leaps of logic.
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 5:21 PM on May 11, 2001


#058 and skintones are just the colours of yesteryear and a tabbed interface seems common enough (along with smeared twink/white-out and icons - tacky). Amazon should have reserved their predictable look and feel along with the 1-click sale and reaped from burnt-out designers.

Lance Arthur talked about this kinda thing in his webmonkey radio interview.

In conclusion, stone the designer and his rectangular glasses.
posted by holloway at 5:32 PM on May 11, 2001


Knee-jerk, as in a spontaneous, involuntary, or automatic reaction.

As in, any designer who has such a knee-jerk reaction to Nielsen's comments, seriously needs to think twice about them.

Nielsen is not, for one moment, recommending that we rip off big dumb corporate sites.

In fact, it's all about creating an easy to navigate site.
posted by timbooker at 5:39 PM on May 11, 2001


Why do I ever open my mouth? Please stop the spam. MeFiers should be above this petty crap.
posted by me myself and i at 6:07 PM on May 11, 2001


I don't really understand the excitement about copying people's designs. With all due respect and appreciation to Matt H. for MF it seems really childish to me. To me it seems even more self-serving than tittle-tattling on someone. What I was taught is that there is no higher form of admiration than imitation so I'd take a design rip-off as either a matter for lawyers, or something to be really flattered by--not that it's right or ethical or anything, because it is NOT. What you have that is an asset is your ability to think creatively and that is your marketeable skill. The more people see your designs and familiar it becomes the better job offers you get. So why fret so much about rip-offs unless you're really insecure about your abilities?
posted by greyscale at 6:19 PM on May 11, 2001


To steal one from one source is plagiarism. To steal from many is inspiration.

If these sites looked like someone had crossbred Yahoo! with Amazon, then fine. But to lift from a single source... sad.
posted by drywall at 6:54 PM on May 11, 2001


I didn't get to see the site, but congratulations! You've tormented somebody:
Why do I ever open my mouth? Please stop the spam. MeFiers should be above this petty crap.
from oh man, you used the smiley arrow thing and everything?.
posted by internook at 7:00 PM on May 11, 2001


Wow, you guys spammed "me myself and i" after he said he ripped off Amazon for a personal family tree site? That's some impressive nerd insanity there, boys.
posted by frenetic at 7:12 PM on May 11, 2001


It's not the stealing that's the main problem, in my view. It's the implicit (fraudulent) claim that the site design was done by the perpetrator of a rip that annoys most. I think if a ripper actually credited and linked the original designer - even without permission - everyone'd be a bit happier, at least.
posted by BobInce at 7:23 PM on May 11, 2001


A personal site aping amazon.com's look and feel IS NOT plagiarism!!!

It's called parody. Try looking it up in the dictionary.

I thought the parody was well done. me_myself_and_i gets a thumbs up from me. This is coming from someone who has had his look and feel lifted several times by commercial sites.

Everyone here knows it was a parody. And everyone here has laughed at site parodies that were posted on the home page.

Time to chill out and/or buy a freakin' clue.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:50 PM on May 11, 2001


hey y6 -- why don't you look it up, it's not hard:

parody:

1a. A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule.

1b. The genre of literature comprising such works.

2. Something so bad as to be equivalent to intentional mockery; a travesty

from the family tree page:

PS - I know this is a shameless copy of Amazon.com but I like the idea and I don't care.

simply copying the style or functionality of a site does NOT constitute parody. if the site were located at amazonsucks.com and was geared towards satirizing the business practices of amazon.com, THEN it would be parody.

personally, i don't mind sites that are obviously inspired by other sources — as long as they put forth some effort to make it their own.

and, the fact that it is not a for-profit site, and not being marketed in any way as being a unique or even affiliated entity gives me_myself some slack. i don't think me_myself ever meant hundreds of people to come in and see his/her family tree.

personal use may not be fair use, but i don't think amazon's gonna be knockin on me_myself's door anytime soon. (as for the others... ?)

but it certainly is NOT parody.

Time to chill out and/or buy a freakin' clue.

sorry to be so biting, but don't tell me to buy a clue without buying one yourself.
posted by o2b at 8:35 PM on May 11, 2001


Ahem...anyone ever use a template to build a website? I know that a lot of MeFi-ers are way ahead of that, technically speaking, but for many of us, learning to build a website means starting with a template and then slowly learning how to customize & tweak. I understand that templates are designed to be copied and used by many, but it's a jumping-off point. I know that some of the other sites referenced in this thread are not in quite the same boat, but the intent is largely the same, and as long as the site in question is not competing directly with the original (anime-music site vs Amazon.com), I really think it's no harm, no foul. Let's move on to something more topical and relevant...like this.
posted by davidmsc at 8:51 PM on May 11, 2001


*big smile* God this argument brings back some happy memories.

A couple years ago I was purposefully playing with other people's website styles. It was intended partly as tribute, partly as an educational experience for myself (like taking a car apart and putting it back together just to see how it worked) and partly as parody. FeelingListless is right: We wouldn't have cars today if the wheel had been copyrighted. This entire concept of turning ideas into property is counterproductive to progress, but you all go right on ahead and argue it, and spam to death anyone who disagrees with you. I find the whole thing amusing. You entertain me. No harm was meant by borrowing. I was making more fun of myself than I was the people I was "stealing from."

This caused no end of flack. To the point where I felt effectively blackballed from the cliquish "community which isn't a community" online. I'm still blackballed for all intents and purposes. The outsider. The fool who would be fool. It was a joke. It was supposed to be fun. But a lot of you people take things way too seriously, like spamming someone for having a family tree website that's similar in style to some other website you don't even own. I wouldn't want to be accepted by any group who would have me as a member anyway.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, whether you take it that way or not.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:53 PM on May 11, 2001


I find stealing AMAZON.COM for a FAMILY TREE hilarious. This is a side page of a small weblog using the design of one of the biggest web-sites around. I find the dichotomy amusing, and hope that others can see the silliness in comparing the two.
posted by modofo at 3:03 AM on May 12, 2001


The Canadian World Domination design was stolen by cretins.
posted by pracowity at 4:08 AM on May 12, 2001


The weird thing is the family tree guy wanted to be a web designer. Strange.
posted by justgary at 5:38 AM on May 12, 2001


To steal one from one source is plagiarism. To steal from many is inspiration.

I thought it was 'research'?

I didn't get to see the site

Missed it? No worries. I took a screen shot for you.

:)
posted by justgary at 5:45 AM on May 12, 2001


There are over 1500 html pages in my site. As a web developer I built 40 websites that made up over 5000 pages. I made over 60 graphical layouts. I have spent thousands of hours on web stuff. None of this seems to matter but I come here and volunteer a small section of my personal site that gets only 100 page views a month or discussion and I get shredded.

I wasn’t going negative and I won’t but I could. I think a lot of people are rather judgmental. I could point out several sites that are exact copies of others from the people bitching above but why bother.

I took the Amazon layout and made a family tree site out of it. I thought it was funny and so did many of the people in my family. Many of you freaked out and that is fine. I would appreciate it if the a-hole spamming me would stop; I have been put on about 40 mailing lists in the last day and gotten about 300 emails.

I took the site down, I will re-build it with totally unique images; I get the hint, now leave me alone and move on with your lives. (I almost put it back up with the MeFi graphics as a joke but I would be afraid for my life)

This is strike 3 for me here, every time I post here I seem to get beat up and what is the point.
posted by me myself and i at 6:14 AM on May 12, 2001


As in, any designer who has such a knee-jerk reaction to Nielsen's comments, seriously needs to think twice about them.

I would strongly recommend that you use MeFi's search functionality and read some of the hundreds of posts regarding Neilsen and his purported "authority" before you post rdidiculous remarks like this.

To save you some time, you'll discover that a lot of people who post to MeFi are entirely normal, non-computer-industry participants who couldn't possibly give two shits about him or his pathetic little pronouncements.

Then again, you'll find a much smaller but highly qualified, highly respected, highly vocal group of designers, systems people and industry journalists who have thought many, many times about Neilsen and cannot escape the conclusion that He is Wearing No Clothes... Even those professionals who believe Neilsen's got some valid points to make seem to agree he's a pompous ass whose personal style frequently obliterates anything useful he might provide. I've no idea who jcterminal really is, but since his views are essentially in line with other people's opinions in the MeFi community whose credentials would be extraordinarily difficult to argue with, perhaps jcterminal deserves a little more slack before you hang 'em from the nearest hierarchical tree...
posted by m.polo at 6:15 AM on May 12, 2001


"They have every right to say you've stolen something from them."

While clearly others have differing opinions, I've thought about this for a while and I still feel it's parody. Sean thinks it's funny, I think it's funny. How could that smiley arrow not be parody? Are you people really this humorless?

When you poop on someone's right to parody something as mainstream as Amazon.com you create a chilling atmosphere for free speech. I'm not saying copyright is bad. I think it's good. I think it's vital. But so is fair use and being able to poke fun. How does this pass the stealing test but not the parody test?

The fact that someone here decided to sign this guy up for 40 mailing lists just turns my stomach. How is that justified? I'm asking. What the hell is the point of that?

If I get a chance today, and I probably will, I'll be changing my site look and feel to copy Sean's parody of Amazon.

That will give you humorless poopy heads a quandary won't it? Will you spam me for stealing from Amazon or Sean? Or do you even stop to think about things past the obvious?

Shame on you.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:58 AM on May 12, 2001


I want to know what really happened. What was this "spam" Sean got? 10 emails? 20? I find it hard to believe this got a reaction even remotely comparable to the 123Hosting battle.
posted by rodii at 8:23 AM on May 12, 2001


Mostly comprised of several people (I am guessing several based on the styles) submitting bogus and often vulgar stuff in forms around my site (these are usually several copies by hitting submit as many times as they can), also about 100 copies of an e-mail from "screw.you@amazon.com" that said "Screw You!" in the subject line and nothing else, and just over 100 copies of an e-mail from "copyright.police@cought.you" that said they were coming to get me and I would hear from their layers. It seems like one or two people but I shift+deleted them before I thought to try to track the true sender. The mailing lists are more of a pain because I have to go and un-subscribe. In all it is just a hassle, nothing more.
posted by me myself and i at 8:38 AM on May 12, 2001


As for my site, based on the recommendation of y6y6y6 I have put it back up as is. Why not, it makes me laugh and I have a cousin who would like some cute girl to 1-click take him home.
posted by me myself and i at 8:41 AM on May 12, 2001


Note: This is really long. You may want to get a beverage now.

I think the issue here isn't the family tree site at all. To me, it's a matter of "creatively borrowing" a site's aesthetic design.

First, remember that even though amazon is big, it's not run by robots. Actual, real people designed their site and I'm sure the company pumped a very large amount of money into research to make it work the way it does. It arguably works very well for a shopping site.

It works so well that, yep, the site linked to way back in this thread's main post borrowed it. Is it a good business decision? Heck yeah. People know the amazon tabs, or if they don't, they'll quickly become familiar with them (despite the incredible abuse of the tab metaphor in web UIs, ugh.)

The problem is that ethics are what's at stake here. For a site that sells things, like gamemusic.com, it's a much larger issue because they're a company and they've got some cash sitting around that amazon's lawyers could potentially wrap their hands around. But geez, if they do that, amazon's going to have to go around and sue quite a few sites, because their tabs are everywhere!

They're probably leaving it be because, just as we're proving here, it gives them instant publicity. People know them as being amazon tabs. That's strong, and it's something to go with.

Insofar as the family tree site goes, my own personal opinion is that it's not parody at all. If it was a site pretending to be amazon and mocking its incredible number of tabs or something, that'd be parody. But it's not. It's a I feel it's sheer laziness (and potential ineptitude) on the part of the designer in question to just up and take the design wholesale.

If you're just learning things, great. Learn them. Take the HTML, tear it up, and then make your own, but learn from it and don't make it public. MMI, you set yourself up for this kind of response by not providing any kind of context at the outset - and the message about the design on the site is really blunt. Your attitude here is also very blunt and frank. I don't endorse anyone sending you spam or signing you up for mailing lists; I'd hope that those are anamolies in the grand scheme of MeFi things.

The issue on MMI's site is, "Is it parody or not?" I think not. I'm with o2b on this one.
posted by hijinx at 8:48 AM on May 12, 2001


If Sean thinks it parody, then it's parody. If you don't get it, then you don't get it.

Gamemusic.com is a completely different animal. It's a commercial use of the look and feel.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:59 AM on May 12, 2001


I don't understand why me myself and I is getting attacked because of this. He made it very clear that he wasn't intending to capitalize on Amazon's design or usability for underhanded personal profit.

When creatively-minded designers "parody" (and c'mon, is debating the semantics of this word really that necessary?) other pages, if done in an appropriate manner it can be entertaining. What about this parody of the whole three-oh reboot thing? There's no profit motivation, and it's a personal site, so what's the difference? Do you chastize him too?
posted by padjet1 at 9:01 AM on May 12, 2001


Well, sometimes this type of website... (that looks like a non-serious business) piss off easy, because was made by people that hasn´t any idea what the web is... but the point here... is when you have to do a website and that idea was made by 5 companies before... so... you should be different because:

1) you will be elite, all designer comunity will love you because you make those graphics and add those useless graphic elements to the page.

2) You should make a good image how different are your ideas from other.... so thats makes you more sucessful.

3) If the business goes ok, you could be the one.


----


I think this is wrong... being different just because you want to improvise, improve or try a non-stablished or standarized element you will be a lame.

This ripp off is far closely but the idea here is not destroy amazon market and amazon's idea. thats just obvious that website has nothing to do on the business.

I watched several websites and i agree Jakob Nielsen in my aspects when he says "all websites should really the same structure and should use the same elements"...

Look at this way... i should make a car... ok ... look around... there's 1000 cars that are the same shit... the same colors (ok ok thats less bright... ) bullshit... why should i make a car with 2 wheels? thats will make my users more useful?

Think this... use web standard elements... use standarized elements that people really recognize and learn fast to use it... thats a big thumbs ups.

But... that's a way to make things for people... if you copy personal art like a Piccasso Paint... that has nothing to do in our real life ... just watch and delight thats could be called ripp-off... and thats is a ripp off because the ripper has nothing to do in his life.

thanks.
posted by bio4 at 9:06 AM on May 12, 2001


I think I am going to design an appliance. However, the "on off" switch idea has been used, so I am going to change the names to "blue green" -- I don't want to look like that tired stoplight design! -- and instead of a switch I am going to have a flat black matte surface over which you drag your finger. The sensors will detect body-heat travel from lower left to upper right as "activate", or as I call it, "unuselessness", and travel from upper left to lower right as deactivate, or as I call it "besleepment".

In doing this everyone will be awed at the originality of my appliance design and flock to buy it, since it is nothing like all those other appliances out there. Also, I avoid nasty patent-infringement lawsuits. I hope I win this year's product design award! It will be a real feather in my cap, and all the other appliance designers will be jealous.

By the way, you left the cap off, and now my appliance is spewing raspberry-vegetable-dyed liquid all over the kitchen. Quick! Besleepment mode!
posted by dhartung at 9:16 AM on May 12, 2001


Parody is not just taking someone else's work and combining it with some of yours and saying of the juxtaposition, "look, isn't that funny?" It may indeed be funny, but mere funny is not parody.

Parody says something about the object of the parody. Kottke's "May 1st Skiboot" thing is a true parody, because it's saying, "Hey, look, anybody can make a silly 'event' like this one. See, I just made one!" You are meant to think about whether Kottke's fake event is any sillier than the real event and (this is the part that makes it parody) you are intended to draw the conclusion that they are about equally silly. Parody puts a funhouse mirror up against whatever you're parodying and shows everyone you that you can't actually make it any more ridiculous, because it's so ridiculous to begin with.

What exactly is a family tree page that looks like Amazon saying about Amazon? If it's not saying anything in particular, it's not, in my opinion, a parody. (And if you have to reach for it -- "well, one could look at it as commentary on the way commerce is driving Web design" -- it's not parody either. Parody is not about subtlety. You might call it "slapstick critique.")

This abuse of "parody" all started with Weird Al Yankovic. While perhaps he originally intended to make some kind of statement about the inherent silliness of pop music ("look, my versions of the songs really aren't any sillier than the originals!") most people just thought they were funny. But they were "parodies," and thus the word entered the popular lexicon as a word for anything funny derived from something else that's intended to be serious. The man did for parody what Alanis Morrissette did for irony -- made it all but impossible to use the word in a meaningful sense. Grr.
posted by kindall at 9:30 AM on May 12, 2001


This is a community, and people ought to be held accountable for their actions (if at all possible). In that spirit I'd like to invite those who spammed, or signed the poster up to mailing lists to come forward and explain their actions, why they thought it was appropriate, and what their motivation was.

My personal feeling (if it hasn't already been betrayed by the first part of my post) is that only the most egregious cases of design theft (and by egregious I mean in intent and consequence, not in facsimile) deserve the spam treatment. But I do genuinely want to know what people feel this kind of attack can accomplish that couldn't be better said in this forum.
posted by FPN at 10:09 AM on May 12, 2001


Boy that sure stopped the chatter FPN.
posted by me myself and i at 2:12 PM on May 12, 2001


kindall, there's a thing here about personal sites. If the personal site were, say, a printed/xeroxed pamphlet that were distributed amongst family, most people who got it would say, "heh" and think nothing more of it. But the nature of the web puts a personal project like this before the entire world. All of a sudden that personal project is held to the same copyright and trademark standards as professional work, and to me, there's something a little draconian about that.

Similarly, if you go to art school, you will spend a good amount of your time learning from the masters by imitating their styles. Indeed, the slavish copying of a masterpiece was once considered an excellent way to learn technique. But those imitations are seen by only a few. On the web, doing the same thing puts you up for ridicule or worse.

I just think there's an error of proportion here.
posted by dhartung at 3:07 PM on May 12, 2001


"Originality is the art of hiding one's sources"
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 7:40 PM on May 12, 2001


"Good artists steal; great artists steal a lot."
posted by stevis at 2:10 PM on May 13, 2001


"Plagiarize, Plagiarize, Plagiarize! -- only be careful to call it 'research.' "
--- Tom Lehrer
posted by darren at 8:09 AM on May 14, 2001


One cannot define parody or satire on whether or not it personally makes anyone laugh. I'm in the minority, but I believe if the website's making a profit, by all means throw the copyright book at them. Throw an entire library of books at them. I agree they should share their profits with the originators of the design. However if it's a personal site and it's meant in fun and there's no money changing hands, enjoy it for what it is and don't get vigilante on their ass. Here's some more thoughts on the topic, just in case you haven't had enough.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:49 PM on May 15, 2001


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