Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

How can we stop the thieves?

Posted on 08 February 2008 89 comments

Article illustration for How can we stop the thieves?

UPDATE: Not even an hour after posting this, the design of hollisterbay.com has reverted to the default Wordpress theme and the designer sent me an apologetic email, which I appreciate. However, I’m going to keep this post up as I still think it’s an important question to address.

In the past I’ve been know to have a moan or two about having my designs ripped off, but since venting my frustration on those occasions, I’ve remained relatively quiet about it, even though it’s happened several times since. Well, no more. In light in some of the most audacious rips to far, I want to ask you this: How can we stop the thieves?

Umar Salman

There is a freelance designer who goes by the name of Umar Salman and a quick glance at his site suggests that he’s a fairly competent designer; he certainly has a talent for cutting out photographs and turning them into semi-transparent PNGs. However, to anyone who is aware of my site, you will also know that hollisterbay.com is a complete rip of elliotjaystocks.com. The fact that the background image has been stolen is the most obvious crime, but it’s clear that the majority of the CSS has been ripped as well – just have a look at this side-by-side comparison. But it was really the portfolio page with which I took issue, because it’s just exactly the same. How about another side-by-side comparison to demonstrate?

If you have a look around Umar’s portfolio, you’ll find dormsoflondon.com, a shameless rip of not one but two of my other designs. As far as I can tell, the process went something like this: take carsonified.com and futureofwebapps.com/roadtrip, splice them together, add some semi-naked girls, and… ta-da! It makes you wonder if the models on there ever gave their permission to have their photos used; somehow I doubt it. Furthermore, it makes you wonder just how much of Umar’s portfolio is really his. He’s obviously not a bad designer, so in copying other designers’ work, he’s also doing himself a disservice.

A warning

Anyway, I decided I’d had enough. I’ve learned to live with the fact that this stealing and copying goes on, but when someone else is offering their services as a freelance designer and advertising themselves with my work… that’s crossing the line.

It’s worth noting that I’ve received some slack in the past for publically disgracing the rip-offs without giving them warning, so I decided to email Umar before posting this blog entry and asked him to remove my imagery and styling from the offending websites. In fact, I told him I had this post in my drafts and that I wouldn’t publish it if he agreed to take the sites down within two days. I said that if that didn’t allow him enough time to make the changes, he should take the sites down until he could change them.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, he wasn’t too happy with my request.

You’ve got to be kidding

Umar’s reply made me laugh out loud, because – quite unbelievably – he denied copying anything but the elliotjaystocks.com background image! He even claimed he doesn’t code and so couldn’t take responsibility for the CSS, to which I replied: “”http://www.hollisterbay.com/wp-content/themes/holliterbay/style.css">this says you do>." Yep, just to make that absolutely clear: he has credited himself in the author of a CSS file he supposedly had no hand in making.

It gets better

In an attempt to defend dormsoflondon.com, he said that he “just needed something up there ASAP.” Well, gee, Umar – you should’ve just said! Hey, you should take up robbing banks too. If you get caught, don’t worry – just tell them that you needed some money quickly! :p It was also in this paragraph that he made the rather laughable claim that “I don’t think it over copies anything of yours.”

Finally, in the poorest attempt of a comeback I’ve witnessed so far, he tried an insult: “I don’t have time to do CSS… coding and numbers bore me.”


Is there more?

There was a second Carsonified rip this week, but I’m not going to mention the designer, as they were good enough to remove the stolen imagery after I emailed them. That said, they still claimed the imagery had been found on a stock photography site, and when I pointed out that I’d created the imagery from my own photos and asked if they could direct me to this site, they – of course – never got back to me.

Why is lying inherent in these designers? Presumably because the kind of person that steals imagery is the kind of person that lies, and feels it can all be justified by a lie. But it’s not right, is it? Why on earth should we have all of our time, effort, and – potentially – income stolen by these people in a matter of seconds?

So let’s do something about it!

I’m not going to get in a flutter every time someone steals my imagery or code. As I said above, I realise that it happens, and most of those times it’s just by amateurs, where no money or reputation is at stake. But I’m not going to sit down and take it while other designers get clients and money by using my work.

So what can we do? Watermark our images? Make our copyright notices more obvious or threatening? Perhaps we should operate a strict policy of contacting the thieves’ web hosts to report copyright infringement and let them deal with the appropriate action (usually a denial of service)? But maybe that’s too harsh and each situation varies from the next… I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know, which is why I’m asking you.

How do you think we should deal with the situation when this happens? And – more importantly – how do we prevent it? It’s not as much of a worry for a Flash-based designer, or a developer whose code is hidden inside PHP files that are never rendered in the source code, but for us XHTML / CSS types, what kind of protection do we have?


  1. Dan


    08 February 2008 @ 09:25PM #

    Hey Elliot,

    How are you finding these – luck, tip offs, or is there a site that compares code / css?


  2. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    08 February 2008 @ 09:28PM #

    @ Dan: Just tip-offs, I’m afraid. It’s not much of a system but it’s the only one I have! Congratulations on yodiv.com, by the way – I spent absolutely ages on the site yesterday, admiring your work. Lovely illustrations, too.

  3. Chris Harrison

    Chris Harrison

    08 February 2008 @ 09:35PM #

    I’m not sure there is anything that can be done to stop people from stealing designs. Sure, we can assert copyright, watermark images, etc… but at the end of the day, most of the people that steal stuff are going to do it anyway.

    In this case, I can see how it’s particularly frustrating for you because the same person keeps ripping your work over and over again. Might I suggest contacting the people he did the work for and letting THEM know he stole the design from you. You might not be able to get him from stopping what he’s doing, but a business might react differently. Most of the time clients don’t have any idea that their site design’s been ripped from somewhere else, especially when they’re probably paying someone next to nothing to do the work for them.

  4. Anonymous


    08 February 2008 @ 09:41PM #

    I’d contact the host about those who refuse to take down work, and hope that they suspended the site.

  5. Joe


    08 February 2008 @ 09:42PM #

    Its a toughy, code is too easy to nick. I’m not that skilled in the art of CSS myself and struggling to battle on with it, but I’m getting there, I’ve started my own blog site, taken one of the word press themes and I’m in the process of slowly altering it to fit the design I have created in PS. http://www.brandjoe.com/blogsite

    Problem is what your talking about basically falls in line with people distributing pirate music, film etc, the distributors earn money through advertising, just as these guys are are making money using your CSS and calling themselves web designers, kinda like illegal music distributors calling them selves record companies haha, what a load of sh*te that is.

    Anyway I think you may as well live and let live a bit these people normally get busted in the long run, and if you put up posts and info like this the long run will probably be shorter. I know if someone built a site for me that was a rip off i’d be asking for my money back!!!

    Watermarking your images hmmm not a bad idea as long as it does not detract from your design.

    I really don’t think there is an answer to this…….. but good luck in your battles.

    Will be seeing your at the FOWD in March – looking forward to it.


  6. Sam Brown

    Sam Brown

    08 February 2008 @ 09:47PM #

    Q: How can we stop the thieves?

    A: Don’t make your designs so pretty Elliot! =)

    I agree with where you are coming from, a designer ripping your work for his own gains is far from the “I was just learning from your code” excuses that we used to get. Not sure I’ve got a definitive answer for you other than to try not to piss them off which in my past experience has made a bad situation much worse. Bastard thiefs.

  7. Roy Scheeren

    Roy Scheeren

    08 February 2008 @ 09:48PM #

    Why don’t you see it as a compliment that others like your work. ;)

    No I’m just kidding, I totally understand your frustration and I got to say I was a little surprised by the fact that you didn’t go off on him more when you first posted the pirated site a couple of days ago.

    I went to check the site and was surprised by how blatantly everything was copied and was wondering the same as you were about him looking to be a decent designer so why having to steal your design?

    I’m working on my portfolio right now and having serious trouble on getting a creative design that pleases me. It is costing me time and effort but in the end I hope to come up with something that is worth the work and can be proudly put out there.

    When I looked at that site I couldn’t feel anything but utter disbelief of how he dared to call himself a designer with a duplicated portfolio site.

    This brings me to your question on what to do about it. Well quite frankly, with a reply like his, I’d say he deserves his denial of service.

    However it is a good question. His future clients will have no idea that they are hiring a copycat. And without any way to hide css or images there is really nothing you can do to protect your work.

    However with certain software it is possible to extract actionscript and images from flash files, so really the only ones that are protected are the webdevelopers.

    Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll ever be rescued of unethical designers and I guess the only thing we can do is make them look like a fool within the design community . It would suck to have to start being really protective of your work. The openness and respect is what makes being a webdesigner fun.

    The other option would be to make less appealing websites. ;)

    Totally off topic, have you tried the Tripel Karmeliet yet? It’s a small but brilliant beer.

  8. Donnie


    08 February 2008 @ 09:49PM #

    Things like this have been done for ages and will continue. The best course of action is to notify the infringer upon discovery, and move on. Seriously, your energy is better spent coming up with more creative material that people will steal. The software giants haven’t figured out how to stop this problem, and neither will you. It’s an unfortunate part of this business, you have to deal with it when you can, but you cannot expense too much energy dealing with these types of people.

  9. porcupine


    08 February 2008 @ 09:52PM #

    As Zeldman said:

    Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop.
  10. Umar Salman

    Umar Salman

    08 February 2008 @ 09:59PM #

    Hey Elly, thanks so much man for this free publicity – 3 guys really liked some of the sites I’ve done and I’ve just sealed 3 deals…Keep this article as high as you can in your blog man! Rock on ;)

  11. Matt Munsey

    Matt Munsey

    08 February 2008 @ 10:10PM #


    Place a watermark over every image on your site. ;)

    Obviously not a solution, but funny to think about none the less.
    It is a tough situation. On the one hand it is nice to have your code available for people to look at and learn from. I know this as how I learned CSS for the most part. But then you want to keep people from just blatantly stealing it. I don’t know of anyway to keep people from accessing your code. I know there are ways to keep people from stealing imagery via copy/paste, but I am not sure how this is done exactly.

    I think you might be stuck with just calling people on it. A designer who steals is not a designer at all, and he is living a lie.

    You could always go Flash with everything.

  12. Jason Armstrong

    Jason Armstrong

    08 February 2008 @ 10:13PM #

    Well, looks it worked. His site’s now been changed to a more mundane design. Good on you Elliot.

  13. Andrew Grieve

    Andrew Grieve

    08 February 2008 @ 10:21PM #

    Yeah, Rock on Umar, congrats, well done.

    Elliot, can you not patent or copyright your designs?

    Then at least you’ve got a legal leg to beat copiers with.

  14. Allan Cole

    Allan Cole

    08 February 2008 @ 10:35PM #

    WOW. I can’t believe that people can really be that bold about stealing work and then when they’re caught, they lie about it. I have no sympathy for these dudes. There has to be some way to lock out the CSS code from them.

    Maybe another solution can be found in developing some type of forum or knowledge base for informing clients of fraudulent work/designers and giving credit where credit is due. Kind of like how ASCAP works for producers and writers in certain aspects of the music industry. I have no idea how something like that would be implemented, but it seems like a start. I just know that when this type of thing happens in most other industries law suits are involved.

  15. Ramon Leon

    Ramon Leon

    08 February 2008 @ 10:48PM #

    You can’t stop people from taking your designs, so don’t waste your time or energy trying. The net is inherently open, and as long as browsers have a view source option, or you want people to actually see your work, your designs will be stolen. It’s the nature of the medium, you can’t fight it. When you put something on the Internet, like it or not, you are essentially open sourcing it.

    It’s bothering you because you think of your designs as products that someone is stealing, but this is wrong, your product is you, and your ability to create new designs. No one can steal that. Designing is inherently a service industry, not a product industry.

  16. Paul Annett

    Paul Annett

    08 February 2008 @ 10:49PM #

    In reply to Dan: I’ve generally found ripoffs by Googling for snippets of text from our site (they usually copy that as well as the design), but we don’t follow it up as we’re not that bothered by them(we’ve got a new site just around the corner). We’ve had a fair few rip-offs of the (now nearly three year-old) Clearleft site, including one by the Taylor Police & Fire Dept (who have changed the colour of their ripoff since the Flickr screenshot was taken).

    Elliot: I don’t know that there are any preventative methods we can use. As long as the files of a website are downloaded to a user’s computer, there’s the possibility of it being copied. I do agree that its not nice for someone else to be profiting from your work, yet somehow a backlash after the event at least brings us all together and gives us something to collectively to moan about and fight against!

  17. Nate Klaiber

    Nate Klaiber

    08 February 2008 @ 11:05PM #

    One word for Umar: Pathetic.

    It’s obvious he has no self respect, morals, talents, or abilities – besides ripping people off (which isn’t categorized as an ability, just a shady character with no conscience or brains).

    Your work will stand out, as it already has. It sucks to have it ripped, but this kid doesn’t seem worth the time. You could just call his house and as his mother to remove him from the basement.

  18. Chris Harrison

    Chris Harrison

    08 February 2008 @ 11:22PM #

    BTW… it looks like the Hollister Bay site is using the default WP theme now.

  19. Seth


    08 February 2008 @ 11:27PM #

    I have only been ripped off once and to be honest it was almost a badge of honor to me. I felt like someone liked what I did enough to want to use it…the client I made the graphics for called and asked them to remove it and handled all of that part, but it was actually kind of cool to hear someone was using my design without my knowledge.

    I was going to come in and say, “Half the people that complain about this are same people who fight for file sharing rights and don’t understand how that’s not a crime”, but after reading your A Warning section where you said, “but when someone else is offering their services as a freelance designer and advertising themselves with my work… that’s crossing the line.” I changed my ideas on posting all together.

    It brings up an interesting issue, would you care if there weren’t selling anything? Would you care that they used your design if it was a Non-profit with no advertising? If I had people seatling my ideas all day I’m sure my views would change, but I wanted your opinion on that?

  20. Jason


    08 February 2008 @ 11:45PM #

    While somehow I imagine that Umar is lying about these three new clients he’s received, since he’s shown himself to be a liar and a thief, what about Google Bombing him and his ilk? (Does Google bombing still work?) Perhaps a community of respectable designers (and or people generally) could agree to Google bomb the Umars of the Web design world? If the prospective clients of an Umar then search on the “designer’s” name, ideally his status as an Umar would be clear, and what respectable business would hire a known design thief? Of course, this isn’t preventative for the one who’s work is stolen, but it may prevent further thefts by the same designer, and also reduce the work he or she gets.

  21. Ruth L Brown

    Ruth L Brown

    08 February 2008 @ 11:47PM #

    Unfortunately, rip-off artists get away with most of their antics and given the inconvenience of pursuit/recourse, such behavior continues. Code is free for everyone to use, but if a substantial portion comes directly from someone else’s design, it is considered a violation of coding ethics, which means nothing essentially to the unethical party. A host, however, might take down the pages. The graphics/imagery is copyrighted, but prosecution is a bitch in time and $$.

    A legit business that paid for those pages would most likely appreciate knowing the code was stolen. I would email or send snail mail asking that the pages be taken down or they can pay you for the use of your graphics if they wish to keep them. If they don’t respond, send a certified/return receipt bill.

    In the US, we have the Better Business Bureau to file complaints and some people do check before doing business with a company. It won’t do enough to stop thieves, but it will make you feel better and help some.

    You can always list out the offenders and the businesses in a special area of your site and maybe when they get googled, their deception of skills will be known that way and they’ll lose a little business.

  22. Ritchie


    08 February 2008 @ 11:50PM #

    TSK TSK TSK.. Bad Cheetah.. hehe :D

    He should have said in his about us page that he is a big fan of elliot or ask permission on ripping the layout and give a credit to elliot jay stock website.

    But ripping a layout is bad. No originality and no fun at all.

    Hard coding in CSS is fun. I always love coding CSS cuz it exercise my fingers. hahaha :D and I look like a programmer :P.. I even have a big project that even part of a page need to use table (ROW and COLUMN) and what I’m using are CSS+DIV.

  23. spencer


    09 February 2008 @ 12:18AM #

    I’m impressed they were able to get Spencer Scott, miss October 2007, to model for their blog!

  24. Hamish M

    Hamish M

    09 February 2008 @ 01:00AM #

    @Paul Annett: Wow, those are some pretty lame rip-offs of Clearleft. The snippet googling is a good idea. Something every designer should try out.

    What really amazes me about these inspired designs, is the fact that the designer actually goes through with it. That they don’t seem to see it as wrong when they’re blatantly stealing other’s work. It’s not a misunderstanding, it’s an outright disregard for another’s property. And It sickens me.

    I wish I had a solution. But just as you can’t stop people stealing from grocery stores, you can’t stop people ripping designs. What you can do is make it harder. Subtle watermarks are an option, counting on the designers obvious laziness, and hoping that either you or someone else recognizes the stolen design.

    Really though, options for prevention are sparse, but I think once you have caught someone, you can perhaps impress upon them to not do it again. Publish their information, as you did here. And hope that the public’s reaction is enough to deter them from future attempts.

    There are also some sites that showcase attempts such as this. http://pirated-sites.com/vanilla/ is one.

    (btw, on an interesting note; elliotjaystocks.com (an earlier article) comes in 3rd on a google search for ‘pirated designs’)

  25. jude


    09 February 2008 @ 01:41AM #

    Come on Dude…
    U love to be ripped off…
    advertisement, popolarity, success, jobs….
    u cool elly, but please:

  26. Sam Hardacre

    Sam Hardacre

    09 February 2008 @ 02:31AM #

    Hey Elliot,

    I have no respect for these kinds of people. It shows a lack of originality, creativity and courtesy for the designer responsible for the original work. I think you handled it the best way possible without becoming an arse-hole. Like you said, there’s no way of stopping it from happening so it’s just a case of dealing with it as it comes.

    Like I recommended to Malarkey some time ago when this happened to him, maybe a warning of bludgeoning with a stake will come to design thieves will keep them scared lol


    PS – Great piece in this month’s .net : )

  27. John Allsopp

    John Allsopp

    09 February 2008 @ 02:38AM #

    Hi Elliot,

    I both understand your pain, been there, and in time, have simply decided to let it go. For years, our site designs have turned up in all kinds of odd places (the most um, interesting was a kind of user generated porn portal).

    Similarly, much of our written content has turned up all over the web – we must have issued dozens of take downs over the years for these. I even had someone try to pass of my work as a book at a major publisher – they got essentially to the presses before the “author” tried to cover their asses by getting my permission.

    The one that grated most was a HUGE ad agency reproducing the look and feel of a site design we pitched back in the mid 90’s. That hurt.

    Some time a while ago we just gave up worrying too much. At first the combination of outrage, and I have to admit perhaps a little bit of excitement (hey, someone reckons my work is worth ripping off – it must be good!) drives us to try and do something about it. But in time, I’ve seen many designers come to realize that it is going to happen, and simply move past it.

    So, no to say your response is in any way wrong, but that in time, I suspect, you’ll get to that place too ;-)


  28. Josh Stodola

    Josh Stodola

    09 February 2008 @ 07:55AM #

    I knew this post would come eventually. Now, I shall share my thoughts in as brief a manner possible.

    First of all, Umar Shalman is obviously an amateur. Amateurs who get this kind of initial credibility (especially from an exceptional and respected designer such as yourself) will not be going far. I think it’s safe to say that this post, in itself, has ruined the reputation of Umar. I’ll bet 75% of people who follow modern web design read your blog. That’s why it only took him an hour to realize how bad the situation was. So, that should ease a lot of your frustration. The guy probably made no money off your designs, and yet with this move you might have forced him to find another career path.

    Second of all, Umar Shalman is obviously a fucking idiot. That DormsOfLondon site is a complete ripoff. So, don’t feel bad about what you have done to his reputation because he deserves every bit of it. Then the clown gets the nerve to come here and thank you for the traffic. What a cocksucker. He has no talent, no guts, and no intuition. He won’t be shrinking any of your paychecks.

    Lastly, prevention. This is like preventing global warming. However, there are a couple of things you can do…

    1) Stylesheet Obfuscation. On my blog, I have implemented an HTTP handler to intercept every request for a .CSS file. It reads the CSS file from disk, strips out all whitespace and line breaks, and stores the result in the server cache. Go ahead and download a CSS file from my blog and see for yourself. It will take you a while to pick through it and figure it out with it all scrunched like that. As an additional bonus, it cuts down in the overall size of the file ;)

    2) Take Advantage of your Reputation. You’ve mastered this technique already. Confront the guy. Give him a chance. If he’s an unforgiving dickhead, punish him.

    3) Branding. From what I can tell, you are a clever individual. With that said, couldn’t you find a way to squeeze your identity into any given design. Be it the imagery, naming conventions of elements/class names, whatever. I’m sure that imagination of yours could figure out some sort of unmistakeable, yet subtle personal branding system.

    In closing, I would like to point to some very wise words from a wise man. I hope you feel an odd sense of accomplishment when discovering a rip-off. You should.

    Umar Shalman = Über Shallow

    Have a good evening!

  29. Micah Spieler

    Micah Spieler

    09 February 2008 @ 09:40AM #

    Hey EJ. All I can really say is, yeah that sucks. But it really is an honor in a way, also. I’m a student of Graphic Design, and will be fore a few more years. I have, however, designed a few websites for clients, as well as NUMEROUS for myself. At a young age w/ an iMac I got interested in web design and started to teach myself HTML. After just getting confused and frusterated with the “HTML/Coding for Dumbies” books that required you to already understand certain things and be family with the process, or else that just taught you how to build crap websites, I started to look at sites that I admired source-codes.

    I copied and pasted and uploaded and tweaked and all of that. That’s what this guy did. And yeah, you know he probably has no real clue how to write CSS, but knows how to recognize certain strings to alter to get what results he is looking for.

    While I feel as though I am a different case, and granted I never ever sold what I did (however I did use some of the stolen-re-designs as personal pages for the nonsense that I put up), I don’t think you can say he is stealing money from you. My guess is that he offers his services for cheap, because he’s not doing much. And that his clients, would never contact you (nor would you want them to – do you really want to design websites for dorm-social-networking sites?) because A) they can tell you have talent and are a real designer, B) they need someone cheaper/shaddy-er.

    My two cents. In the next few years, as I’m learning CSS (something I never kept up), you better expect that I’ll look at your source code. Probably copy it to. And learn from what you have done. I hope you don’t take offense to that though and see it as the flattery that it is, and know that I will never ever sell your designs outright with a few minor changes. You won’t get any tips because no one will ever know!!! ;) ;) ;)

  30. Steven Clark

    Steven Clark

    09 February 2008 @ 11:18AM #

    OK here’s my tale… a couple of years ago just as I was launching a site I checked the stats and noticed a link to somewhere… hey it was a rip of my client’s site (or the contact page in particular that linked to me) and in the footer it had someone elses copyright and a different name on the site… otherwise was the same elegant but simple site I’d just made… saved them a lot of playing with CSS.

    I emailed the guy in California. Was a big web firm there who say they are web standards developers yada yada.

    He replied he only “borrowed it for the pallette” and put it behind a login / password. What could I do about that one?

    I think the thing that pissed me off most was the fact this was a well respected company and the designer was well known in certain mailing list cirles at the time. (Sorry for the long post…)

  31. Matt Packer

    Matt Packer

    09 February 2008 @ 12:37PM #

    Much respect to you Elliot. You are the one putting the time and effort in and these guys are just straight up stealing!

    If I ever come across any sites that are rips of this I would not hesitate to let you know.

    Hope this all stops and people can respect your work and not try and pass it off as their own.

  32. Sam Hardacre

    Sam Hardacre

    09 February 2008 @ 12:50PM #

    @Micah – I don’t really agree with a couple of things. I think copying source code to aid the learning process is entirely different to lifting code for professional use. I don’t know anyone who who hasn’t at some point looked at someone else’s code to figure out how an effect was achieved. I personally think that’s okay because it lends itself to the openness of learning that is encouraged in the industry.

    The difference here is that the guy didn’t lift EJS’s code to learn how the layout was constructed, he took it to forward his own career. When he lived the site, he would have wanted prospective clients to see it and think ‘wow, this guys knows what he’s doing’ when, to me, it’s a case of ‘this knows of people who know what they are doing’.

    Looking at the design of the masthead, it seems to me that this guy is no novice with CSS, so he must have enough knowledge to create his own layouts.

    I agree there is an element of admiration but there are better ways to show it, a cool little characature of EJS instead maybe?

  33. prisca


    09 February 2008 @ 08:19PM #

    Elliot :)

    amazing to see the cheek and general ignorance of some people out there – wouldn’t even use the world ‘designer’ for them ….

    I have been ripped off before and the end product of the thief never really looked as good the original (looking at Umar’s ripoffs of yours and the clearleft examples show the same poor result…)

    unfortunately there does not seem to be an easy answer – or any good solution for this…. a digital ‘tracking device’ (only being a front end coder I wouldn’t have a clue of whether this is possible at all) attached to our work would be good :)

    PS: Sam is right – great article in ‘.net’ :-)

  34. Ramon Leon

    Ramon Leon

    09 February 2008 @ 11:00PM #

    @Josh Stodola, you’re wasting your time with obfuscation, it doesn’t work. If I want to see your style sheet or see how you did something, I just pop open Firebug in Firefox and select the element on the page I’m interested in, Firebug then shows me a nice pretty formatted view of your styles.

    I’ll say this again, you CAN NOT hide your HTML, CSS, or JavaScript from anyone, it’s not possible, stop wasting time and effort trying. The design is not the product, the designer is, stop sweating people taking your stuff, it’s always going to happen.

  35. Josh Stodola

    Josh Stodola

    09 February 2008 @ 11:08PM #

    @Ramon yes I know that, so chill out. They can also write a program to parse it out and format it correctly. Would’nt be too difficult. Of course I realize that there is no way to completely stop them, but this helps a little, and it makes the file size smaller. So it is worth my time and effort.

    And who in the hell are you to judge my actions as a waste of time?

    I agree with your original comment, the net is open-source, and I am happy it is that way. I have learned SO much from peering into other peoples code. But, I have never ripped off a design.

    Follow my link to Zeldman’s site. Elliot should probably worry more about the day people stop ripping his designs off.

    Best regards…

  36. Sean Delaney

    Sean Delaney

    10 February 2008 @ 12:12AM #

    I have not much more to say but a useful resource is Copyscape: http://www.copyscape.com.

    It is hard to say what will stop web design thieves and I think the most effective method is displayed on this blog post – bad mouth them. It is not nice but it spreads the word and it hurts!

    A silly idea just came into my head tho – encrypt your code but then web designers who actually want to learn from looking at your source that do not steal lose out…

    It is a “no win” situation i’m afraid!

    I am also disappointed and I think that Umar Salman has a hard neck to say what he said above…

  37. Liz


    10 February 2008 @ 12:25AM #

    Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

    BUT imitation does not mean STEALING!!

    I believe you can get inspiration from others’ designs.. BUT, you need to do your own Photoshop work, etc…

  38. Ramon Leon

    Ramon Leon

    10 February 2008 @ 05:37AM #

    “Of course I realize that there is no way to completely stop them, but this helps a little, and it makes the file size smaller. So it is worth my time and effort.”

    Actually, it’s not, every decent web server already gzips the content to any browser that supports it, so you’re not doing anything at all useful. It might make you feel better, but it doesn’t make the file smaller or stop anyone from viewing cleanly formatted CSS.

    “And who in the hell are you to judge my actions as a waste of time?”

    Just your friendly neighborhood developer trying to point out the pointlessness of futile actions. I’ve seen too many people who didn’t understand the technology go to absurd lengths trying to do things that simply aren’t possible.

    I assume most people are intelligent and don’t enjoy wasting their time on purpose and simply don’t realize they are.

    @Sean, case in point, you can’t encrypt the code, if you did, the web browser wouldn’t be able to read it anymore either and the code would no longer work.

  39. Jack Keller

    Jack Keller

    10 February 2008 @ 08:59PM #

    Design theft has been an issue for a long time, unfortunately there are not a lot of methods to overcome it. You can make it more difficult of course. Using your z-index in CSS to create a bogus blank background layer would help (ie. mybackground.png), and if you wanted to take it one step further you could use the Enkoder from Hivelogic, or something like ionCube to make your Stylesheet unreadable by humans. The only drawback I could see with this is if you were on a slower server you may see a slightly longer load time.

    But those steps won’t protect images from Safari’s built in web inspector or Firefox with the Web Developer Toolbar so there’s still the chance that some punk will lift your hard work.


  40. umm


    11 February 2008 @ 08:42AM #

    your background is so awesome, i’m using it for my blog. d00d!

  41. Nick Brown

    Nick Brown

    11 February 2008 @ 08:47AM #

    Interesting question, and one without an easy answer for sure. However, a lot of the replies I see are all based around physical blocks we can put in place of designers or any would-be design thieves. I was always taught to go to the source of the problem, and to me, the source of this problem isn’t simply unscrupulous web developers, it’s the people keeping them in business.

    As Umar himself put it in an act of incredible stupidity, coming back to the site you stole half your work from to gloat about…continuing to steal it while pretending to comply by taking down your jacked home-site. He has already had people coming to him from the publicity generated by this blog. When I read that I thought to myself, “what kind of idiot client goes from the site where graphics, themes, and CSS were taken from, to sites that used the stolen products, and then chooses to hire the person who stole it to begin with?” Well, simple, unscrupulous businesses and individuals without the know-how to do the stealing themselves.

    The bottom line is these people love Elliot’s work, but know that he’s a world-class designer and probably way out of their league, so they get Joe Schmomar to do a cut/paste job because he costs less and doesn’t have pesky ethics getting in the way of his designs.

    Solution: Educate those who don’t know about the web and its practices: stealing these things are A) wrong and B) have real reprocussions. Scare them out of searching out shady developers if you have to, but just get the point across that finding a back door to a good looking website creates problems, not solves them. A lot of these people don’t understand much but money, a few DoS’s and some lost profits might get it through their head, and when that happens, they will be the ones to bring action against the designers that caused this problem.

    Stop the money from getting into the hands of the designers, force them to come up with their own material or get new day jobs.

  42. igi


    11 February 2008 @ 02:06PM #

    Meybe to build some gallery of Original/Stolen designes and learn our clients to go there end check their web sites. Exmp. something like http://bestwebgallery.com/ but as i say Original on 1. place and after it all plagiary down below. ?!? I am not sure will it work but it’s better something then nothing. (I know that there are some sites for that purposes, but point is on ONE BIG central web site and constant education of clients). TIP! Contact plagiarist clients and give them a notice that their web (or other designs work’s) is fake and they PAID for it… soon that plagiarist freelancer would be out of the business, I hope! ;)

  43. Pedros


    11 February 2008 @ 02:14PM #

    Wow looks like you got a stalker there!!! Unfortunately I don’t think there’s anything designers can do about preventing straight up copies short of taking them all to court which obviously isn’t practical. Watermarks will be photoshopped out and names in code will be changed.

    Maybe we should look at how we view rip offs, take the mona lisa for example how many replicas (rip off’s) are there out there. Maybe we should be flattered by the fact someone is impressed enough with our designs to rip them off. Although I can’t see an original web design fetching as much as the original mona lisa.

    That said I think I’d be pretty miffed if someone was gaining paid work off the back of my own designs, and would most likely if it was ripped to that level and they were making cash out of it see a solicitor or pay them a visit ;-)

  44. Scott Williams

    Scott Williams

    11 February 2008 @ 03:00PM #

    This guy seems to be talking a hell of a lot of inspiration from you http://www.daleanthony.com/ He ever just got on to www.webcreme.com

  45. Sam Hardacre

    Sam Hardacre

    11 February 2008 @ 03:52PM #

    @Scott – I think that’s a perfect example of inspiration. Some bits are very similar but I think the design sits nicely on it’s own : ) maybe the tosser who kicked off this debate (not EJS, the other guy aka thief) should take a leaf out of dale’s book : )

  46. mcd


    11 February 2008 @ 05:31PM #

    Hi there, I just came across your site, from a link on webdesignerwall.
    I want to comment on your naming and shaming of design rip offs of your site. You are an excellent and talented designer, that is obvious.
    Do you need to display this kind of naming and shaming thing so prominent on your website? to actually name and shame is really bad taste in my opinion.

  47. AntonyG


    12 February 2008 @ 04:24PM #

    @Sam – the site Scott mentions is more than inspiration. It uses exactly the same background image that carsonified.com does.

  48. Sam Hardacre

    Sam Hardacre

    12 February 2008 @ 04:39PM #

    @AnthonyG – I hadn’t realised : S this guy is in the same ball park then isn’t he? tut tut…

  49. Stevie K

    Stevie K

    12 February 2008 @ 08:25PM #

    Dale seems to have change his background as well now, not quite as detailed but it looks alright and one of his comments explains his reasons which are all fair and honest imo. Think his is just a case of taking a bit too much inspiration but where do you draw the line?

  50. kaske


    12 February 2008 @ 09:08PM #

    You’re absolutely right.
    But You’re never going to win the war. It’s simply the nature of web. Eveyone risks by being involved in it. Adobe risks, Microsoft Risks, so you risk too.
    Perhaps somebody earned a few thousands on your work, but millions earned much much more on Adobe and Microsoft.
    Don’t be worried while people are stealing from you. Be worried when they stop.

  51. kaske


    12 February 2008 @ 09:08PM #

    You’re absolutely right.
    But You’re never going to win the war. It’s simply the nature of web. Eveyone risks by being involved in it. Adobe risks, Microsoft Risks, so you risk too.
    Perhaps somebody earned a few thousands on your work, but millions earned much much more on Adobe and Microsoft.
    Don’t be worried while people are stealing from you. Be worried when they stop…

  52. Lisa


    13 February 2008 @ 10:10PM #

    As Nick mentioned, education is key.

    In these days of sampling and appropriating the work of others in music and the fine arts, it becomes more and more difficult to know what is allusion, reference, and paying homage to and what is copying and stealing. And in the studio arts there is a long tradition of copying the masters in order to learn from them.

    I’m not trying to defend the thieves. I’m just saying, in some cases, people may be confused about what’s right and wrong.

    There’s a very interesting case of a painter, Joy Garnett, who “appropriated” (copied) a famous photograph by Susan Meiselas that’s known as “Molotov Man.” Meiselas’s image has now been copied so many times by so many people that there’s no way she could ever get complete control of it again.

    I’m a novice designer and am inspired by a number of people including Elliot. In fact, for the site I’m currently working on – my photo portfolio site – I’ve created a background with a sort of distressed look (trying not to say grunge) which was totally influenced by Elliot. http://flickr.com/photos/beiji/2240627748/
    Could this background be considered a rip-off of his? Where does one draw the line?

    Elliot, you should write an article about the ethics of web design with a list of do’s and don’t’s. It’s a very interesting topic (look at all the comments!) and not enough has been written about it.

  53. Jermayn Parker

    Jermayn Parker

    14 February 2008 @ 08:12AM #

    Hey good to see creeps like that get caught!
    Maybe if he spent less time googling at the girls and more time coding and designing he could actually design something of his own!

    btw next time, could you please put a warning up? I opened the site up at work and got a HUGE shock! I kinder need my job. Thanks

  54. rx


    14 February 2008 @ 01:53PM #


    Is the background yours?

  55. Erwin Quita

    Erwin Quita

    14 February 2008 @ 06:09PM #

    And another one to add to your list

  56. Lisa


    14 February 2008 @ 08:22PM #

    @rx: If your question was directed at me, then, yes, I did create the background you see in the Flickr image.

    I noticed that the background on your site looks just like Carsonified’s.

  57. Lisa


    14 February 2008 @ 08:23PM #

    @rx: oops. I see what you’re asking now. Sorry.

  58. Thomas Finley

    Thomas Finley

    14 February 2008 @ 11:27PM #

    @mcd: Really? You can’t be serious.

    Let’s suppose you’re a sculptor. That’s the only way you make money. And someone sneaks into your gallery, makes a plaster mold of your signature piece, and then sells replicas on eBay? You get no credit, you don’t get a DIME. Wouldn’t you be pissed? I sure as hell would be, and you’d be a fool not to name names.

    EJS and any other web designer out there worth a damn isn’t responsible for teaching these kids ethics — their parents and instructors are, just as mine did for me. If find it aggravating that some of you should suggest that the onus is on him in some way to broadcast this to the masses.

    And when Elliot opts to out a design thief, save your criticism and trolls for some obscure ’net forum, or your own blog. This is his house…

  59. Simone


    15 February 2008 @ 09:03AM #

    Lets just say arrogant copies, without giving credit where credit is due annoys me no end. But I am not interested in repeating what everyone else has already said. I thought I might just mention a small quote, that helps me out when i just can’t come up with anything new.

    “35. Imitate. Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique. “”http://www.brucemaudesign.com/manifesto.html" rel="nofollow"> Bruce Mau’s Manifesto is very good at helping creativity flow again.

    I think the ideal is when you imitate, in the process of imitating, something new evolves.

    Then theres the Umars that may never really know what its like to come up with something you can call yours.

  60. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    15 February 2008 @ 02:31PM #

    Wow… I think I’m going to have my work cut out, replying to all these comments! But thanks for your input, guys – there are some really interesting thoughts here. And thank you to everyone who said nice things. I like nice things.

    In the few days since posting, there have been even more rips, as if to demonstrate that this will always happen. And in a way, I kind of feel like just shaking my head, letting out a sigh, and allowing it to pass with nothing more than a screenshot on Flickr for reference… because it’s really not worth getting that bothered about. But then I think, “well, if he’s getting business on the strength of my work, maybe something should be done…”

    To be honest, the most inspiring thing to me was the Zeldman quote cited by Porcupine and Josh Stodola: “Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop.” It’s essentially a compliment – whether the thief intends it to be or not – and I freely admit that while copying does annoy me, it also boosts my confidence.

    So from now on, I’m going to take the following stance:

    If the offending site is not seeking business based on the quality of the stolen design and / or code (i.e: if it’s something like a personal blog kept by a family), I’m not going to do anything but take a screenshot for Flickr and ask the site to provide a credit link back to me.

    If the offending site is seeking business based on the quality of the stolen design and / or code (such as Umar’s site before he changed the design, then I’ll contact the designer and ask them to remove the stolen material (and provide a link to this post), having taken a screenshot first. If they don’t do anything, I’ll then decide whether to take it further (either by contacting their clients or their web host), or just leave it. It’ll depend on how much of the design is stolen and will no doubt vary from case to case.

    Ultimately, I’ve decided that there is no way to stop people stealing. As Donnie said, "The software giants haven’t figured out how to stop this problem, and neither will you. " I can only hope that posts like this will at least act as a deterrent of some kind.

    Right, now on to some replies…

    @ Roy Scheeren: Yes, the beer was lovely, thanks! I still have another bottle left, as well.

    @ Ramon Leon: “your product is you, and your ability to create new designs.” Thank you – that’s a really inspired thought.

    @ Paul Annett: You’re right, mate… we all love a good moan! And wow, those ClearLeft rips are unbelievable!

    @ Seth: Hopefully the above answers your question.

    @ Hamish M: Yeah, I’ve posted rips to the Pirated Sites Flickr account too.

    @ Matt Munsey & Micah Spieler: I agree. Viewing the source code is pretty much how we all learned and I’d never want to stop people from learning. I’ve been learning that way for years and will no doubt continue to do so for many more. The trouble is that when people steal large parts of your code, they’re not learning, because they don’t know how to implement the subtle changes required to make it different. Either that or they’re just plain lazy, of course!

    @ Allan Cole & Igi: Yep, this is a great idea. Check out that Pirated Sites link.

    @ John Allsop: Wise words. I think I’m now approaching that point.

    @ Sam Hardacre: Really well-put points (on all your comments).

    @ Scott Williams & Anthony G: Thanks for pointing out Dale’s site. I have to agree with Sam Hardacre, though: I think that’s more inspired than stolen. Plus the wooden background image isn’t ours; it was made by Henri Liriani (from whom we got permission to use it).

    @ Lisa: That sounds like it could be an interesting article. I’ll definitely consider writing something like that.

    @ Thomas Finley: Thanks – you pretty much answered ‘Mcd’ in exactly the way that I would’ve.

    @ Simone: I see what you’re saying, but I think this translates to ‘learning’ from code and design, not stealing it. I encourage imitation (I’m guilty of it… we all are!) but stealing is something different.

    Phew! :)

  61. Jack Franklin

    Jack Franklin

    15 February 2008 @ 03:32PM #


    I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be for you! The designs are a blatant rip-off, but I think you need to ignore it, and bring it to the attention of the public eye, like you have hear. Then, we lose all respect for the rip-off site.
    At least, I do.

    PS – Both your recent articles in .Net have been fantastic and I really enjoyed them :D

    Jack Franklin

  62. Liz


    15 February 2008 @ 03:42PM #

    Hey Elliot and everyone else,

    Here is a neat article on copyright, focused on the web. We covered it in my Media Business Law class today at the Art Institute! Hope you all enjoy! It has some good info.



  63. Ken (Beginner)

    Ken (Beginner)

    15 February 2008 @ 05:42PM #


    I just wanted to say I write code, Im just getting into the webdesign from VB SQL and MS products..

    I am shocked that there is nothing you can do, in the coding world, someone steals your apps, you literally take legal action – Especially if you are coding for a major industry player (like a bank).

    But I can see how easy it is for someone to simply, copy, or save page as…

    I only just found your website from the webdesignerwall talented people list (http://www.webdesignerwall.com/tag/talented-people/) . I really am taken by your talent and maybe one day someone may think the same of my stuff….maybe…pipedream.

    If someone like you stopped working or doing fantastic and cool sites the web would be boring..

    I hope Umar sits up and rethinks…

    Best regards


  64. Sam Machin

    Sam Machin

    16 February 2008 @ 03:10PM #

    Hi Elliot,

    My simple solution would be for anywhere that someone has stolen your work and then sold it on to their clients just send an invoice to the client requesting payment for YOUR WORK at your standard hourly rate!

    The likes of Umar are soon gonna get scared when his customers start asking questions/money back. As an additional bonus you might actually get some ££. I bet Umar doesn’t charge anywhere near what you would for the sites so suddenly their nice bargain web design has landed them with a professional size bill.

    There may even be a way to write off all the ones that don’t pay as bad debt and get some kind of tax break – I don’t know as I’m not a beancounter.

  65. Scott


    16 February 2008 @ 05:38PM #

    Dude! plagiarism isnt cool at all.. sorry to hear that your stuff is getting ripped…

    looking at, and subsequently learning from, a designer that you respect’s work is fair enough (hey, i’ve done my fair share of “cool! how they do that?!” in my time.. your site included) but to blatantly steal images, css etc just plain sucks!

    take it easy,

  66. milo


    16 February 2008 @ 08:08PM #

    Well, there is something you can do, at least in the EU, because the EU rights are supporting copyrights (if trademarked).

    Currently I have three cases at court, as some “design firms” were selling some of my free WP themes to customers as their work.

    Pity, as it’s not the first time, but in those cases all you need is a d**** good lawyer, some ideas and patience.

  67. Dave Hund

    Dave Hund

    17 February 2008 @ 05:35PM #

    Hi Elliot.

    I agree with most sentiments above. This kind of stuff sucks. There is very little you can do (I think).

    By total coincidence I stumbled upon another site that has ripped of your site!

    Check out: http://katz-productions.flex1.bvb.vg/

    Another one to put on your list ;-(

    As far as I can see it is done by ‘Yavi Design’: http://www.yavidesign.nl/website-portfolio.47.0.html

    I wonder what their reply will be: “Great minds think alike”?! :-/

    Good luck with these things bro, I guess you ‘inspire’ a lot of people…

    I will be very interested to see if people come up with something to stop this kind of thing.

    Bless, Dave

  68. joger


    18 February 2008 @ 05:31PM #

    Dear Elliot,

    I face the same problems.
    I work in advertising and hold a few patents throughout Europe and the US for advertising techniques.

    Besides from copyright issues for artwork (i see rip off´s of my work at least once a week), I’m facing the violation of my patents from people I´ve actually worked with.

    They simply don’t care – go rip off your intellectual property and force you to call your attourney´s to take the next steps.
    This is a serious issue for a mid sized company. You simply dont want to spend a big budget on that. Even if you successfully sue them – it takes years.

    There´s 3 kinds of people in this world. The creative – the destructive – and those who don’t apply to the previous two concepts.

    People who rip you off are of that 3rd kind.
    I really dont know how to deal with this sort of people.
    Until I know – i will sue them.

    And I strongly advice anyone who gets ripped off to take immediate action.

    People who rip you off – do it on purpose – there simply are no “accidents”.

    Its a conscious decision to take sth away.


  69. Christina


    19 February 2008 @ 03:13AM #

    Apparently imitation is the greatest form of flattery….?

    I do find it quite interesting that he completely stole your background despite the fact you have a tutorial on how to make it your self!

    I love the background on WebDesignerWall.com and I’ve created designs that are influenced by it, even using the tutorials by Nick La, but to steal it?! Unthinkable.

    There is a vast difference between influence and theft!

  70. Mark


    19 February 2008 @ 12:47PM #

    The whole situation’s pretty pathetic, In reality I’m not sure what we can actually do?

    Has anyone heard of LogoMaid??? It’s basically a team of ‘designers’ that scrawl through the net ripping off logos and then selling them to the masses as a template for them to type their company name next to.

    SimpleBits Blag (among others)

    Is that the next step for web design thieves… People ripping code and designs then selling them through their web template business?

    Scary thought…

    Here’s a funny view point published over at airbag with Eric Myer giving his opinion no less.

  71. Shady


    19 February 2008 @ 08:11PM #

    Don’t feel so bad, it’s not just you that he’s ripping off::

    His copied site: http://www.englishsummeracademy.com/

    The real site: http://www.teamviget.com/

  72. Shaun


    20 February 2008 @ 07:47AM #

    From Umar’s site:

    When designing, my main aim is to make something hot and eye catching and if possible, as different as possible.


  73. Jonathan Dingman

    Jonathan Dingman

    23 February 2008 @ 10:58PM #


    Ha! “hot and eye catching”? Right.

    This article has been a great example for reputation management. I’ve passed it on to some colleagues of mine to share what a good example of bad reputation management is.

  74. Laura Francis

    Laura Francis

    26 February 2008 @ 09:43PM #

    Hey Elliot,

    Working with my brother on a product based site we had a competitor (essentially that is what another designer would be to you) take some of our artwork – very costly rendered images, and distribute the artwork to their clients.

    The clients used the artwork to promote our competitors product on their site. Clearly this was copyright infringement as they had neither asked permission, referenced the work nor paid to use it.

    The competitor was obviously uninterested in rectifying the situation and it was hard to prove that he had distributed the artwork, however, his clients were more interested.

    We first contact them by email/telephone to explain the situation and that they did not in fact have permission to use the artwork. All of them were shocked at this revelation, most took down the artwork immediately, those who argued and did not soon received a solicitors letter demanding the offending artwork be removed. The solicitors letter was a template format and only cost about £15 per letter sent.

    This course of action proved well worth it, many of the clients found that we had a superior product to offer and switched immediately to us as a supplier, we also helped them with promotional materials such as artwork to use on their sites. Many switched because they were outraged at our competitors unscrupulous behaviour even though our product was more expensive.

    If you are bothered, its not a bad course of action, you might get yourself some work out of it. Of course some clients are more bothered than others. Ultimately most people took down the offending image and those that continued to use it did so in the knowledge they were wrong. We still came out better off in the end :)

  75. Sean Johnson

    Sean Johnson

    03 March 2008 @ 02:17PM #

    Personally I’d be flattered so many people looking to me for inspiration (or even outright copying my shit) it means i must be doing ‘something’ right… but some more fuel for your fire…

    a kinda blend of EJS.com & carsonified ?

    bless ’um

  76. Raener


    06 March 2008 @ 01:32AM #

    Whether its music art or design, for that matter most things, we are but a replication and distortion of everything else. Take pride in your work, take pride in other people enjoying your work and be happy that you are the biggest monkey on the tree.

    We are but imitators, born to do so to survive.

    It’s just human nature.

    Your Blessed, and im sure you’re Hoegharden Mussels tasted nice too !

  77. nurasto


    06 March 2008 @ 01:12PM #

    Oh no … I just finishing my new design from ground up by looking your site every minutes to be inspiration and after read this article, would I change my site layout?

    I like the 3 column layout but entire material made by me including the design it self. Some inspired from your great site. Hope you could give to me response according to this. Thanks for being my design inspiration.

  78. Kyle


    09 March 2008 @ 12:28AM #

    Just did a google search


    Check that site, some Javascript and HTML to stop the right clicking menu, and things to do when you find out your code’s been stolen.

  79. gooei


    26 March 2008 @ 10:14AM #

    hello, how about posting this page up into search engines and if clients search his name or site, this one will be upthere too.. maybe they will see this and avoid that particular “designer”.

    here’s a logo design site who had the same problem, they posted a page about it. http://www.thelogofactory.com/copycats.html

  80. G Zoli

    G Zoli

    27 March 2008 @ 02:55AM #

    I think those designers, who steal.. whe should not call them designers. Probably they should stop working in this bussines.
    When you start to make a design, or an image, graphic, and you finish it, looks as you expected..how great feeling is that.. if you are a graphic/web designer, you all know this feeling…they never gonna feel this..so Im sure they don’t even like their “profession”

  81. Dino


    28 March 2008 @ 05:09AM #

    Hi Elliot. Copycats are everywhere. Carsonified’s background has been ripped off. Only the brightness has been changed. Look -> http://www.swaylo.com/

  82. Shelly G

    Shelly G

    31 March 2008 @ 05:42PM #

    I’m glad I stumbled upon this blog. I saw a post from Umar Salman on DeviantArt looking for a retoucher and I wanted to do research on this guy before doing any work for him. He has two profiles on DeviantArt, both of which are drawing fire because he is not paying artists.


    Looks like I will be staying clear of this guy. Thanks for the heads up.

  83. RS


    01 April 2008 @ 12:21AM #

    I have a experience with someone who called hersef a designer as well. She hat a nice site and she hat here name under the design. I found out that it was a design from a guy from Spain, and when I asked about it, she explained that he stole it from her, but she did not want to make a scene out of it…
    Before I found out enough she stole some ajax gallery script I made.. Gone incme, gone scripts….

  84. webbyhall


    03 April 2008 @ 09:37PM #

    Umars new design seems to resembele Marius Roosendal’s site in ‘day mode’.

  85. Gregory


    29 April 2008 @ 11:10AM #

    nice site ;-)

    one suggestion for tracking rip-offs.

    create signatures in your css/js code. set the rules in a particular apparently-random order. add attributes that wouldn’t normally be added to the rules because they don’t do much (repeated cascading?) and wouldn’t normally be there for the sake of maintaining efficient code. this then becomes your signature.

    most thieves are probably not going to examine the code carefully to make artistic adjustments and will never ‘correct’ the signature code. searching for this code on google or such would then probably find the rip-off sites.

    mmm… that would’ve worked except that google et co don’t index css and js files! mmm… use the signature code as non-semantic inline style rules?


  86. Neil Evans

    Neil Evans

    10 May 2008 @ 10:08PM #

    As a designer who’s had his work stolen lock, stock and barrel I can sympathise with you, however: there is a distinct difference between stolen (ripped like for like) and ‘inspired by’: unfortunately, your site (amongst many others) has a distinctive design that people have modified for their own use, it’s where you draw the line between the two.

    Chase those who steal by all means, but beware of those who borrow, as some can be quite litigious when you accuse them of outright theft (which they’re legally quite right in saying they didn’t do).

    I’m not entirely sure where this is going, other than saying that a public beating of those who borrow probably isn’t the best thing to do, e-mail them or indeed their hosts quitely behind the scenes, don’t draw further attention to them – just focus on building your own reputation as a serious designer – people will always borrow, bring together 100 designers to look at a site like this and we’ll all find elements of things we’ve done, tried or produced before, it’s the nature of the craft.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, remember the mantra ’they’re all cunts’, and keep focussed on producing new stuff, the people that really matter will always remember where they saw it first.

  87. Aaron Sparague

    Aaron Sparague

    17 May 2008 @ 01:40AM #

    Hope you don’t mind, I did a site for a friend of mine and I used your blog as inspiration for the design. I emailed you before I put it up, although you never replied back. I did not copy your css and deviated from the layout as well as the color scheme. It still resembles your blog but I referenced you as the inspiration. Please take a look and let me know if you have a problems with this.

  88. Lisa


    17 May 2008 @ 02:50AM #

    Wow. I think that’s over the line.

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