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.

Now this is just silly

Posted on 15 June 2007 28 comments

Article illustration for Now This Is Just Silly

UPDATE: After reporting the copyright violation to the website’s host, Strato, it appears that they’ve taken vmixx.com down! Cheers guys!

I couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my site’s design being ripped off, and – while the majority of comments were very supportive – some people thought I was being a little too harsh in calling it “pirated”. Well, I’m not here to continue that argument today; instead, I’m going to point your attention to vmixx.com, and I think you’ll agree that there’s nothing to argue about here. (In case the site gets changed or taken down, here’s the evidence on Flickr.)

What’s really interesting here is that the site’s ‘designer’ actually asked for my permission via e-mail, and when I declined, I’m pleased to say he ended up using a background that (while similar) was still very much his own. So why revert to using my imagery? Was the other background purely to throw me off the scent? Luckily I was alerted to the change by a helpful reader. Thanks, Rod!

Am I offended? A little. But I think it’s too funny to be that offended. I mean, not only has he used my main background image, but he’s also used the top bar and the swirls that sit behind it. And what are the swirls? That’s right, folks: MY NAME! So not only does vmixx.com have ‘Elliot Jay Stocks’ emblazoned across it in the metaphorical sense… it also has in the very literal sense as well!

Come on, man – take it down.


  1. Gwom


    15 June 2007 @ 07:57PM #

    It’s quite funny really! But I think at least one rip off site of your site should be pink or something. It’d be like looking into an alternate universe. It’d look the same but be pink. Can you do a weird flip version of your site where it’s pink and everything is the wrong way around? Maybe you can get people to copy that instead. -x

  2. Alice


    15 June 2007 @ 08:46PM #

    Hehe no definitely not pirated! I like the idea of a pink version of your site, less dark and stormy then usual! xxx

  3. roxzen


    15 June 2007 @ 10:12PM #

    I’m so disgusted. Before this the site used merdeka theme by ikram-zidane without crediting him (the sliding navigation panel should give you a hint), and now it had taken itself to a next level of rip off?! What’s worse, it had been featured on a web design gallery – putting on clothes that are stolen.

    You don’t need to post the link by giving this pirated site exposure. Why should we drive traffic to some sites which don’t know how to spell the word respect?

  4. Rod


    15 June 2007 @ 10:27PM #

    And this man is proud to write this on the Wordpress French communauty … and when I show the native design, beautiful words was used … a big troll, with no idea. Understand all french people aren’t like him.

  5. Andrew Grieve

    Andrew Grieve

    16 June 2007 @ 03:29AM #

    I’m no webdesigner or owt but to me it looks like he’s just gone and got himself a new website! Stunning audacity, truly stunning.

  6. Anna


    17 June 2007 @ 03:41PM #

    You know what makes this just a LITTLE funnier? The fact that he actually removed the two little top loops of the ‘ll’ from the header. Like he was actually going to try to hide the fact that he completely ripped you.

  7. Niels


    17 June 2007 @ 06:23PM #

    Definately not a rip-off. Don’t you see the difference. It says “vmixx” in the banner. Not “Elliot Jay Stocks”.
    Jeez, people get offended so fast lately…

  8. TDawg


    17 June 2007 @ 09:08PM #

    Quit your damn whining! Every time I come to this site you are obsessed with someone ripping your site. Get-over-it…it happens and will continue to happen.

  9. Tobias


    17 June 2007 @ 10:12PM #

    You should see it as compliment. You have found a Design which many people like :-)
    (its sad …. the fastest way to build up a site)

  10. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    18 June 2007 @ 01:07AM #

    Thanks for all of your comments, everyone.

    @ Roxzen: Wow, I didn’t realise he’d ripped that theme off as well! Not bad for a day’s thieving… ;-) I don’t mind sending traffic to his site, because if he’s looking at his referrer stats, he should know by now that the traffic is coming from a post specifically intended to highlight what he’s done.

    @ Anna: Wow, that does make it even funnier! Well, as it’s missing the two Ls in my name, I guess that makes it an original design! ;-)

    @ TDawg: I’m not whining. As I said above, "Am I offended? A little. But I think it’s too funny to be that offended. "

  11. The Angryindian

    The Angryindian

    18 June 2007 @ 08:45AM #

    Yeah, you were ripped off. I suppose we all learn by inspiration gleaned from our betters, but even an honest infringer would never directly copy someone’s entire theme. That’s just disrespectful.

  12. sam


    19 June 2007 @ 03:18AM #

    What do you mean; it looks nothing like your site, honestly I’ve never seen a more original design. (Isn’t it refreshing to have an English designer, who therefore can understand irony.) Oh and as an after thought, I really love the site.

  13. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    19 June 2007 @ 11:13AM #

    @ Sam: Thank you! Oh, and let’s hope Niels (above) was being ironic as well!

  14. josh


    20 June 2007 @ 03:24AM #

    elliot man, hats off (and i notice you’re wearing one in your beguiling blog photo) for fighting off the plagiarists.

    one thing — you say you live in London on the top of your blog there, if I’m going to get into pedantry mode you actually live in Twickenham, Surrey…but admittedly, difficult to derive edginess from a place thus described.


    keep stopping the damn plagiarists, and let’s meet up soon!

    and best of luck in the transition from Sankers to Carson…


  15. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    20 June 2007 @ 11:12AM #

    If we’re being really pedantic, it’s actually Middlesex, not Surrey. Slightly more edgy? ;-) Either way, that bit at the top is changing very soon, due to my forthcoming Carson announcement…

    Anyway, cheers man. Oh, and I need to run your Motorhead / Fall CDs round before I do the ‘cheerio’…

  16. Leichim


    04 July 2007 @ 01:23PM #

    Lol, when if first read your post i thought they just ripped your css and made their own picture, but that site is, judging the screenshot, almost exactly the same.

    I don’t say it is wrong to get inspiration from different well-styled-sites, but making a site without thinking by yourself, copying everything from one site, is shameless. you can not call yourself a designer when doing that.

    Ooh, and nice site, i like the scrolling background effect.


  17. Dan


    16 July 2007 @ 03:55AM #

    ""MAN is born to APE….""

    With regards to the whole plagiarism and Vmixx.com affair.

    Making motions to close down someone else website is going way too far, especially for ‘Ripping Off’ design. Do me a favour Mr Stocks, look around you.

    I notice that your icon on the FLICKR site is a ‘rip off’ of Matt Groening’s work, No mention of him on your site. Also the title font used in this particular site is someone else’s work, never a mention for the typographer.

    You know as well as I do that no one is truly original.

    Coco Chanel once was quoted saying ‘Show me a man of originality, and I will show you a liar". I guess she is referring to the fact all ’art’ is in someway inspired and pays homage to another.

    Even well known ground breaking artists like Picasso, Van Gogh etc. Started out by recording what they saw and experienced before them, and only through a process, were they finally able to discover their own particular brand of outward expressionism.

    I most certainly sympathize that if a exterior element were to steal ideas and tout them as their own at your expense, there would be sufficient grounds to pursue and warrant such action as to shut down a website.

    To me this just doesn’t appear to be such a case.

    Do the internet a favour, why not help the Vmixx.com fella get back on his/her feet and perhaps give them a bit of your design experience to help them find their own brand of expressionism.

    Surely you remember starting out on your design path, who was it for you? Neville Brodie, Vaughan Oliver, Anti-Rom, The Simpsons….

    Control, Censorship and Total Ownership, keep it out of the internet. It is the only medium left which, as far as I can tell, is not owned, censored or controlled by a small body of self interested financial parties with their own particular agendas.

    I don’t want to start some kind of playground public slagging session on this, your blog, so please do not take this in a hostile manner, I assure you this is not the intent. I like yourself express through a visual format, not written. If anything I would say this is to promote some kind of Co-Operation as opposed to Competition………..yes I am a F**king hippy.

    All the best to you Elliot..


  18. Josh Stodola

    Josh Stodola

    16 July 2007 @ 10:16PM #

    Dude, now I am tempted to copy your design just to piss you off and to get showcased on your site. Please continue to blog about it and I will ship you a well-deserved pacifier. Seriously, there are better things to blog about…

  19. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    17 July 2007 @ 02:02PM #

    @ Dan: While I appreciate your fairly gentlemanly approach, let’s clear some things up:

    1) Your main point about me supposedly claiming my site is original falls down when you read elsewhere on the blog, and I’m actually a big fan of the excellent quote you cited by Coco Chanel. In the first comment I made on the ‘Pirated’ post, I said:

    “Taken to its logical conclusion, one could suggest that having navigation at the top of the page or a logo on the left is actually an infringement upon the design that originally came up with those ideas. Is my website’s design original? No – it’s an amalgamation of various ideas that have been formed by the multitude of influences I’ve been exposed to over the years. Is anything original? In the true sense of the word, no, because everything is evolutional. The interesting bit is where we choose to draw the lines.”

    2) My Simspsons avatar on Flickr (which was derived from this photo) was made using the excellent Simspsons avatar generator on the official Simspons Movie website. You might want to also check out Dan Mall’s, Jina Bolton’s, or Andy Clarke’s versions (to name but three).

    3) I never mentioned the typographer who created the title font at the top of this site? Have a look at my ‘about’ page under the ‘About this site’ section: Eduardo Recife’s credit has been there – along with numerous other credits – since April.

    4) Regardless of the legitimacy I’ve just pointed out, both the Simpsons avatar generator and the Nars typeface exist purely for the purpose of public distribution and usage: they are products intended for use by individuals outside of their host websites. The imagery on my site is not and there’s a very clear copyright notice at the bottom of every page. Not only this, but Vmixx contacted me and asked for permission (a noble thing to do), I politely declined, and then he used it anyway (not so noble). So after all that, I should let it go ahead?

    5) The thing that confuses me about what you said is this contradiction: “I most certainly sympathize that if a exterior element were to steal ideas and tout them as their own at your expense, there would be sufficient grounds to pursue and warrant such action as to shut down a website.” Well, that’s exactly what happened.

    Anyway, thank you for the discussion.

    • * *

    @ Josh: I’m really keen on getting thoughtful, constructive arguments going on via this site’s comments feature. But why waste your own time by simply flaming or telling me what I should write about on my website?

  20. Danny


    17 July 2007 @ 05:59PM #

    Im always happy to see copyrights enforced. Good for you!

  21. John P

    John P

    18 July 2007 @ 08:03PM #

    They say t’s called copyright for a reason. If its right, COPY IT!

  22. Josh Stodola

    Josh Stodola

    18 July 2007 @ 10:25PM #

    You’re right, Elliot, it is your site and you can publish whatever the hell you want.

    Sorry, but unless somebody is making money off your design, then no harm is done, and its likely nobody really gives a crap. Plus, do you have everything about this design copyrighted? Didn’t think so…

    If somebody copied my design for the hell of it, I would be honored (especially if they left my name dangling in the fricken background!). I would desperately try to contact them before publishing another blog post about how fantastically popular your design is. Seriously, the idiot went out of his way to use your design. He liked it that much. Why not contact him and tell him how you can help, since he is obviously lacks creativity and/or imagination?

    But no, instead of providing any sort of guidance, you ratted him out. IMHO, that almost makes you as lame as he is.

  23. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    19 July 2007 @ 07:36PM #

    @ Josh: I think it’s fairly safe to say that when somebody copies another person’s material – be it design, music, whatever – the copied person’s default reaction is not to go out and offer help to the copier. Is that your default reaction? Well if so, that’s very noble of you. But as it’s never happened to you, I don’t think you’re in a position to say.

  24. Josh Stodola

    Josh Stodola

    23 July 2007 @ 10:14PM #

    Of course it’s not the default reaction. The default reaction is to whine about it to everybody you can, and you have mastered this technique.

    And I do agree, offering help to someone who has ripped you off is almost impossibly noble. But, the reaction I was pushing towards was to make personal contact with the pirate. Obviously the most noble thing to do is attempt to provide help, but the most practical is to tell him how much of a coward he is. Either way, the point is to give him a chance to reply and explain his side of the story before publicly revealing his lack of integrity.

  25. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    24 July 2007 @ 03:18AM #

    @ Josh: I admit that the approach you suggest may indeed be fair and suitable to some cheeky image thiefs, but let me clarify the order of events with this one:

    Vmixx approached me, asking if he could use my background imagery; I politely refused permission; he put up a temporary background to look like he had respected my answer; after about two weeks, he then replaced this with my imagery; a reader drew it to my attention; I asked Vmixx to take it down; I heard nothing from him; and then I contacted his web hosts to report a copyright violation.

    So after all that, are you seriously telling me this guy deserves “a chance to reply and explain his side of the story”?

  26. Josh Stodola

    Josh Stodola

    24 July 2007 @ 04:23AM #

    Now that I understand the chain of events, I think that you have done enough on your part. I also now feel that this guy is in the wrong. He asked, you denied, he obliged and later retracted – that is the move of a coward. However, in that initial response did you redirect him to a place where he could draw a somewhat similiar inspiration? Perhaps the same (free) place you drew yours from (textureking)?

    I apologize for being such a nuisance, I am not really trying to get on your nerves. It’s just that I am seeing all this shit online about un-copyrighted designs being ripped off, and it is annoying to me.

    Anyways, I love the site design, it is definitely rip-off-able, although I would never do such a thing :)

  27. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    25 July 2007 @ 08:23PM #

    @ Josh: Thanks! :) Upon reflection, the text in my actual post didn’t convey the sequence of events very clearly. My apologies.

  28. Puspa


    20 February 2008 @ 10:17AM #

    That’s really silly copying! hahaha… Take it down.

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