General Question

mirza's avatar

What do I do if someone steals my designs ?

Asked by mirza (5042points) February 22nd, 2008

OK I recently did a new design for my tumblr site. Yesterday I found out that this guy just basically stole my design. His site looks exactly the same as mine except he uses a different header image. However he does admit on his site that the design was done me by having a link at the bottom that says “The design was done by this guy”. The ironic part of the this whole situation is that this guy seems to be a graphic designer and his tumble-log is about “effortless design”.

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15 Answers

Randy's avatar

hahaha, that sounds like it pretty much sucks. My vote is beat ‘em up. Lol, I dunno how those situations work but have you tried to make any contact with him to talk about what he’s doing?

jrpowell's avatar

Not really much you can do… You could go the route of John Gruber at and put a note in your CSS file.

Daring Fireball CSS
Copyright© 2007 John Gruber. All rights reserved.
If you copy without permission, I will mock you.
Layout No. 2 / v1.45
Thu 25 Oct 2007

Spargett's avatar

I’ve always wonder about how the lines blur between heavy inspiration and plain theft. At what point or under what stipulations does it become stealing. Is it still “intellectual theft” if they built it from the ground up themselves?

Anyway, always an interesting topic.

TheKitchenSink's avatar

One thing I’ve never really understood: What if it were entirely a coincidence? (It’s not in this case, but still.)

Like, someone just so happens to have built the exact same thing? It’s not stolen at all, but could easily be claimed as such. Persecuting one for that would be unfair, but conversely, there’s no way to prove he did or didn’t steal it (well, sometimes there are ways to prove people did steal, but not conversely, generally).

But I digress. Unless you expressly said on your page that it was not to be used, then there’s not much you can do about it other than ask him to revert from your design, since he did credit you and all. I think standard ex post facto rules apply here, so you can’t put up a disclaimer against the use of your designs without your express consent and then call him out on that, as it would be done after the fact. But ah well…

Vincentt's avatar

Just look for a contact option at his site. You would be surprised by what people’d do if you just ask them nicely. You could also recommend him some design site where he can get his own design that he is allowed to use. I’m quite sure that’ll work.

Of course, you still own the copyright (even if you didn’t explicitly say so). No need to make legal threats when asking nicely though ;-)

klaas4's avatar

There are the good and the bad. He’s the bad. Ignore it. You know it’s your design, not his. And if he contacts you, or you contact him, talk politely.

bob's avatar

Nice design, by the way. If you’re uncomfortable with him using your design, email him politely. Or just put a note in your code asking people not to take it. But I thought you were planning on releasing it as a public theme anyway?

Also: he re-built the theme using your site? That’s ambitious.

mirza's avatar

@bob : yes I was planning on releasing it once I did another re-design of my own site. I already e-mailed him but haven’t gotten a reply yet. I am okay with him using it as long as he puts my own name instead of this guy. Frankly I just think it’s not cool when the Executive Creative Director of copies from a person who does not even have a college degree yet.

Anyways heres mine versus his

bob's avatar

You’ve got good points. No question. It’s not cool. My personal tactic would be to wait for a response before publicly shaming him. :) No need to hold a grudge with someone who admires your work. But you’re definitely right: taking other people’s designs (and graphics!) = not cool.

mirza's avatar

The guy replied. He said he would fix the footer by tonight and give me proper credit for it.
Anyways, apparently someone is distributing this theme on some site. He said would try to dig up the url from where he found the theme.

Any idea how I might find this site that’s apparently distributing my theme ?

Vincentt's avatar

Well, if he can dig up the URL then it’s easy, of course, and another polite request to that website to take it down will probably solve your issue.

Try searching for your name, your site’s name, whatever. Perhaps, if the guy can’t dig the URL up, try asking him for a list of sites that he checks when he wants to find a design, so that you can narrow down your search field.

By the way, just curious, but – how did you find this guy’s site?

mirza's avatar

@vincentt: I was just looking over my stats from my Site Analytics tool and found 15 incoming links from him so I checked out his site

stephen's avatar

lol that guy sounds sucks to say “the design was done by this guy”.:D, why not give us the links of ur site and that guy’s site? tell him u dont wanna him to do that ,thats ur design if its really important for ya!

mirza's avatar

@stephen: the issue has been resolved. I have the links up on the previous responses to this question.

It has come to my attention that theres a certain group of people who are ripping other peoples Tumblr designs and distributing them elsewhere. The same thing happened to my friend Matt and Nik

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