22
Jan/06

Do You Know Where Your Website Design Has Been?


I suppose that this disclaimer should be applied to most of my postings but to this one in particular: I point to items of interest that usually don’t provide all the information necessary to come to any sort of legal conclusion (in other words I’m not saying who’s right and who’s wrong):
Here is Adaptive Path’s home page.
This post from Stop Design suggests that it created that page in 2003.
Here’s a Flickr page showing what until recently was the home page of ColoradoLandRush.com.
Here is the home page of Site Surfer.com which appears to indicate that ColoradoLandRush.com unveiled its site in June 2005. Important note here: some of the comments in the Flickr page suggest that SiteSurfer designed ColoradoLandRush’s site and point out the irony that Sitesurfer has worked with some IP sites. I’m not so sure SiteSurfer designed the site – it may merely be the hosting company.
Here is the home page of ColoradoLandRush.com today that states:
‘We believe we have been the victims of US copyright law infringement with our Web site.
We have pulled the Web site and will launch a substitute in the next several hours as we investigate this issue.’
Practice pointer – Reps and Warranties and Worries
When you pay a vendor to provide you with material that may be subject to intellectual property protection, you need at least two things – a representation that the work is not subject to ownership by third parties; and indemnification that the vendor will pay for third party claims (this is without regard to how the parties determined ownership of the IP).
These reps and warranties don’t protect you completely from worry. Free lance creators have, how shall we put it, views of ‘fair use’ that don’t jibe with the law – they may completely believe in their heart of hearts that the product they deliver is their’s to sell, and be quite wrong about it.
Second, indemnification from a free lance creator may not be worth much.
What else can you do? (1) do your own due diligence that the work you purchase is not a copy of someone else’s (difficult); (2) work with reputable contractors (expensive); (3) maintain IP protection insurance (difficult and expensive).
Second Practice Pointer – Hidden Tags
A principal at Adaptive Path was asked how they spotted the second comer. He replied: We found it by searching on the google for “Adaptive Path” – since all the alt tags in their graphics still have our name in them, they’re showing up on the first page of results. Nice!
Map makers used to put imaginary towns on their maps; directory publishers listed fake entries; software coders add (useless) commands or comments. The reproduction of these hidden tags by a third party may be evidence of wholesale copying.
Use unique tags in your source code and search for them on search engines.

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