How To Prevent Someone From Copying Design?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by redAPPLE, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. redAPPLE macrumors 68030


    May 7, 2002
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    hi guys.

    first thing, i didn't find this topic while doing a search. sorry, if there is a similar thread, just point me to it, please.

    hear me out.

    i plan to create a website for a customer and i plan to create a "local" website on a cd or dvd, so he can see how the navigation works and all.

    is there a way to "lock" the code and/or design, so it can't be copied or better said, so the guy can't give it to a maybe cheaper designer and steal "my" design?

    or how do you guys do it? do you hope the customer doesn't steal your ideas and go to the cheaper designer?

    any help, suggestion would be great.
  2. panoz7 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2005
    Raleigh, NC
    No, there isn't a way to protect a cd like that. You could always show the website to them on your computer.

    If there's that little trust between you and your client then I'd suggest getting out while your ahead.

    This isn't an issue with me as I choose my clients carefully. I generally have good prior working relationships with them and trust that they won't leave. If you're really that worried you can set up your contract with your client so that you receive part of the payment on completion of the design and the rest of the payment on completion of the site.
  3. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2004
    Thats why you create mockups in PS so they can not steal your code. Trust me you're going to save yourself a lot of time in the long run, rather then designing and coding every idea you have.

    ALSO, you should get a deposit up front...It won't matter much if they steal it from themselves.
  4. mnkeybsness macrumors 68030


    Jun 25, 2001
    Moneyapolis, Minnesota
    ALWAYS get a signed contract for work and ALWAYS get a down payment of (up to) half of the quoted price!

    This will ensure both parties a stake in the investment.
  5. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Yeh Photoshop it and explain how it will work. Then once they commit to it you can do all the coding etc.
  6. LBmtb macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2007
    long bizzle, ca
    Or you can meet with them with laptop in hand. Let him/her play with the website while you're there so you can supervise it.

    But like others have said - DEF get a deposit and a contract!!
  7. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Rule of the internet: Anything that renders in a browser is copyable by the viewer.

    Even if it is some fancy dancy dynamically generated yadda yadda the user can still get the image by screenshots.
  8. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    Notwithstanding what the other posters have written, get a non-disclosure document signed. I understand your concern. In 1989, I had a hot HR program. It was built for the City of Seattle, but I maintained ownership and rights to sell it. King County was very interested. After a couple demos and meetings, I let them install it for more in-depth evaluation. The department head said he would draw up a purchase contract. Then a month of silence, except my calls, and his sudden unavailability. Eventually, I notified I was coming to remove it from their system. While doing so, I passed a cubicle where a near exact replica of my system was being developed. I spoke with the guy. He was re-entering my 'exact' code, but putting County headers and different field labels on it. Very disheartening.
  9. redAPPLE thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 7, 2002
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    i believe i am a nice guy and i tend to trust people more openly.

    a couple of customers are small companies, which doesn't have a web presence right now.

    considering that, would a "contract" and asking for a deposit scare the customer? do you guys have any experience regarding this? how do i approach them the best way?

    there is a potential customer who has a web presence. the page was surely created in that frontpage program. i thought to send him information, how his page could look better, but again just quite scared of spending time and he says no and 6 months later, basically a copy of how the page should look like is online.

    thanks for all your posts so far.
  10. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2007
    Austin, TX
    First rule: I can not stress this enough, do NOT work without a contract. It is not just to protect you, it is to protect them as well.

    I am facing a possible lawsuit right now with my very first design client that I developed for years ago. I didn't work with a contract back then, and only started to do so a few years ago.

    Because of a severe misunderstanding of our verbal agreement (actually because he is very intentionally trying to extract more from me than our original agreement) there is a very real possibility that we'll be going to court soon. I trusted this person. I felt a "contract wasn't necessary."

    A contract is always necessary.

    You see, because there wasn't a contract, I have no written promise to him, and he has no written promise to me for payment either, so this could get drawn out for a while.

    It does not take long to draw up a contract. I highly recommend the book "Business and Legal Forms for Graphic Designers" by Tad Crawford and Eva Doman Bruck, It also comes with a cd with loads of examples on it that you have permission to copy, paste, and edit as you see fit.

    Second rule: Your design process should always be: Get contract signed, collect some amount of money up front (usually half), design, get client approval on design (and design only!), possibly collect more money, develop the site (code), get final client approval, collect rest of payment, publish website.

    Do not build a site whose design has not been approved.

    Also, one more quick suggestion. It's not completely failproof, and it's not as good as a real copyright, but if you absolutely must give a coded site to a client on cd, create a copy and mail it to yourself, but don't open it, just stick it in a file drawer. At the very least it's a way to prove in court the date that you developed the code,
  11. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Oh and to answer your other question. The clients that are "scared" by a contract are precisely the clients that you will have issues with. Any good business person understands that a good contract is there to protect both sides of the deal.

    I've been designing and developing websites for quite some time, and I've only ever had to walk away from two deals because the client wouldn't sign a contract. I never regretted it.

    One of the hardest parts of business (any business), especially when you're starting out, is knowing when to turn business down.
  12. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    If you're just scared about the code, and not images, you could always turn everything into a JPG and use image maps.

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