How Can I Prevent Someone From Copying The Webdesign?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by redAPPLE, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. redAPPLE macrumors 68030


    May 7, 2002
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    hi guys.

    i have been doing one or two sites for a few companies. which worked out great, because i knew the people i am dealing with.

    let us say, there is this one potential customer and i would create a rough draft of a website. let us say, they didn't give me the job to create the website because of different issues (let us say mainly, price).

    is there a best practice for such things, so the potential customer doesn't "steal" my design and give it to somebody else who would make the site with less pay?
  2. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    If the site isn't on the Internet, but on a local drive for presentation, then they would be hard-pressed to copy it. If it is on the Internet, then watermarking each page with an inseparable image would suffice.

    If you're talking about the general "look & feel," that's a grey area. To what extent certain images/layouts/elements can be copyrighted and defended is a subject more suited for an IP lawyer.
  3. tominated macrumors 68000


    Jul 7, 2006
    Queensland, Australia
    there isn't really, which actually really sucks.
  4. DerekS macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2007
    Send him the draft as a PDF. Watermark it if necessary.
  5. redAPPLE thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 7, 2002
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    yeah, it is generally a look and feel thing. if they like it, it would be great, then i hopefully get the job.

    my idea would be that the potential customer could evaluate it online, but once it is online, they could create screenshots of the pages.

    so most probable answer would be to present it personally...

    is this really the last resort? watermarking a page would not really be good enough, because the layout could still be copied... and again my worst worry is, a 10-year-old would be given the chance to copy "my idea" and would be 10$ or something for it...
  6. macsig macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2006
    Marina del Rey, CA
    There isn't a secure way to protect your design. Even if they don't have any file or paper they can just remember and draw it.
  7. operator207 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2007
    There are 2 distinct issues it seems.

    1. Memory copying: Copying your site from memory. Maybe dictating it to the other web designer that under bid you.

    2. Physically copying the site.

    You cannot stop 1, its not possible, unless you have some sort of mind eraser.

    You CAN stop 2. Put the site online, let them browse it. Sending them a non interactive PDF is not processional in my opinion. You may not be able to show them your cool javascript rollovers or flash "stuff". You could lose business for showing them a static picture of a dynamic website.

    Put the site someplace like
    If you think they are going to "steal" the site, move it off the site, delete it (provided you have a backup), or change the testsite1 to "34u8refhjiuhfi4u" so they cannot find the site again. You could do this while at the customer's site, or after showing them.

    You could make them sign a contract that states they cannot "steal" your design. If the client balks at it, tell them you have had people steal your designs in the past, and this is for your protection. if they sign it, they are probably not going to steal it.

    I would/did (worked as Commercial Services for an ISP for 10 years) put the site up in a subfolder. Have the customer enter a simple contract that you will design the site, but if the client does not want to use the site, they cannot copy it or take its design to another designer to build.
  8. theLastBeatle macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2007

    you deal with this by having a contract. this doesnt have to be lengthy but it should cover what the client intends to get, what your agreeing to give and for how much. the contract should also include the amount of comps you plan to present. and it should include the amount of revisions you will honor before needing to revise the estimate. once they sign you have a contract that shows you were hired to do work for that client and you should have the files to prove that the intellectual property is yours. they do not have the right to use it if they break the contract. look of the graphic artists hand book on pricing and ethical guidelines.
  9. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    I had a Serbian company about a year ago copying 90% of a web site that I created, they downloaded all the images from the site, most of the text and the layout was identical. I can make a joke about ethnic cleansing but I wont...

    There really wasn't much that I could do... It was very disappointing but ultimately there isn't much you can do besides watermarking, disabling save as and hoping they don't do a screen grab...
  10. Switz213 macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2008
    There is no reason they can not just remake it and say yours was inspiration. Technically, you could sue them, but only if it is really similar enough...
    Water mark is the only way to stop them from copying the actual thing...
  11. redAPPLE thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 7, 2002
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    that thing about the contract sounds like a good idea. is there any templates of something like that online?

    does anybody have something like that i could copy? 10 good karma points will be delivered asap.

    i am aware, that once a website i create is online, basically anybody could copy it. i guess, that is one thing i have to pay for the freedom of the internet. but as i said before, i would explode if a rough draft of my ideas, get redone by somebody else.
  12. Cabbit macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2006
  13. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    The easiest way to do this is simply not to create a sample website for them unless you're working for them.

    If they want to see a prototype before they pay you for your work, then they're probably being unscrupulous. You should demand some payment for the work you've done to create the prototype -- that should be in your agreement.

    Just as an example:

    $1000 for the prototype
    $2000 for the first working draft site
    $2000 for the final product
  14. notnek macrumors 6502


    Oct 25, 2007
    ^ I agree. Have a written agreement that you both sign. I got burned a year or so ago by not having a written agreement. So now I require 50% of the estimate. Because you know the price will be at least that much. Then they're obligated to stick with your stuff and not steal it.
  15. a456 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2005
    Agreed. If they like your previous work they then employ you. Don't give too much away for free.
  16. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    I do this as well, it works very well. The only time I have had someone rip off my work was from another company who did basically what was a carbon copy with the web site but for a rival company.

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