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November 30, 2023, 03:47:45 pm - @658.16
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Author Topic: How do you feel when someone blatantly rips off your website (or other work)?  (Read 1508 times)
Onio
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« on: February 22, 2023, 07:21:02 pm »

It was made aware to me that someone basically just lifted the whole layout (and one of my images) off my 'lil Onio Cafe website and edited it to suit their needs.

On one hand, I'm a feeling a little like...  :drat: you could've asked first!

On the other hand, I don't see copying from it as too big of a deal, as this was what I consider to be a hobbyist project inspired by others' websites and with much instruction from looking at their own code. Moreover, I'm pretty used to this sort of thing happening with my professional work/things I take more seriously. I've had a lot of my actual work ripped off before (and even profited on without my awareness..).

I wouldn't call my website actual work, though. Furthermore, after some reflection, it's pretty derivative itself. My website is largely inspired by bits and pieces of other's websites (like the spinning menu buttons, which were 100% inspired by Melonking.net) and quite a bit of my own code was informed by looking through others' source code. I've also used others' layouts in the past and edited them to suit my needs, granted I changed and tweaked enough to create something new, but I think starting with someone's project and tweaking/editing it to figure out how it works is a valid way to learn when you're getting started.

I don't feel like it's a big deal, but it makes me interested on where the drawing line is between something that's a copy and something that's inspired but original.

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Edit: Reworded for clarification.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2023, 04:04:42 am by Onio » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2023, 11:54:24 pm »

I think a website is definitely "real work", but I also think the beauty in art is seeing it become a part of society as a whole. I never understood being protective of one's own work.
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2023, 12:45:56 am »

When I was younger, I had some images I made copied from my website's splash page. Being an emotional teenager, it was a huge outrage at the time. If it happened today in the same context, I would still be annoyed but would probably forget about it immediately after. However, if it was a portfolio piece and them taking credit for something I made actively threatened me getting a job, I'd definitely feel more threatened and be sending out them DMCA takedowns like I was a Warner Bros copyright lawyer. :tongue:

More recently, back when I was still on twitter I found out someone I met over TF2 was copying my jokes. It was annoying because he had more followers than me and was taking credit for what I wrote, but I actually found it more funny than anything because, despite what Elon Musk wants you to believe, the value of a tweet is $0 (unless you have paid sponsorships or something), and it just proved to me that 1) I was funny enough for someone to bother copying, and 2) the other guy is a witless pleb, or what kids today call an "NPC".

On the flip side, I once had someone contact me on DeviantArt to ask if they could use a 3D image I created for their online web game, which I absolutely said yes to. It was just something I had made for a college course and I wasn't doing anything with, so if someone else thought it was good enough to use on their own project that was totally flattering. I still get goosebumps when I remember it. :grin:
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Onio
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2023, 03:07:26 am »


I think a website is definitely "real work", but I also think the beauty in art is seeing it become a part of society as a whole. I never understood being protective of one's own work.

Just for clarification, when I write "actual work", I mean my own work within a medium that I've been trained extensively in, have put a lot of time, effort, and consideration into, and get paid to work on. I'm not implying web design or front end development isn't real work - far from it - I just don't see my own website as some of my own "real work".
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Onio
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2023, 03:27:15 am »

When I was younger, I had some images I made copied from my website's splash page. Being an emotional teenager, it was a huge outrage at the time. If it happened today in the same context, I would still be annoyed but would probably forget about it immediately after. However, if it was a portfolio piece and them taking credit for something I made actively threatened me getting a job, I'd definitely feel more threatened and be sending out them DMCA takedowns like I was a Warner Bros copyright lawyer. :tongue:

More recently, back when I was still on twitter I found out someone I met over TF2 was copying my jokes. It was annoying because he had more followers than me and was taking credit for what I wrote, but I actually found it more funny than anything because, despite what Elon Musk wants you to believe, the value of a tweet is $0 (unless you have paid sponsorships or something), and it just proved to me that 1) I was funny enough for someone to bother copying, and 2) the other guy is a witless pleb, or what kids today call an "NPC".

On the flip side, I once had someone contact me on DeviantArt to ask if they could use a 3D image I created for their online web game, which I absolutely said yes to. It was just something I had made for a college course and I wasn't doing anything with, so if someone else thought it was good enough to use on their own project that was totally flattering. I still get goosebumps when I remember it. :grin:

This is fairly similar to how I see it: it depends a lot on the context! I have a piece that other artists have created over and over in different media and often tag me in it, and I find it very flattering. Occasionally I see artists who recreate it but don't credit me, and it leaves me a little annoyed LOL but I'm over it pretty quickly and I don't tend to reach out. Then there are the tattoo artists who have taken my work and tattooed it on other people. They get paid a lot of money for that, and their clients never seem to know who I am, so I feel lead to believe they pass my work - and many other artists work off - as their own original ideas. Then there are the businesses that take my work and use it on their websites for commercial purposes, without credit or payment. Both of these leave me feeling a bit upset and with mixed feelings. I do have that particular image registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, so I could act on these things, but again, it's generally just not worth it and I'm not one to start a large fuss over what might have amounted to a few hundred dollars.

I do find a great deal of satisfaction seeing my images "become a part of society", as /home/user/ mentioned. It's what I would imagine a proud parent would feel seeing their kids grow up and start a life of their own LOL. Seeing them shared in places I'd never expect and seeing people appreciate them that much is very flattering, and I feel some sense of fulfillment when something I create affects another person in a very positive way. That feels more valuable than the money. But to see others take credit or advantage of work which was born out of a creative vision and artistic style that took years to develop and at much sacrifice can definitely burn (again, my website is not an example of that!) Artists recreating it in their own style or being inspired by my work is one thing, and it's always appreciated if credit is given but nothing to act on if not, but to take the entire piece itself (or to make a very minor change but not creating something truly new out of it) and to misrepresent where it came from for their own gain feels a little bit like theft (again, depends contextually on just what they're taking, and the amount of effort and resultant value inherent within that piece).

And of course there are more reasons to be protective over something you care a lot about than just pride or money. If your work is recognizably yours and someone else is using it support or represent certain ideologies you don't back or support, an unwanted association between you/your work and that ideology could be made in the minds of the masses. I think the Pepe Frog is an example of a creation that was adopted by a group that the creator had no affiliation or support for.



« Last Edit: February 23, 2023, 09:27:11 am by Onio » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2023, 04:37:36 am »

And of course there are more reasons to be protective over something you care a lot about than just pride or money. If your work is recognizably yours and someone else is using it support or represent certain ideologies you don't back or support, an unwanted associated between you/your work and that ideology could be made in the minds of the masses. I think the Pepe Frog is an example of a creation that was adopted by a group that the creator had no affiliation or support for.

This is a great point! I know there has been a concerted effort to reclaim Pepe the Frog, but every time I see him in a meme or avatar I automatically assume whoever posted it is likely a fascist. It's an association I can't get away from and it tainted the character forever. I feel so bad for the artist who created him.
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2023, 02:48:52 pm »

Iv been thinking about this topic for a few days and I'm not sure I have any great answer to it - I'll also only speak for web crafting since its quite different to other mediums.

Firstly, there are the hard facts; the web is an open medium, everything you put on it is public. You could argue that there are some social conventions for not claiming others works; but there is no way to enforce those, other than to ostracize individuals who do it; I don't think I like that idea because we just don't always have enough info to understand why someone does a thing; Id like to talk to this person and understand what they are thinking.

I also know this topic has been a big debate within the younger teen communities on neocities; and I know they failed to accomplish anything more than animosity amongst themselves...  :ziped: Also I asked them what they thought about MK copycat sites and they informed me that the MK site design is too "generic 90s" for me to claim as my own; so maybe that invalidates me from this discussion  :grin:

From what Iv seen, its basically not a debate; I assume everything I put online will be stolen and is actively being stolen; sometimes that's fun (Like the time a site called onionclicker hotlinked to GifyPets mp3 and I swapped the file for an audio clip ranting about evil onions  :tongue: Unrelated to you Onio!) but then again, GifyPets audio is repurposed from somewhere else too, and so was the rant!

All that said though.. I think there's a deeper answer to this! A site is a mirror of your personality; in a way its part of you. As individuals we acquire parts of other people all the time, in a very similar way to how websites copy bits of each other. There are traits I have from friends, family, TV shows etc - those traits are totally valid parts of me, because I picked them and I made them my own; in other words, humans are constructs of found objects.

Of course I could take it way too far; I could start claiming I literally am David Bowie.. but aside from people making a lot of jokes about it.. the reality would be that I wouldn't be a very good David Bowie  :sad: That's because you can construct yourself, but you cant construct someone else.

With all that in mind; can someone actually steal your site? They can steal a layout, they can steal some content.. but they cant steal the mind and soul that created those things. I think web revival sites at their best are attempts to put the mind and soul into the web; so stealing a site without that misses the point entirely! (I also think this is at the heart of the AI debate)

I might be naive in thinking this; but I just don't think a stolen site will ever "work", I don't think it will ever click, or capture the imagination of a viewer in the same way as a truly genuine site can. So maybe there is not much to worry about.. if I had any advice to offer, just remember that theft is part of the fabric of the web; its an angle to the artwork; its part of its impermanence and part of what gives it meaning. I don't suggest you go out and steal peoples sites; but I do recommend you smile when it happens - it means the web is still working, we are still here, and life for all its faults, is happening  :eyes: (This may or may not make you feel any better!)
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2023, 08:17:02 pm »

When I was younger, someone copied a bunch of text from my website... I asked them to remove it, and they said they would, but didn't. Not that it matters anymore. I just can't even imagine someone ripping of any of my sites haha
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2023, 09:13:07 pm »




Iv been thinking about this topic for a few days and I'm not sure I have any great answer to it - I'll also only speak for web crafting since its quite different to other mediums.

Firstly, there are the hard facts; the web is an open medium, everything you put on it is public. You could argue that there are some social conventions for not claiming others works; but there is no way to enforce those, other than to ostracize individuals who do it; I don't think I like that idea because we just don't always have enough info to understand why someone does a thing; Id like to talk to this person and understand what they are thinking.

I also know this topic has been a big debate within the younger teen communities on neocities; and I know they failed to accomplish anything more than animosity amongst themselves...  :ziped: Also I asked them what they thought about MK copycat sites and they informed me that the MK site design is too "generic 90s" for me to claim as my own; so maybe that invalidates me from this discussion  :grin:

From what Iv seen, its basically not a debate; I assume everything I put online will be stolen and is actively being stolen; sometimes that's fun (Like the time a site called onionclicker hotlinked to GifyPets mp3 and I swapped the file for an audio clip ranting about evil onions  :tongue: Unrelated to you Onio!) but then again, GifyPets audio is repurposed from somewhere else too, and so was the rant!

All that said though.. I think there's a deeper answer to this! A site is a mirror of your personality; in a way its part of you. As individuals we acquire parts of other people all the time, in a very similar way to how websites copy bits of each other. There are traits I have from friends, family, TV shows etc - those traits are totally valid parts of me, because I picked them and I made them my own; in other words, humans are constructs of found objects.

Of course I could take it way too far; I could start claiming I literally am David Bowie.. but aside from people making a lot of jokes about it.. the reality would be that I wouldn't be a very good David Bowie  :sad: That's because you can construct yourself, but you cant construct someone else.

With all that in mind; can someone actually steal your site? They can steal a layout, they can steal some content.. but they cant steal the mind and soul that created those things. I think web revival sites at their best are attempts to put the mind and soul into the web; so stealing a site without that misses the point entirely! (I also think this is at the heart of the AI debate)

I might be naive in thinking this; but I just don't think a stolen site will ever "work", I don't think it will ever click, or capture the imagination of a viewer in the same way as a truly genuine site can. So maybe there is not much to worry about.. if I had any advice to offer, just remember that theft is part of the fabric of the web; its an angle to the artwork; its part of its impermanence and part of what gives it meaning. I don't suggest you go out and steal peoples sites; but I do recommend you smile when it happens - it means the web is still working, we are still here, and life for all its faults, is happening  :eyes: (This may or may not make you feel any better!)

Love this response, thanks Melon  :grin:
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2023, 10:59:57 am »

Can't get something from nothing. All ideas, at their base level, are just built off of other ideas.
For me, I would just feel happy that my work was meaningful enough to someone to inspire their own creative process

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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2023, 05:17:26 pm »

Not too long ago, I saw someone with a splash page very similar to mine, which got a "Hum, this reminds me of someone...  :wink: " kind of reaction from me  :ok:

I found it amusing, maybe because I do not consider myself very good at web design or coding so I don't mind it as much as if it was my own art (my digital art)...?

I'm not here to reinvent the wheel when it comes to website design, and I don't expect others to do so. As long as they aren't straight up lifting off someone else's whole page - I'd appreciate it if they made it theirs in some way. You know, keep the layout, the way things are organized if you like that, and you can even borrow some of my code if you find it hard to make it yourself - but at the very least change the colours, the backgrounds, the typography, the art, things like that.

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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2023, 12:18:07 am »

being inspired by something is 100% fine and not something that bothers me in any way. whether it be web, coding, or art.
There is a difference between being inspired by something, using pieces to help you create and straight-up copying what already exists. Yes, nothing out there is completely original, I don't think I need to explain that but it's the way those existing things are put together and it shouldn't always be used to excuse any kind of 'theft'. A website is and can be something very personal. something that shows who someone is, what they like, what they do. If someone would copy almost everything I set up, including graphics, my art, my photos, my characters, I would feel incredibly awful about that. Kinda like someone wants to steal my identity in a way and make it theirs. I never had that happen with code, but with art (drawing) and charater design. The thing is most of the time people confuse inspiration and just do rip offs, but with no bad intent, I think it's kind of important to educate people a little about this however. using things is fine, stealing is not.

It just starts to get bad when you literally copy a person's ?'self'? and call it a day. y`know you recreate, or just take a big junk without doing anything on your own. not only is this super uncreative but quite disrespectful as well. Not a single soul is bothered if you recreate a css animation on your button, use the same green red text gradient for your title or do the same rainbow box shadow trick.   
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2023, 12:37:26 am »

Talking exclusively personally, I couldn't care less.

In fact, I encourage it. Take what you want from whatever I create and do whatever you see fit, whether that's from my coding, my art, my writing, or whatever! The only hard line I draw with my own stuff is that I want no corpo/professional/AI business dealing with any of my stuff, but hobbyists and whatnot are free to take my stuff and run wild.

I think it's mostly because anything I create is solely for myself, and as such I'm not posting it for anyone but myself. Therefore, whatever happens to the things I create after posting them online for sharing purposes only is up to the net, y'know? Though I always respect other peoples boundaries when it comes to credit/usage, I just don't care for it myself. I'm content in knowing that my content is mine.
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2023, 03:12:01 am »

Personally, I'd be somewhat shocked if anyone ripped off my website - it's all pieced together from guides, help from discord and those website makers anyway!  :ok: Not like there's much to rip off, html/css wise. I would be somewhat offended if someone took the content of these sites, but then again w/ my special interest fansites I often take quotes from the wiki to fill them with until I feel inspired to write my own thing OTL I think the only thing that would truly offend me is if I made something from scratch that was taken, or if it was my exact words e.g a blog post ripped to another site.
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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2023, 01:02:22 pm »

if it bothers you there is most likely a better hobby for you than web design, because there is nothing you can do about it. :P
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