Pirated for Breakfast

Avast Neil Oughton! Another pirated site? Yawn. It’s a tired topic, I know, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less incensed about it. My graphics are worth lifting but he can’t be bothered to link me as a “Hot Read” or in his “Personal Bookmarks?” Funny that. I almost feel obligated to inform his employer of this indiscretion. He could be a liability if he pulled this kind of stunt on the job.

And the best part? From his most recent entry, “…if web standards are the way forward, they are too hard to implement.” Complaining about how hard it was to pirate my site? Brilliant.

Thanks go to Billy for catching this as it went through his amazingly useful (for those without Macs) iCapture.

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Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
March 22nd, 2004 at 9:13 am
Categories
The Site
Design
Comments
024 (Now closed)

024 Comments

001

What are we looking at thats pirated, if I may ask. As far as I remember, vodkaforbreakfast has been around some time…

Author
Ben
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 5:54 am
002

It looks like a recent redesign—maybe even as recent as today.

  • The background image contains the exact same gradient. The graphic has been made slightly wider and the white border on either side is 1px thicker but it’s a direct rip of both the inner and outer gradients as well as the grey rule.
  • The header and footer treatments with the diagonal lines. It’s a common treatment but far too similar in weight and contrast.
  • The contact form treatment is suspiciously similar to my own treatments.
Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 6:01 am
003

Clearly a past history of this sort of thing, a majority of his style treatments seem to be lifted from others. Navigation on top with that silly CSS rollover block thing, email form on the contact page. I know i’ve seen the graphic next to “Rather Enjoying” elsewhere as well.

Author
billy
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 6:16 am
004

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen those icons before. A Flash design portal maybe? Can’t quite put my finger on it…

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 6:21 am
005

Shaun, I couldn’t agree with you more. It seems as though this current redesign is a mixture of elements from others sites put together in a breakfast soup. The result is a site that doesn’t flow very well. Perhaps you should just give him an email ring and see what he has to say about it. Lates!

Author
Justin Goodlett
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 7:29 am
006

The icons look like they come from rad-e8.com - I just fired Sascha an email to let him know.

Author
Kev
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 7:30 am
007

That’s the one Kev. Justin, I did email him but I haven’t heard anything back. I’m of the opinion that even if he removes the graphics it doesn’t excuse him for this abuse—if he doesn’t get called on it then there’s nothing to stop him from doing it again.

Also, someone just sent me a link to his comments page. I have not posted nor am I endorsing the things that have been said there on my behalf.

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 7:39 am
008

I’ll play devil’s advocate here for a minute…

Can you copyright a gradient?

Seriously, where does copying begin? Is every I-IV-V-IV pop song a rip of Louie, Louie? Is Norah Jones ripping off Billie Holiday with her vocal styling?

I know this has been a popular topic lately, but I really don’t think this borrowing is at the level of the material on pirated-sites.com, and I’ll go so far as to say I think there has been a little too much overreaction. He didn’t use your background image, which is why it looks like crap. He didn’t use your style sheet. He didn’t use your fonts, header styles, or any graphics beyond simple gradient effects and basic icons (clocks? notecards? these are not really original graphics, people.) He used a gradient, and a generally light grey, muted look. It has none of the beauty or elegance of this site, but calling it a pirated site is a little extreme, imo.

All designers copy at some level. Good designers are more original, and will be recognized as such - Mr. Vodka is never going to win any awards for his design. But the citation of a Poselli/Cedarholm ripoff on the navigation (in someone’s comments on his site) demonstrates this point - those nav items are a simple graphical idea, not a lot more revolutionary than a 1px border around an image, or for that matter the heavy strokes that have been popular lately. This smells an awful lot like the pettiness of the Eolas lawsuit.

Author
Eric
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 8:31 am
009

Howdy, Yes i modified your background gradient because it was a more polished version of the one i created in my last layout. Yep, some of the icons are from rad-e8. The navigation is a Dreamweaver extension and is available to everyone.

I dont feel that i particularly styled my site on yours, i just liked the back drop.

Author
Neil Vodka
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 8:49 am
010

“or any graphics beyond simple gradient effects and basic icons (clocks? notecards? these are not really original graphics, people.)”

What are you talking about? Nobody is saying a clock or notecard can’t be used by anyone, but the icons were made by somebody else - the fact they include said items is irrelevant. Someone created those icons and he’s using them without permission. If he had created his own icons using those items then nobody would have said anything.

Author
Kev
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 9:01 am
011

Neil Vodka: be more original…you’ve taken the easy way out. Can’t you create your own icons and background, among other items?

Author
Dave Bedingfield
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 9:02 am
012

I’ve only just seen your site footer. The navigation on my site outputs a thin grey line as a border bottom. I created my footer with the same thin line as the nav for aesthetic purposes.

Some things are sadly coincidence. How many blog sites use a drop shadow backdrop? How many sites have a similar nav (keeping in mind it’s a plugin)? I have at least five sites in my bookmarks that use similar nav.

If I am to say sorry for anything it is that ive caused you so much outrage when I was simply looking for a quick background solution

Author
Neil Vodka
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 9:04 am
013

Im not going to get into this but i simply used some of the icons and a background. The rest of the pages, code and graphics are original.

Author
Neil Vodka
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 9:06 am
014

oh jeez… sorry shaun, I’ll give back the font tags I stole. I needed the money.

Author
Jason Santa Maria
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 9:12 am
015

Wow. That’s great Neil but I would like you to stop using my background. More polished or not.

Not you too, Jason! Say it ain’t so! Well, I guess you can keep the green ones—I don’t need those anymore.

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 9:13 am
016

score! advantage, Jason.

Author
Jason Santa Maria
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 9:16 am
017

Thats fine Shaun although it will still be fairly similar as after all, a background gradient is simply that. But yes, i will look to change it tonight.

Author
Neil Vodka
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 9:17 am
018

You’re right about the icons…if they are identical and ripped off, I’m not excusing that. However, that said, it doesn’t strike me as particularly egregious. And its definately a matter between Neil and rad-e8. It would have been pretty simple to ask about using the background, and Shaun has every right to say “no”, though I’m still of the opinion that it isn’t really a revolutionary graphic on its own; it is how all the graphical elements work together on this site that makes it a great design, not a couple gradients and a white stroke.

Is it the actual pixels or the idea that is protected?

I attempted to get a few more thoughts out on this subject at my log. But as is obvious by my inconclusiveness there, I’m not really sure what to make of this subject. It’s difficult to say when a design gets close enough that it’s a ripoff rather than “inspired by”.

Author
Eric
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 9:25 am
019

It’s a bad practice to follow, plain and simple.

Author
Dave Bedingfield
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 9:33 am
020

Neil’s logic appears to be, “well we’re basically doing the same thing-only you’re doing it better so I’ll just take yours as my own.” It’s like he’s driving around with these rusty old rims and I come rolling through with the bling-bling. Rather than earning his own shiny rims (through hard work) he just steals mine.

It’s an imperfect analogy since my site still has its rims but it’s apt.

He wasn’t inspired by the aesthetic. He downloaded the image, inserted some white pixels in the middle to make it wider and called it his own. That’s theft. And like Eric says in his recent post it potentially devalues something I’ve spent a lot of time on.

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 9:40 am
021

so, what if someone took the idea of a centered background that had a drop shadow on it, but no gradient and no white border? How would you feel about that? I don’t have the gradient or the semi-thick white border, but I use a similar drop shadow effect on my blog.

How similar do they have to be for you to feel like he stole? I think they are incredibly similar and he did not have an original idea. I would not take images from somewhere else and plop “Site design, content and creation by Danny Cohen” on the bottom, if it was not totally true.

To the extent to which they are incredibly similar, I would have to vote for Shaun, not because he owns the idea or anything, but they are just so darn similar to each other. Although, everything else is a coincidence.

Author
Danny Cohen
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 10:15 am
022
  • “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
  • “Give credit where credit is due.”
  • “Wax on rip off”
Author
mr miyagi
Posted
Mar 22nd, 2004 7:14 pm
023

When was Designlogue v3 launched? Just paging through a book titled Fresh Styles For Web Designers by Curt Cloninger. Page 133 sports a very similar k10k.net. Book was published in August 2001… any comment?

Author
John C.
Posted
Mar 29th, 2004 4:38 pm
024

Sure John, both K10k and Designologue are visually inspired by the Classic Mac OS. That’s really all there is to say since K10k linked Designologue when it launched without crying foul play.

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Mar 30th, 2004 2:31 am