Your Trial has Expired

Piracy at Loose-with-the-Intellectual-Property-of-Other's-Grey-Matter.com

trial.htm or not, something about this just doesn’t sit right with me. ShaunInman.com has a new policy towards people who would pirate this site—including its CSS and distinct visual treatments (that means buttons too): a screenshot will be taken and posted along with the offending link and as much information about the perpetrator I can find in the minute I waste looking at a bastardization of my creative work and intellectual property. Additionally the violators name will be added to a running list in the comments of my main CSS file to serve as a warning to those who would do the same.

If you want to learn from my CSS and HTML (there really are better sources for such things) that’s great, please don’t let this dissuade you. Just don’t be foolish enough to post it to your web server, change only the author and content meta tags, and then go clicking on links to my sites (hello, remember ShortStat?)

So congratulations Matthew Belitsky of Withlime.net and LucidMatter.com for being the scallywag that broke the camel’s back (btw Matt, your FormMail processing plan on Withlime has expired).

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sIFR sucks?
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Dealing with ripoffs
Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
January 14th, 2005 at 8:31 am
Categories
The Site
CSS
Design
Web
Comments
057 (Now closed)

057 Comments

001

Man, this guy is intelligent! At the very least, if you steal someone’s site, change the links so people don’t find you in their referrers. That’s like Site Theft 101. The web community is very close knit, especially with popular sites. This guy couldn’t have hoped to get far at all. C’mon!

Author
Jason Santa Maria
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 4:18 am
002

This genius even left your logo/name mark up in the left corner!? Brilliant…

Glad you found him.

Author
Kyle Stauffer
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 4:34 am
003

What about legal measures? I imagine it would be enough to have your lawyer send out letters… although there have been unfortunate cases.

Author
Gabriel Mihalache
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 4:38 am
004

What a genius. He took down the style sheet, but your name is still plastered all over the page.

Author
Jared
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 4:39 am
005

He left your name at the very bottom even! “ 2004 Shaun Inman” I truly hope he does “expand internationally”. But not the way he wants to. Everyone will know what a fake he is now. Possibly even his clients.

Author
Ray
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 4:42 am
006

That would tick me off as well. I remember this happen to someone else on my blog roll (can’t remember who) and they changed the main background image that the person was using for the site to some gay porn image because the offender was just linking to the images off his site. And used a different image for his site so the offending site had a gay porn backgournd and his site was normal. Hilarious!!

I guess you could look at it this way in that he thought you had something worth stealing! Nobody, has thought my site was worth stealing yet. :( But, I’m finishing a new version today maybe so it might be theft worthy. However, I hope no one steals it.

Author
Brent O'Connor
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 4:48 am
007

I’ve run into this myself. It really sucks… I like abusing that word you may have noticed.

Anyway, I can’t believe that some are so naive as to do copy and paste job on someone else’s work. It’s just a stunningly shallow and dimwitted thing to do.

Author
Egor Kloos
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 4:52 am
008

This is almost as funny as the guy who took Hicks Design lock stock and barrel a few months back, changed the colours and hoped nobody would notice. :)

Author
Martin
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 4:56 am
009

That’s one of the stupidiest things I’ve ever seen. Stealing a site design… and leaving the original site URI…

pathetic.

Author
Remi P.
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 5:02 am
010

OK, I can understand the fury if this was on a public site (yes I know it is viewable publicly - but maybe it was his test platform?), but shouldn’t you get in contact with the dude first and see what the deal is before opening him to the anger of other developers?

Maybe he copied your css to his server so that he could practice with CSS from different locations? Maybe cos he hadn’t got a link to this page anywhere that he thought no one would find it - and that he doesn’t know enough to think about referrer information?

If you contact him and he flagrantly tells you to go jump, then burn him for sure, but wouldn’t it be good to give him a chance?

I think your style is ace Shaun, to be learned from, but not copied. If he had released this as his own site ((although a complete muppet would leave all the copyright and logo stuff in) then I’d be joining the ‘burn him alive’ crowd…

Maybe this Matthew guy needs help? Maybe someone should tell him about password protecting folders so that he can do practice without causing such an uproar?

Please don’t flame me, I just like to think that not all people are lazy and devious (just the ones I work with :0))

Author
Les
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 5:10 am
011

Not cool…

is there more to the story? Did you email him or try to contact him before the public trial began? While I can’t imagine how infuriating this must be is it possible he was simply trying to learn design through imitation? Or was he putting the site forward as his own work?

Granted, you shouldn’t take someone’s design, it could be possible that he didn’t intend this page to be seen.

I could be way off base here, and I think stealing in any form is bad, but I would be interested to hear more of the story

Author
Dan
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 5:18 am
012

Les expressed my thoughts exactly with a lot more eloquence.

Got to learn to type faster……

Author
Dan
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 5:19 am
013

I’ve thought of all of those things Les (and I wouldn’t think of flaming you.) I’m sensitive to the fact that this isn’t his forward facing site and said as much in my post. I also mentioned that his contact form doesn’t work and I’m certainly not going to waste my entire morning IMing him.

Direct communication with the people who have pirated my site does nothing to ensure that someone else won’t do it again. Each time someone new does it, I have the same conversation and hours are wasted in back and forth emails and pathetic excuses. I’m hoping a more public approach will better communicate that this practice—on mine and other sites—will not be tolerated.

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 5:24 am
014

Come off it - that is so obviously NOT an attempt to pirate this site; do you seriously think that he would put that up as a legitimate design without at least changing the logo and section names?

It’s just some kid trying out his new webspace by putting up a copy of your site and writing himself up as an international designer just to see how it looks. Hopefully he will learn a little from your CSS for when he builds his own site.

Brent - are you referring to sidesh0w, which had its design ‘borrowed’ and went off on a similar self-righteous tirade to Shaun until he found out that it was never intended to be seen by anyone?

Author
Matthew Pennell
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 5:28 am
015

I’ve had my fair share of rips in my time so I know how you feel. However I’m wondering if this is actually technically a rip (yet). It doesn’t look as though this page is linked to from his site and it’s only one page, rather than a whole site.

It could be that you’ve caught him early and he was planning to drop in different images and eventually pass the site off as his own. However it’s probably more likely that he’s posted it on on his server as a test page and didn’t think that anybody would actually find it.

I know it’s incredibly frustrating when you think your designs have been stolen, but it’s probably worth a quick email just to see what the deal is.

Author
Andy Budd
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 5:36 am
016

Well, I agree with Les and Shaun. Obviously, the lad didn’t expect it to be seen, but on the same level, he should have made efforts for it -not- to be seen.

I know that I wouldn’t want my site (as poor as it is) copied, but regardless of how flattering it -could- be, it can still be very irritating. The site isn’t referencing the CSS anymore, for whatever reason, and no doubt Matt feels like a schlob.

I believe Shaun is justified in making his post, and I also feel that the posting of that page was not intended for public consumption. His main site is powered by Movable Type, so I imagine he is trying to play with a more personalized approach to blogging/webspace.

-t

Author
Terry Tolleson
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 5:42 am
017

Looks like a test page to me. The guy is learning CSS and must have thought “Oh this is the kind of page I need for my site, let’s see if I can tweak the CSS a bit to fit my design and put my own images”. Or may be I’m an innocent fool :)

Author
Totoro
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 6:09 am
018

A little off topic, but you did mention it in your post. Are you still working on ShortStat? Any news on a new and improved version?

Author
Josh
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 6:10 am
019

Same happen to me…. how did I know, well there was a referer in my stats that said http://localhost/theirsitename/ so I went to their site name and it was exactly to a t a site I had done with a change in color scheme. My client was pissed.

I contacted my lawyer to see what could be done…and the sad part is, is not much. Most of time with these theifs you are dealing with international law, and unless you want to risk spending tones of cash, you will not get far.

BUT A BLOG….. You just killed this designer for the next while… sorry not designer thief, Great work!.

Author
dan
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 6:25 am
020

Shaun, I can completely understand your frustration - although I can’t sympathise from experience - I doubt anyone would rip my site at the moment :0)

It’d be nice to see if you get any contact from Matthew either by email or on this post…

Author
Les
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 6:32 am
021

Bad: Representing someone else’s design as your own.

Not Bad: Posting someone else’s page to your website where you don’t think anyone will find it. And he didn’t even change the copyright information!

Shaun, I highly respect your work, but maybe an apology is in order, here?

When developers willfully steal our material, they deserve our scorn.

Otherwise, they deserve our support.

Author
Trent
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 7:07 am
022

I really like the happy puppy approach. Seriously.

I wonder if it’s possible to use an .htaccess file in the same way you’d block others from remotely calling your files, but instead, simply serve up a different file if it was being called remotely. So, for instance, this image:

/images/header.gif

… would actually be served this image:

/happypuppies/header.gif

… if it were being called remotely.

The only thing is that you’d have to make pretty damned sure that’s the only time people would be served those images! And not to mention, you’d have to go fetch some happy puppy images…

Author
Mike D.
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 7:21 am
023

To you know who you are,

Do not post Matthew’s home address and phone number. That’s just not cool.

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 7:27 am
024

Yep, I found his site through UsableType referrers before I saw your post Shaun. He must have been interested in knowing how IFR worked! ;) Imagine my excitement as I headed over here to tell you: but you’d already sussed him.

There’s not really any excuse for this. Okay, perhaps he’s doing some testing, but at the end of the day he’s advertising your design as his and trying to get work out of it. Maybe he meant no one to see it: but why the heck is it live on the web? And if he’s clicking links off it to our refferer stats, what’s he expect to happen. No one to find it?

Author
Andrew Hume
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 7:38 am
025

I agree, Andrew: there really is no excuse for this — if you know what you’re doing. It takes a while to really grok that “on the web” means exactly that.

I remember posting a new site design (of my own, to clarify) on a completely new domain that was registered 24 hours earlier. I added a link blog and posted a link to Gruber’s site. I made the mistake of clicking on that link during testing… and voila! He peruses his referrers quite regularly, and later that same day he links to an article I posted to my blog — on the new domain — before I’d even told my wife about the new site, or finished it, for that matter.

So this guy grabs shaun’s site, posts it somewhere “safe” and starts playing around. Maybe he would have used it, who knows? (He states that his new site is going live on the 22nd). But until then, this isn’t pirating, it’s playing around without recognizing the consequences that people, including the site’s original author, are going to see it.

Author
Trent
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 7:53 am
026

“but at the end of the day he’s advertising your design as his and trying to get work out of it.”

Hey t’s only a damn lonely page with “shaunInman.com” still written everywhere, not a whole ripoff website! Telle me where is the self promotion. Just a page with broken links everywhere, on a domain name baught on 17-dec-2004.

Seems to me it’s a test page for his upcoming OWN design… By the way he was probably testing SIFR by taking a code exemple at the source, and BAM!

Author
Totoro
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 7:54 am
027

Totoro: I didn’t know that when I first saw the site (before reading Shaun’s post) and I didn’t click on any links. I immeadiately assumed it was a rip because: It was live on the web, it said it was a new site, and people (at least 3) had clicked through to one of my sites from it.

Someone could have hired him for some design on the strength of Shaun’s work. It’s a rip. Anyway…

Author
Andrew Hume
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 8:04 am
028

Oh yeah…

A lot of people have been testing sIFR recently. You don’t have to stick all Shaun’s XHTML, CSS, images on your own server to do that, and you certainly don’t have to change the text to advertise your own business. Blimey… are you his lawyer or something?

Author
Andrew Hume
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 8:08 am
029

I really like the happy puppy approach. Seriously.

Wow, what a shocker. Mike D. likes him some happy puppies. Big surprise there.

:)

Author
Jeff Croft
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 8:16 am
030

I’m going to stay out of the main topic of this post, since I think it’s best to know both sides of the story. Instead, I’ll help Mike D. out with his happy puppy htaccess desires:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://(www.)?offendingsite.com.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule images/(.*)$ /happypuppies/brandon.jpg

Just replace “offendingsite” with your image theif’s domain.

Author
Vinnie Garcia
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 8:54 am
031

it’s too bad he didn’t hot link you… you could’ve had a field day with that.

Also, with Shaun’s permission, can I submit this to pirated-sites.com ?

This guy really needs more publicity.

Author
Dustin Diaz
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 8:59 am
032

A finished site should be ready by January 21st, 2005 as it will be featured in the Montreal Gazette on that day. Check out Matt in ‘The Look’ section. - from Lucid Matter

=; Someone procrastinated a bit too much, perhaps?

Sorry to hear your site got kncked though, although, I can see why it attracts illigitamate lovers. ;D

Author
Joel
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 9:02 am
033

Let’s leave the “happy puppies” talk at the pound, guys. It’s bad enough my last name is “in-man.” Thanks.

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 9:04 am
034

People just don’t get it. The internet might be huge, but the webdesign world is miniscule in comparison. There are maybe 20 sites frequented by the vast majority of designers, and Shauninman.com happens to be one. I’ve seen even more brazen rips. For instance, k10k.net has been ripped numerous times. When it happens to friends, I often point them to pirated-sites. Maybe its worth it to flash them an email.

Author
Gordon
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 9:27 am
035

Let’s leave the “happy puppies” talk at the pound, guys. It’s bad enough my last name is “in-man.” Thanks.

No problem, and thanks for fixing the code.

Author
Vinnie Garcia
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 9:29 am
036

Hey Vinnie, thanks for the puppy love. How would you do it so that any foreign referrers would get the puppies though? (as opposed to a particular thief you may have singled out)

Author
Mike D.
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 9:51 am
037

I would have an easier time believing this was just someone experimenting if the dude hadn’t changed the modern.php file to include his url just after the contact details. Now, to me, that implies a certain amount of ownership and crosses the [thin] line between theft and experimentation.

Author
R. Marie Cox
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 9:58 am
038

I agree with Les. Submit this to pirated-sites? Surely not…

Author
ross
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 9:58 am
039

Hey Vinnie, thanks for the puppy love. How would you do it so that any foreign referrers would get the puppies though? (as opposed to a particular thief you may have singled out)

Like so:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www.)?example.com/ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteRule images/(.*)$ /happypuppies/brandon.jpg

Replace example with your own domain.

I think we should stop puppying up Shaun’s comments though.

Author
Vinnie Garcia
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 10:10 am
040

just noticed this in your css:

/**************************************************************************
Thank you for taking an interest in my CSS.  If you have questions as to 
how a particular layout technique was achieved please first search my site 
for an explanation. If you cannot find an explanation feel free to contact 
me directly using the Communicate form on this site. Cheers.

Please don't make the same mistakes as:
Matthew Belitsky
- http://www.shauninman.com/mentary/past/your_trial_has_expired.php

Communicate: http://www.shauninman.com/municate/
**************************************************************************/
@import url(/css/header.css);
@import url(/css/navigation.css);
@import url(/css/general.css);
@import url(/css/post.css);
@import url(/css/sidebar.css);
@import url(/css/mute.css);

boy you’re quick

Author
Dustin Diaz
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 10:54 am
041

There is no excuses for ripping off someones design. It is really low. I can go along with someone copying a really cool part of the design and modifying it a bit. But copying the whole site’s desing is really disgusting.

Author
Jon Berg
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 11:31 am
042

I hate to say this, as I just found a ripped sit eand reported it yesterday. But it seems some of us web developers get a little overzealous in regards to pirated design. It sucks I’m sure (although I’ve only had pieces of mine stolen ever)… but I think handling this in an open forum invites some rather vindictive ideas. As developers in an open and worldwide community I do think it’s our job to communicate with others in the field professionally (in this case one on one — or wait to see if his design on the 22nd looked too familiar).

I’ve yet to hear of an instance where fame or fortune overlooked the truly gifted in the field. And we all know how each new work is a derivitive of something out there whether conscious or not.

I actually feel for Matthew on this one, so long as he did intend only to test, and hope in the future we develop better ways to handle such events.

Author
Lee
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 11:42 am
043

I understand why you are upset, but look at the bright side. Someone liked your work enough to take it (for what ever reason it was). You should be flattered. All great creations are stolen at some point. After Apple OS came Microsoft Windows, after Pokemon came Digimon. Be happy your work got deboted, it say’s something about your talent.

Author
Danny
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 12:37 pm
044

Not meaning to SPAM your comments Shaun (delete if you wish), but this just happened to me… :(

Author
Malarkey
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 1:07 pm
045

It seems this wasn’t his first offence… Is This An Apology?

Author
Jimini
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 1:48 pm
046

It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Copying is a more extreme form of flattery perhaps - sincere or not, it’s still wrong. ;) I’ve had my work ripped before as well, and it’s both disappointing and frustrating at the same time.

However, it is also a testament to your skills - be it design, code or otherwise.

It also makes me glad we have resources like pirated-sites.com.

Author
Scott Schiller
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 1:49 pm
047

I forgot to mention - I had someone recently tell me, he found out a client of his paid someone for a javascript snow effect .. turns out it was my SnowStorm project, which is free and for anyone to use as such.

(Side thought: I’m not sure if that link worked in the preview thing when I was typing it out.)

That made me actually angry, because the client had paid money for something which they cannot “own”, in addition to misrepresentation on the developer’s part etc.

It ended well, the client was refunded his $25 or whatever it was and everyone was happy. Except for the developer, who said he contracted someone to write this script for him - go figure. ;)

Author
Scott Schiller
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 1:55 pm
048

MATT RESPONDS TO ALLEGATIONS:

I never used the “copy” of his webspace for professional purposes. If you notice, it was on a “trial.html” page not my main index! That would be thievery.

I was mearly trying to figure out how the site was put together for insight for my “future” site. It may have been easier just to ask the designer, Shaun, but I decided to be creative. Anyway, I wasn’t publically displaying the “trial” site to anyone.

Basically, instead of manipulating the code on the hard drive of my computer to find what I was looking for, I posted a “mock” version online.

Since then I have removed all of Shaun’s content from my site. And I was never using the site layout “officially” nor was I planning on ripping him off.

Additionally, the so called “text” was just me inputting Movabletype code into his index page. The entry I created was just a test, not official or anything.

Don’t you think that if I intended to rip him off that I would GET RID OF HIS LOGOS? LOL — This has been blown way out of proportion. I should be praised for being curious as to how the site was constructed (very well, I might add).

Finally, if you want to share your two cents with me, email me or visit my website. WIthlime.net

A final version of Lucid|Matter.com will be available on Thursday. Your design input is appreciated.

Author
Matt of Withlime.net and Lucid|Matter.com
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 2:14 pm
049

Funny how no one seems to care about RIPPING OFF other people’s MUSIC or MOVIES or SOFTWARE, etc …

How many of us actually PURCHASED our copies of Photoshop…or EVERY song in our iPods?

“Let him who is WITHOUT sin cast the first stone…”

Author
Joshua
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 2:24 pm
050

Funny how no one seems to care about RIPPING OFF other people’s MUSIC or MOVIES or SOFTWARE, etc …

harsh yet true, especially

How many of us actually PURCHASED our copies of Photoshop

Dave Shea asked if he should be responsible to consider someone else’s feelings when said person was not concerned with his? Like I mentioned on his site. Yeah, actually. How else will the world get to be a better place, or the Internet for that matter?

All this to say I didn’t necessarily disagree with what Shaun and Dave said.

And Matt, while perhaps you never intended to rip anyone off “officially” you still obviously pissed Shaun off and you might want to come off a bit more humble than that post - hoping you emailed him personally…

Author
Philip
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 4:02 pm
051

I can’t help but feel that Matt’s response is a touch nonchalant. Nobody deserves “praise” for reverse engineering a site, no matter how good the resulting code will be, and suggesting such is just ludicrous. Perhaps a hall of shame Shaun?

Author
Steve Hubbard
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 5:41 pm
052

you still obviously pissed Shaun off and you might want to come off a bit more humble than that post - hoping you emailed him personally…

I did, without response. Go figure.

AND GUYS, STOP SENDING ME EMAILS ABOUT HOW THIS POST (yes the one you’re reading from) IS ABOUT ME. Guys, I figured it out.

Author
Matt of Withlime and LucidMatter.com
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 5:51 pm
053

=; Someone procrastinated a bit too much, perhaps?

My site is done. It will be released on Thursday the 20th, not Friday. But anyway… whatever.

Author
Matt of Withlime and LucidMatter.com
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 5:56 pm
054

Hey Matt, got caught with your pants down. Just admit it. How easy is it to put the markup on your local drive? Thats like putting up a kinkos sign at your office max store. It is public when anyone with a browser can view it, wether its up front or not. Its “web standards” matt not “web stealers”

Author
Paul Redmond
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 8:45 pm
055

C’mon, how about innocence until proven guilty. Especially when the evidence points to legal, educational use on the guy’s part (non-homepage, single page only, no intentional links to it, no attempt to switch brand and logos, type of filename) — so really, if you consider the damage this blog could do to the guy on google’s index, what this boils down to is slander. IANAL.

Author
Adrian D.
Posted
Jan 14th, 2005 11:24 pm
056

I remember someone ripped off a site I made, but I didn’t realise until I checked my webstats. The guy had literally downloaded the html, and continued to use the css/images on my server.

What else could i do?

body { color: yellow; font-size: 200%; background-color: pink; }

Author
Andrew Donaldson
Posted
Jan 15th, 2005 12:12 am
057

I got pirated too but I had some fun with it. The thief was linking to my css and images so I used some css trickery to present an animated gif of a semi-naked guy in the background ;) I’m so immature! :P

Author
John Serris
Posted
Jan 15th, 2005 3:12 am