Getting Ripped Off

On February 27, 2008, in Stuff, by Josh Hallett

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I think people that say that haven’t had their work ripped off. Recently my friends at cnp_studio found an agency that completely ripped off a web project they did. Sean writes about how BMW Marketing Consultants stole everything, images, HTML, CSS from a project.

They’ve contacted the offending party and they feel what they’ve done is perfectly fine. Nice. What would you do in a situation like this?


7 Responses to Getting Ripped Off

  1. Sounds like rather blatant copyright infringement (hopefully they had a copyright sign on their pages). If the work was for a client, I would inform them of the offense. All of the work we do is a work for hire, so legally (I will definitely double check with our attorney) once the work is turned over, it is the sole property of our client. If they chose to litigate, then so be it.

  2. Josh Morgan says:

    exactly what you are doing and encourage others to do the same.

  3. Chip Griffin says:

    Robert, the copyright symbol is optional, as I understand it from my legal friends. But you touch on the key point and that is how the contract was worded. If it was work for hire and entirely owned by the Kelly Homes, then they are the aggrieved party. Reading the post, I don’t think BMW Marketing was the client, although I could also read it in such a way that cnp was a subcontractor, in which case BWM could be within its rights to reuse the design elements.
    The devil, as they say, is in the details.

  4. Nick Gernert says:

    The work was definitely for hire between Kelly Homes and CNP. Bonnie, who was our contact at Kelly Homes during the project, left KH towards the end of the project to focus on her consulting business (BMW). There was no agreement between CNP and BMW.
    As is stated in any agreement on our work…
    The copyright to any Web site designed and produced by cnp_studio pursuant to this Agreement shall be owned by CLIENT. CLIENT will be assigned all rights of use thereto once final payment pertaining to such project has been received by cnp_studio from CLIENT.
    KH is well within their rights to do with the design what they choose, no one else. Flagrant plagiarism of our work is rare (or at least we rarely catch it) so “next steps” are a little fuzzy for us. As I understand it, Robert is right… it’s KH’s responsibility to really push the issue.

  5. Peter Kim says:

    #1 google result for bmw marketing consultants now

  6. John Stavely says:

    Sad…seems more and more folks are seeing the Web as a free resource library or “in the Public Domain”. Credit must be given where credit is due. Bad Karma.

  7. Chip Griffin says:

    Nick, great clarification, thanks. Clearly KH is the one that would have to pick a fight if it chose to do so. Legally, CNP is not a victim here (even though it may feel that way).

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