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Help needed guys

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Neil_L, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. Neil_L

    Neil_L Well-Known Member

    Okay, so as some of you will know here, I've been having my website designed of late. Its far from finished - there are gremlins and probably only 1/4 of the final images on there. I sourced ideas and thoughts from all over the place and in particular, contacted one nameless photographer who's front page I liked and based on the email correspondence we had I went ahead and used the same black background, font, font colours and lines.

    Anyway, she's now threatening legal action due to the similarity of the front pages.

    Please could you guys have a look at my front page and see if you can suggest any subtle layout changes? I want to keep the main theme of having a changing image at the front, and title across the top but I'm really open to suggestions about how to make it look different. I've looked at it so many times I'm just not seeing past the initial draft at the moment!


    Its www.imagesworldwide.com

    Cheers, Neil :D
  2. Bawbee

    Bawbee Well-Known Member

    Hi Neil,

    The layout looks good to me and I especially like the changeover to each page.

    Surely there is mo way in the world that anyone can expect to have exclusive rights to the design of a website. To save any hassle, why not just change the font or place a small logo at the top left of each page?
  3. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member


    I have to agree...this person thinks she has legal claim to the sole use of a black background and that font?? I dont think so.

    The page looks good imo...but perhaps a couple of small changes might get her off your back.

    In any case, it's not like you are trying to steal her photographs or anything.

  4. AlanW

    AlanW Well-Known Member

    Just had a quick look Neil, and my first thought was that it looks like a lot of other websites out there (my own included) so I don't see what legal action she can take.

    As an aside, I get the occasional email from a photographer in Holland who liked my street photos, so much in fact that he went out and bought the same camera and lenses that I use (28/50/100) and created a site roughly the same as mine at the time . . . . should I sue? No, I felt a bit flattered and had a smile to myself, life's too short.

    In your case, I think she's bluffing, she may feel a bit miffed but she'll get over it.

  5. Bettina

    Bettina Well-Known Member

    Black background. Sounds very familiar. For the record: I do deny it is me trying to sue him. :rolleyes:

    I do like the wording of your contact page - might swipe that one!

    I think your site looks great but it's difficult to give advice if we don't know the other photographer's site.
  6. gazraa

    gazraa Well-Known Member

    how about a horizontal menu along the top rather than at the side?
    or maybe change the colour of the top or bottom bit, or the middle bit background to something different... just a few options that might work... or they might not :)

    if she is saying the design is hers then although it might not stand up in court, there might be potential damage to your name/site name if she kicks up a stink about it.
  7. Neil_L

    Neil_L Well-Known Member

    I know its difficult without seeing her site too. Her husband is a solicitor, hence the worry on my part - it means that he can take out an injunction to stop me using the site without the prohibitive cost that you or I would have. I'd have no way of defending such an outrageous over reaction.

    I'm thinking of changing the font, and maybe boxing up the menu list and changing / moving the copyright stuff, then it looks less like specifically her site, more like many general sites out there...
  8. Neil_L

    Neil_L Well-Known Member

    the site for comparison is karen mcbride dot com - yes its very similar, but I asked first, and although I'm comfortable having taken legal advice that I'm not "passing off" her site / work / name, I'm unclear about the murky world of copyright on the design - all my coding was written for me from scratch and not taken from any existing source...
  9. Salazar

    Salazar In the Stop Bath

    Sounds like sour grapes to me. In this world of sue first ask questions latter some people will try anything on.

    Check to see if any of the coding in her site and yours is the same. OK OK its all HTML so it will be the same. (Joke)

    But I think you get my drift.

    Edited, Just put the two side by side. Nothing like each other.

    I suggest you state that you are going to sue for defemation or whatever.
  10. Bawbee

    Bawbee Well-Known Member

    Karen Who?

    Quite similar but nothing to be afraid of legally, in my opinion, I would go ahead with what you have.
  11. RonM

    RonM Alpha Napper

    Well, according to her own site, the design belongs to -http://www.onlineactive.co.uk/ therefore if anyone would have a beef re breach of copyright it should be the design company. Like others have said make a change to the font and thats it, her site is not that much different to others that are on the net so I wouldn't be too bothered.
  12. Neil_L

    Neil_L Well-Known Member

    Bettina, if you do I'll have to sue!!!!!! Ooh, that rhymes! :D
  13. mags

    mags Well-Known Member

    ...I think people are so strange these days, I mean threats to sue because she feels ...I don't know :D...what is wrong with people? if you want to see true petty mindedness though..go to ebay forums, there are people there screaming legal action over 40p postage :eek:...I'd tell her to get a life....but then I'd probably get sue'd...Good luck with it all...just a thought but you could surgest you'd mount a case against her as a vexatious litigant? ( Can't spell it but I can say it :D)
  14. Ashton Lamont

    Ashton Lamont In the Stop Bath

    There's nothing unusual about her site.

    This question comes up regularly on digitalweddingforum.com

    Its absolutely common practice to check out existing sites whilst designing ones own. Whyever wouldn't it be. Some folks then go on to copy the code in its entirity just substituting their own name contact details and images.

    There have been many instances where even the text has remained the same, and a few cases where the images themselves were copied. The image copying sometimes has been deliberate and sometimes has been due to incompetence. In one case the original images had been left in as places-holders whilst design was ongoing.

    Based on the reported outcome of a recent high profile UK photographers case there is very little if anything the website owner can do. Even if actual images are copied and passed off as one's own the legal situation was that the owner would have to prove actual financial loss and compensation would be limited to that amount. In other words it was hardly worth the effort. The course of action was for the website owner to tackle the hosting service of the offending website, and also if the "infringer" is in any trade bodies to ask them to intervene.

    Legal eagles firing off writs or whatever only reinforces the widely held opinion that they are the lowest form of life. The implied consequences may be nothing like the reality.

    However I do think you should show a little more imagination in your own design. Even if the other owner has no case (more's the pity, imagine being on the other side) it still will not reflect well on you if you are trying to carve a place in the business and you blatently copy another successful (?) site.
  15. Salazar

    Salazar In the Stop Bath

    If you do decide to sue , look up for a realy expenseive baraister somone like Mrs Blair. That will shut her up. :D
  16. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    Yes, there is similarity but I think that the problem is because you are both promoting yourselves as doing the same style of photography (concert photography seems to be the main theme in both) and have similar websites as well. Couldn't you have asked to copy somebody's web site who does something like knitting and there wouldn't be any conflict of interest?

    FTR, you say the she has agreed to certain things - do you have this in writing or verbally? There is only so much you can do with web page layout and so fonts and colours are limited and chosen to be commonly available on most platforms. Has anybody ever sued anybody else yet for using the same FrontPage design?

    There might be subtle changes you can make to your site to make it look different without affecting the functionality too much. I'd change the colour of the ruling lines to be different to hers. Change the font and text colour a little (it looks like grey at the moment). Even invert the colours - white rules with buff text. Change the roll-over appearance on the menu, maybe move it to the right-hand side. Menus look better on the left but ergonomically work better on the right.

    Maybe best of all is to devise something on your site that is much better than hers showing that it isn't a rip-off but a serious development in its own right.
  17. Neil_L

    Neil_L Well-Known Member

    True, but the similarity is black background, similar tool bar, same font and similar colour border around images, same copyright notice (which I'm changing anyway!) - the rest is different!

    Do you happen to have a link to that UK case you mention Pete? Would be useful to see...

    Thanks, Neil
  18. Neil_L

    Neil_L Well-Known Member

    Thanks David. Yes, I think it needs some subtle changes - change of font, copyright notice, removing the rule lines and maybe boxing up the menu bar rather than having lines in between. At least that won't take long / cost much to have redone.

    I do have everything in writing and have written back to her husband rebutting all his claims and requests - some of which are wild - like removing my site from the internet and destroying the code!!!

    I'm hoping once the images are all on there the site will speak for itself. Maybe she just doesn't like the competition - no that's a joke - whilst we've photographed a few of the same bands, we operate in completely different markets and cities!
  19. Chilly

    Chilly Well-Known Member

    As an aside; nice site! For my 2p can I suggest some padding (margin) in the main text box so that the text doesn't touch the menu. Other than that, sounds like a lot of good advice knocking around from the regulars...
  20. SiFowler

    SiFowler Well-Known Member

    My experience of solicitors in work (the bank) is that they often threaten because people are scared to answer back. My last spat with a local solicitor was that if I didn't accept his authority over my bosses, he would pass on all charges to me. I wrote back saying thanks, but if I wouldn't accept his charges until he supplied the required documentation and then only I caused any delays. In the end he supplied the documents, and I did the job. I know it's not clear cut, but they do try to bully. And I did have the support of a much bigger financial institution behind me with no likely financial risk to me!

    Criminal lawyers are much nicer. My next door neighbour is one and is one of the most easy going guys I've ever met. I needed to dig up his drive to lay a new pipeline for my new oil central heating. It cost me a bottle of wine, which he reluctantly accepted.

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