Is it illegal to reproduce another website design?

Jules wrote:
> *Is it illegal to reproduce another website design both for personal and commercial purpose?*

it’s been said that if you steal from one, it’s plagiarism, but if you steal from many, it’s research (picasso reportedly said “good artists copy, great artists steal”). copying other websites is part and parcel of the growth and development of the internet. i can’t imagine the massive explosion of websites without people stealing designs, code and other stuff from people ad nauseum. i, for one, love wget as a tool, one of the single most useful ways to get stuff from websites. that said, there is a line, typically that line is drawn between copying someone else’s work so that you can create something new & original and copying someone else’s work so you don’t have to put the effort in. the operational word here is “transformative”, as in, is your work transformative in nature? if you’re exactly copying apple or endgadget, you’ll run afoul of trademark & copyright law. there is no legal definition or consistent precedence set here, your best bet will be to hire a lawyer. if you think that’s too expensive, consider how much it’ll cost when (not if) apple or engadget come after you for stealing their design.

here are some relevant articles.

Copying Web Design: How Much Is Too Much?
http://www.inc.com/magazine/20010315/22247.html

Design Theft – The Webmaster’s Recourse
http://www.sitepoint.com/article/theft-webmasters-recourse

Copyright on the Web
Part 1: Being on the Web Doesn’t Make it Public Domain – Protect Your Rights
http://webdesign.about.com/od/copyright/a/aa081700a.htm

HTH,
randy

– Randall Noval
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