Web Slight – Misappropriation of a Site’s Layout and Appearance

AttorneyScott Commentary:

People argue that the appearance of a web site is not covered by copyright protection because it is not a tangible item. Nope. A web site is covered by copyright protection just like any other work of art. Both the programming code and the appearance of a web site are fully covered by the Copyright Act.

See below for a work created by bust + out solutions for Best Buy:

The creative folks at bust + out were miffed when they stumbled upon the below web site, which was affiliated with Deloitte, a very large consulting firm with (presumably) a substantial design budget:

What makes the situation all the more ironic is that the web site solicits new and exciting ideas.

What do you think: does Deloitte need to do some consulting of its own – with a designer possessing original ideas and/or a copyright attorney?

Too similar not to notice!

AttorneyScott Commentary:

As overseas production becomes cheaper and easier to access for U.S. companies, we are seeing more and more jewelry knock-offs coming from overseas factories and mills. Is the below such a knock-off, or just another expression of a similar idea?



I’ve been on Etsy as a seller and shopper since 2005. As the site grew, so did knock offs. Now it (still) seems commonplace!

Joanna Rutter is a UK illustrator & designer that makes darling pieces out of metal. Over the years, I’ve noticed more & more resellers selling her designs as mass-produced ‘supplies’. I even saw a few shops that blatantly state ‘I handcut these designs.. bla bla bla’. The birds, whale, cloud, umbrella & leaves are now everywhere. I’ve taken a few items from her sold section of her Etsy shop, and found the pieces resellers are hocking to the masses (from South Korea, USA & China) I contacted Joanna last year, pointing out my findings, but I never received a reply. I thought I’d bring my beef here to share & bring awareness. Joanna’s shop is at: joannarutter.etsy.com

Shame on You!

AttorneyScott Commentary:

The famed Judge and writer with the almost-too-perfect name of Learned Hand wrote once in an opinion on copyright law that “no plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate.” That is to say, if one steals he expression from another, it often doesn’t matter if additional expression is added. It is important to note, though, that if no expression is stolen, then there is no legal claim for infringement. Also, style is not something that lends itself easily to copyright protection. With those things in mind, please consider the below.



Quite a simple story.

When confronted this person http://amburgerandfries.deviantart.com/ , the artist denied that she copied http://loish.deviantart.com/ ‘s style and even denies knowing her at all

Here is only one example of many from what she does with Loish’s works:



Not only exact copies are copies. A shaken hand in a stroke can change length and size of a feature and try to mock us.

Some people that are used to recolor other’s people pictures or google’ page 1 photos change little stuff and try to disrupt the original pictures so they can both disguise and own somehow the picture they’re blatantly stealing.
If you do this and keep it to yourself you might get some learning value from it, but using it to get work or to be famous it’s not only lame but morally wrong.
People, you can be so much better than this!!


Sweet Cavities’ Ripoff or Inspiration?

AttorneyScott Commentary:

Here was have a case where the two works are different, but share a certain tonality or feel. The copyright laws protect an artist from the copying of the “total look and feel” of his or her work, but do not protect against someone else expressing the same idea in their own way. Do you see copying?



Aha! Sweet Cavities, the acclaimed “first kawaii shop in Barbados~!” It’s obviously been inspired heavily by well known QueenOfDorks who also owns a small online shop http://www.cute-plush.com/.
This particular design definitely reminded me of QueenOfDorks’ t-shirt design “I love Japanese food”, it has a few changes but still eerily similar even the phrase “おいしい” meaning delicious. Sweet Cavities is looking to sell this design on charms and t-shirts as well.


What do you think? Blatant rip or just innocent inspiration?

Sweet Cavities “おいしい” Design: http://sweet-cavities.deviantart.com/gallery/34821344#/d4v1n8d

QueenOfDorks “I love Japanese food” T-shirt design: http://queenofdorks.deviantart.com/art/I-love-japanese-food-150522630

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