Design plagiarism – ceci n’est pas le meme site…

We worked with our content management partners Terminal Four a couple of years ago to design the interface of the National Employment Rights Authority website.

National Employment Rights Authority

The following website of a business providing employment law advice in Ireland was brought to our attention this morning:

This would seem to me to be quite clearly an act of plagiarism. When I suggested to the site owner that perhaps he had copied the design I was told that the two sites were different and that there was no similarity… and after all you couldn’t copyright page layout and images… I suddenly felt a Magritte moment coming on.

Magritte - Ceci n'est pas une pipe

The best bit of all was that the designer/developer in question hadn’t even bothered to change the HTML code. There was code in the page referring to the fact that they were mirroring the NERA website and they left in all of the comments from the Terminal 4 content management system e.g.
<!– End T4 – Page Content Template–>
We are going to take this as a compliment I think but I am not sure that the client will be taking the same view!

  • Dorothy

    Have you seen the stylesheet? It is verbatim! I’d say the site owner will nera get anyone to agree that the two sites are different.

  • Leslie

    I can’t design to save my life and was speaking to a designer recently about this telling them I needed a couple of sites re-designed. Their reply was look around and rip a design from some where else…

    What can I say, apart from the fact that I did not work with them.

  • ed

    Wow, that is pretty shocking. A line for line cog. Have they no shame?

  • tom

    The best bit was listening to the owner of the site this morning tell me that there was no such thing as copyright of colours and layout – I guess I was wrong in thinking that design was the combination of colour and interface. He then proceeded to say that they had sought legal advice before the site went live. The lawyer obviously knew what he was at…

  • tom

    I am glad to see that my protestations about the similarity of the designs have had the desired effect. has seen sense and decided to design their own site rather than copying somebody else’s work. :)

  • Pete

    I can’t remember how many times this happened to me. Some of the companies I contacted to make them aware actually accused me of ripping their site and would inform their lawyers. Some apologised and changed immediately whilst others just ignored, generally the ones outside the UK and USA where copyright law is a little more relaxed than here ;-) What can you do apart from laugh?

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