Since working in the world of web design, two things have stood out above anything else about the people in this profession. The first is how much pride people take in their work. Designers are proud of their designs, putting themselves forward to showcase their own designs on award sites such as CSS Awards and CSS Mania and tweeting about their latest piece of work that has gone live. Developers make sure that their code is written so well that it’s compatible on a number of browsers and works on everything from PCs and Macs to mobile phones. The second is how supportive they are of everyone else in the industry. There are lots of “meets ups” and conferences arranged around the country for those who work in the industry, by those who work in the industry. There are sites such as Forrst and Dribbble where people share thoughts, sketches, ideas or full designs to get feedback and very often praise from others in the know and people are willing to give each other a hand for free when someone has a small coding problem, knowing that the favour will be returned if needed in the future.
This really is the norm in the industry but unfortunately there will always be exceptions to the norm…
…Twice in the last couple of months parts of our company site www.weare2ndfloor.com have been ripped off. Well, when I say “parts”, the first time someone stole part of the code (the stuff that’s written behind the scenes to make the website work). They had literally copied and pasted it to make the site they were creating work in the same way ours did. We contacted the company whose website it was and to give them their due, they were very apologetic, took their website down straight away, said they would address it with their web guy (and because of what comes next I assume they meant “sack their web guy”) and asked us for a quote! The second time this happened was last week and this time they didn’t rip off part of the site, they literally copied the whole website and changed the text, which is now in Spanish. They haven’t even changed the colours! We have added the guy who is doing this on Skype to see if he accepts the request so we can chat to him about it, he hasn’t accepted yet. The website is obviously still in development at the moment as things are still being changed, so we are waiting for the site to be properly live, then we’ll contact the company whose site it is and hopefully we will get as good a response as last time. It makes me really angry that people within the industry actually think this is acceptable. The silly thing is, if the guy who nicked a bit of our code had just asked us for a hand in making his site work, saying he liked ours and wanted his to operate in a similar way, then we probably would have helped. I assume the other guy, who is just nicking our site completely, is charging peanuts and if companies actually looked at quality of work, rather than just going for the cheapest quote, then they would get a better service and in the long run wouldn’t waste a lot of time getting their site re-designed and would save themselves a lot of embarrassment.
So if you’re stuck on some code, be honest that you need help, flatter another developer by saying you like their stuff and they may just help you and that way you can actually learn something! If you’re stuck on a design idea and like someone else’s design, why not get in touch with that designer and employ them to design something for you with the same feel, that way you’re not a thief! Some people may not get why I’m so angry about this and why this is such a problem, but this is how we make a living. Would it be acceptable for someone to steal the tune from someones song, put their own words to it and say it’s theirs without paying them any royalties? No. Would it be ok for someone to change the front cover of a book and then say they wrote it? No. So it’s not ok to do this.