An Unfinished Symphony

It's about the internet and stuff.

A feeling of deja vu

It's amazing what you can find from reading through your web stats. Things like who links to you, who visits you, where they come from, how often the search engines visit – and even who is stealing your design. Yes, it seems someone likes this design enough to pirate it.

A few weeks ago I noticed an odd referrer in my stats, http://localhost/mazochova. Anyone that knows much about computers will know that localhost refers to the local computer – ie. the one that you are using is your localhost. So, someone had a web page on their computer that was being run on a local server and was directly accessing something on this site. My suspicion was that this person was stealing my design, or some component of it, and was hotlinking my images in the process. This isn't something I wanted to happen so I blocked their IP number as a referrer. Today I found that my suspicion was right, and found that they had put up their (part done?) version at http://evisions.cz/mazochova (it has now been removed). In case you're wondering how I knew that they had put it online, they are stupidly still hotlinking some of my images – and are even still linking through to my lastFM account, my SpreadFireFox affiliate account and even my GeoURL details; they didn't bother linking to my TextLinkAds account though.

They say that mimicry is the highest for of flattery, however I'm not particularly flattered that eVisions, a supposedly professional web design company, are intending to profit from my design. While I intend to contact them (and their hosts) and ask them to remove it, I'm not sure what else I can do about this – at some stage this is going to be passed on to someone else to use, and so I doubt they'll care too much if I post it on piratedsites.com (which I still intend to do). I'll probably have to hope that they do the decent thing and remove it, but my experience of Eastern Europeans on the internet leaves a lot to be desired, and doesn't fill me with too much confidence.

I can only hope that at some point in the future Anna Mazochová, the woman who is going to be ripped off by these thieves, gets to see this at some point and takes some action for herself. Unless someone has any ideas on effective ways to stop these people, If so, I'd be grateful for the heads up. In the meantime, here's a couple of screen shots:

  • The top half of one of the inner pages of the pirate site
  • Screenshot showing the stolen design linking to my LastFM account
  • Full page view of stolen design used at evisions.cz/mazochova
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Comments on 'A feeling of deja vu'

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Sarah says:

What's the situation so far? Any response?

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No response from either them or their hosts, and they've carried on working on it since (they've now removed my affiliate stuff). So they're intending to ignore me. They've added some contact details for their client now, too, so I've taken the opportunity to write to her and explain the situation. Hopefully she can read English, or knows someone who can, or at least follows the links in the mail so that she can see what's going on at least.

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Their site is back up and it does appear that they've removed the design, at least from where it was originally (cynic).

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Well, I finally had a response from eVisions. They've apologised for using the design, and said that it was just being used as a CSS learning exercise by one of their junior staff. If that was the case, though, I wouldn't have expected it taking an email to the (now supposedly imaginary?) client in order to have it removed or elicit a response – it was the email to their 'client' that they replied to.

I have tried to check whether it is still online or not, and it does appear to have been removed – however, so does the rest of their site. So at the moment I can't tell for definite whether or not the design is absent due to it being removed, or just because their site is down. So for the time being I'll have to take them at their word.

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Sara says:

That's pretty crappy. I've had scrapers steal my content, but not the entire look and feel of my site.

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Indeed it is. At least they removed it eventually though, and as long as it stays removed I can live with their apology.

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Jez says:

Good news that they've removed it. Nicking somebody else's design and markup is totally unacceptable – when they were hotlinking your images you should have switched them with some porn images!

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Yeah, it's more than a little off when they do that.

I used to have hotlink protection on, redirecting through to a random search engine rather than to porn images, but got fed up with having to alter my settings every time I wanted to hot-link one of my images on another site. Which is just as well as it was only because of the hot-linking that I found out about it.

Fortunately they did the decent thing in the end and removed it, and their finished client design only has minor similarities left in one or two areas and I have no problem with people taking inspiration from a design.

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jwcoggin says:

They must have already removed it because teh link does not work. This is pretty shadey that someone would steal directly from your site. I mean it is a very nice site but this is not the moral way to take a design you like and mimic it.

Good to see they removed it! "Alls well that ends well"

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Aye, they removed their test copy a while back. The finished site is at: mazochova.cz

Thanks for the comments 🙂

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