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Does a website have to be 'from scratch' to be 'your work'?

What's the opinion of people on frih? To what extet does a wesite have to be 100% from-scratch (i.e. using a CMS, but with no templates on which you ase your work) to qualify as 'your site'? A pretty big professional developer I knew sold a slightly-customised Wordpress install as 'his site', but in the past I've been told that calling a site 'my work' when it was based on an heavily-customised non-default e107 template (with work done to the e107 code as well) was dishonest.

So, Frihost developers, how much work does a site need before it's "yours"? Or is it something different that lets you make that claim?
I think you can call it your site because after all it is not about the looks but also of the content . If the content is original and not copied from any other site then you can call it your site.
Suppose as you have stated a CMS which you have installed it and are running should qualify "as your site"
Working with digital media, I put all work I've been a part of in my portfolio.. even if I've just done some copy.. I just make clear what I have done so I never take credit for anything that I havn't done Smile
I'm real big on "doing it myself". I feel like i've cheated if I use a template.
That said, I did use a template once for a friend's business. I was racking my brains trying to get a layout and my wife found the perfect layout at a template site. but I did modify it abit!

But I must also admit that the idea of learning tons of new things intimidates me. With the lack of free time I have, as much as I would love to learn some advanced scripting, the idea of pre-made scripts becomes more appealing.
I know HTML and have a decent grasp of CSS, but after that.......................
And now, today's web contains php, javascript, Flash, web forms, videos, Google APIs, SEO....... the list just goes on and on.
Unless you do web design as your main job, or am able to commit endless hours to developing I can see it as a major feat to keep everything original.
Basic Rules of Copyright Apply!!! Be advised!!

Whenever you are wondering if you should or shouldn't use someone else's work you should go by the basic rule in copyright LAW that goes basically like this:

Any original work changed by at least 30% becomes your own work. This goes for papers (your teacher will get you for not sighting references, however), songs (if you sing it yourself), works of art like painting, building designs, manufacturing, and carpentry.

Generally any American Judge is not going to find you in violation of copyright if your product is more than 30% different than the product of the person that is claiming you have stolen from them. Not a place you want to be in, but you will win the case.

Another thing is that if you use more than 3 seconds of audio from something else, then credit needs to be given. Audio has slightly different laws. Don't use audio from someone who is not aware that they are being recorded 3 seconds or not!!

Outside of this is you litterally agreeing to not using any part of someone's work. If they can prove that you signed a statement or agreed to a terms of services outlining that "NO" work is to be copied or used without permission, then you are screwed. You will lose your case in court, and pay the price too.

Does this help?

PS. This is all, of course, outside of Patent Law. If the product you are copying says either "Patent Pending" or has a patent number, then it using a process, parts, or method that is patented and then you cannot copy what is outlined in the patent without paying the patent holder to release rights to you. "Patent Pending" is mearly a threat, but one that you don't want to cross. What they are saying is that we will get a patent if we think there's money in taking you to court over it. Translation: "Patent Pending Litigation" or "Patent Pending because we know that we can, but haven't had to sue anyone yet!" either that or the patent was submitted but not reviewed/granted in time for product release date. Chances are if you are reading the phrase "Patent Pending" then there is now a patent on the product where there wasn't one durring manufacture of the item. You could just copy a patent pending "thing" and hope that they don't get the patent. Most who apply do not primarily because there is an existing patent used to create what they are trying to patent and they are not the holder of the original patent. You cannot patent something made by another patented tool unless you hold the tools patent, i believe... Somehow there's a catch in patenting that causes a lot of people to fail the process.

Gosh Legal Sucks!!

Not getting noticed in the world of copyright and patent is best. Stick to these basic rules, and you'll fly under the radar. It's when your project "blips" on someone else's copyright radar that you are in trouble, and you won't know it till it's too late and you are standing in front of a judge or you get mail and told when to show up to court. Even if you are innocent, you are about to have a bad day, so avoid this at all cost.

PPS. These statements are my own knowledge of copyright and admittedly I need a refresher course in order to make sure that I continue to fly under the radar. I design all my stuff from scratch...Yeah, i'm one of those HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Perl, and Graphic Arts gurus, but it took me 10 years to get here. Please do not use my advice in court, or in a situation that a judgement by a real judge is final. That judge will do their homework, and so should you. My advice you should take with you...READ THE LAW ON COPYRIGHT!! Know your rights!!! Sounds to me that you err on the side of being cautious, but you need credit for your work too.
If the content is the most important on the site, and you made all the content. I would call it yours even if you did not make the cms or the skin yourself. If you are a designer and making a portfolio, you should of course make the design yourself. I would call it yours even if you did not make the cms yourself. Of course the content should be yours. If you are a web scripter, you should of course make the cms yourself to call it yours. But there is nothing wrong in using wordpress etc, using free templates (or buy). As long as you are not claiming to have made those things yourself.
A site is my site if I'm managing it, regardless whether I developed the system myself.

100% from-scratch??? Ad extremum you'd even have to write the operating system and server software yourself. What am I saying, develop your own processor architecture. Or even create all electronic circuits yourself. Synthesise the chemicals they're composed of. Create your own universe with laws of chemistry and physics making this possible.

The point I'm trying to illustrate here is that the tools used do not determine whether something is your site. They do determine, however, to what extent you own the site (or rather its copyright). If you use a CMS, only the contents are yours. If you made your own CMS that is also yours. If you didn't make your own OS, only the CMS and contents are yours. But in all cases it's called your site because you're managing it. Even if it's a community like this where the users are creating much of the content.

So basically, the question is ambiguous. You can be referring to the saying "my site" which generally refers to the management, or you can be referring to the copyright in which case the question is really: to what extent do you define "a site"? Which is really a useless question anyway because as I've illustrated above, you've never done all the work from scratch, so it's really just a matter of
Azmo wrote:
making clear what I have done so I never take credit for anything that I havn't done Smile
My site is MY SITE. Yeah, I'm using a CMS and a free theme, at the moment, but it's still my site. My content, my domain name, and my posts in this forum to have web hosting! Using a CMS doesn't make it any less my site. That would be like saying the photos I took today aren't really mine because I resized them in Photoshop.

That said, I'm learning PHP so I can make a custom Wordpress theme from scratch. It will seem MORE my site when I have it looking the way I want.
YES, I think a website has to be from scratch to be YOUR WORK. Smile

If not you're using a base that isn't yours.
cavey wrote:
I would call it yours even if you did not make the cms or the skin yourself.

I'm assuming he means Content Management System...

This is an interesting topic to discuss because the trend on the web is to totally ignor copyright or legal restrictions. You should have learned in High School what is appropriate and what is not.

Fraud, and theift are what you want to avoid. If you didn't make it and you call it your own then you are guiltly of fraud. Stealing the work was theift, and calling it your own is fraud.

Plagerism is also something that the younger "MySpace" generation has no clue about. I wonder what exactly we are teaching kids in school if not how to not plagerize, how to not be a fraud, and why we shouldn't steal. Public school sucks because there is a lot that you need to know to be a valuable part of society and you can't learn it in public school because they hire idiots to teach. I'm sorry if you are a public school teacher and feel like you are doing your best to teach kids things that they need to know in are the exception to the rule...but think about the pool of people willing to work for public school peanuts, and then realize that they are mostly idiots willing to work hard for next to no compensation.

Please, do some reading...All of you should go back and read your high school english books again cause they are full of copyright and fraud information but it's most likely based on written materials. News flash...most of the web is written materials, and the laws do apply!!!

I keep reading on here that people keep saying that you can't claim anothers work as your own, but can ANYONE say why this is the case?

Why would you even want to claim someone else's work as your own? Personally I build everything myself because there are always parts of other people's work that I don't care for. If it's mine then I can work on it till I like it from cover to cover or from home page to contact us! lol

My advice: go back to your high school texts and refresh your knowledge a little. Learn why you don't want to be guilty of fraud. Take a look at a few legal cases involving fraud and look specificly at how long the person's sentance in jail is. Fraud is nothing to take lightly.
Well you SHOULD create a template by scratch and on your own, using whatever languages you need to use. By making your own template, you can get it copyrighted, making it illegal to steal it. Plus, on top of that, you'd have the satisfaction of accomplishing your own design. And others will comment on it as well.

But some sites, like, offer you free templates, but not templates you can download. Some of their templates can be edited using their CSS editor. But there's too many problems with Freewebs so I don't suggest using them.

And if you don't know CSS, HTML, or whatever you'd use for template design, then learn them! It's not that hard. There's no excuse for saying you don't know it. I have had trouble in the past, but after learning CSS, the trouble went away. I now create my own templates, although they aren't that professional, but at least I can say that I made them myself, by scratch.
Let me repeat my previous post in a more intuitive way since everyone seems to ignore it happily.

Did you develop the fonts that you use in your website, paper, forum post etc. yourself?
I think you can only call a site your own work if you wrote it from scratch. Yes, you can re-jig a template for your needs, and I suppose if enough changes to the core structure of this are made, then yes, you can claim it as your own.
I am personally inclined to think that the content is what makes a website so a cms is yours aslong as you do give credit for the devs of the cms.
As for themes/layouts etc i belive it is yours if you modify it over 80% and/or add "based on _name_ theme by _name_ in your website.
Well IceCreamTruck does have a good point but some web site software has that powered by thingy at the bottom look at the very bottom of even this page you will see phpBB you must give credit to them like frihost does. But the posts on frihost belong to frihost and thats where the line has to be drawen...

But if you take a php script and you modifiy or debug it to the point that 50% (better safe than sorry) of it the script is certainly property of your labour and thus no-one can claim ownship of the script except you.

Take for example SWIM downloads a nulled script from the internet but it is so buggy that SWIM has to rewrite a few portions of code and/or has to even create new fuctions and files for it to work properly as the vendour of the script origianlly said it would. Who should be rewarded for the work? Sure the vendour started it and thus owns the name of the software but the actual inner workings were modified to the point that it would no longer be fair for SWIM to be deprived the fruits of his labour. SWIM becomes the owner.

Another example I make a script containing many lines of random code that don't do anything, SWIM comes along and takes the script and makes it do something. I won't be the owner because I own the script with random code not the script SWIM modified to the point that it functioned differently to the original script.

And all content that may have been made/generatored is owned by the website owner, unless the user makes a long copyright statement clearly stating that his "posts or works" are his property, but that would be usually over rules by most TOS agreements

But graphics, audio and video remain property of the original legal owner unless the TOS clearly states otherwise and even then this can get really tricky and messy (although unlikely). My suggestion don't go there.
It all depends on licensing. If the content you copied is legally licensed to be used in that way - sure, it's yours. If not, it's not. It all depends on the license.
Arnie wrote:
Did you develop the fonts that you use in your website, paper, forum post etc. yourself?
You have a very good point there.

There is no way of make everything from scratch, there is always something you build it upon. The copyright laws is far from perfect so they are not a moral limit for me but when it comes to websites I try to do as much by myself, but if I use some one else's work I look at the license to make sure I can use it. There is no idea to try to paint all countries flags or make your own table sorting javascript when you know they already exist and you can use it if you want, way better than I could have done it myself. Even after this I should have called it 'my site', but then I'm more referring to managing it, as Arnie talked about. Is the site 'my work'? Not to 100% but at most. So I should have said it was mostly my work.

One site I have is based upon a phpBB 2 forum but has been modified a lot. But still, it's mainly a phpBB forum so in this case it's a bit more complicated. There is not very much that is 'my work' if you look at the site as a whole.

I'm not selling websites or anything so maybe I don't have to be as precise in my formulations.
It's a lot easier when the website is personal, a lot of the licenses prohibit commercial use, but allow personal use.
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