Miles Burke

Thoughts on startups, small business, marketing & more.

Category: Design (Page 2 of 2)

70 Graffiti Colours of 2006

Spraycan and Graffiti, Western Australia

My most popular post from a while ago, which included the Web2.0 Colour Palette, was all in jest however it also hinted on something I used to do when I spent most of my time designing for web and print.

I have been known to scan leaves and plants, and photograph interesting colours and colour combinations in nature and packaging and my surroundings, in order to use them in my print and website designs.

Well, I took over a hundred photographs of graffiti along a wall which runs next to Tonkin Highway, Perth today, and thought what a great subject to do some colour analysis.

So, with little fanfare, fresh off the walls of Perth, here are the Colours of Graffiti 2006, a 43kb JPG file with approximately 70 colours to get your creative juices flowing. Let me know if you use it for a design, I’d be keen to see the end result!

Image: Spraycan in front of Graffiti, Perth, WA.

The Basics of Copyright

This Blog is Copyright, that\'s for sure.

Since having previously posted about our recent issue with someone borrowing the Bam Creative website design and code, I have had a number of emails and questions relating to copyright. Being the business geek I am, I knew much of this already, but here’s the results of my research, which you may find worth reading.

Note: this is NOT legal advice, and deals specifically with Australian copyright law only. Do not treat this post as gospel; if in doubt, please speak to a lawyer.

THE BASICS OF COPYRIGHT

Copyright Law in Australia basically covers creative works. So, if your work involves elements such as;

  1. Written material (articles, blog posts, etc)
  2. Musical works and sound recordings (musical scores, songs, etc)
  3. Dramatic works and film (plays, film, TV, etc)
  4. Artistic works (graphic design illustration, etc)

…then your work is covered by Copyright under Australian law. Yes, that’s right – unlike some other countries, copyright in Australia is automatic upon the production of an original work, and it’s free.

The moment you create your work it is automatically protected by copyright, which normally lasts until seventy years after the death of the creator (you).

It is also interesting to note, that the law does NOT actually require a copyright notice of any form. That means although that funky little copyright symbol in the footer of your website is there, and you say in your source code that everything is copyright, it is not really needed.

Not that I think it’s a bad idea to remind people of their obligations, and your rights as a creator. If possible, try to always insert a copyright notice, or at least, the copyright symbol, in your website or documents.

THE TRICKY THING ABOUT CLIENTS AND CREATORS…

The problem with the copyright law is that unless there’s been a specific legal agreement between the creator (website designer/developer, photographer, illustrator, etc) and the person or organization paying for the work (the client), then you’ll find that normally the creator is the owner of the copyright, and not the client.

The client may have the right to use it in the ways that have been agreed, but if there’s no express or implied agreement, it’s going to be hard to not favour the creator.

Moral of this is as a client, always ensure you have a written agreement with your creative suppliers about who owns the copyright at the end of the project, and even who has the responsibility for checking copyright on third party elements, such as supplied photographs for a website, presentation, etc.

DEALING WITH PLAGIARISM

So, your website ends up getting copied, or at least a large element of it does; what should you do? There are a few approaches you could follow; it’s really up to you.

Firstly, before starting any of these approaches, you should take a backup copy of the infringing material. You should also try and discover when this material was published, and check that against your own published works dates.

Then you should research who the offender is – do a domain name whois, run a company or business name search, or even call them and ask for their details.

Once you have the evidence, have the details of the other party and are sure of your facts, you could do one (or more) of the following;

  1. Make contact with the infringer and ask that they stop.
  2. Contact the hosting company or ISP and have them remove the content
  3. Speak to a lawyer or legal firm

Number one is a cop out in my opinion – all that achieves is setting the precedent to allow people to rip off your work until you notice, and then you’ll ask them politely to remove it. Number two in my opinion isn’t much better.

I had a chat with a trademark lawyer a few months back, and when I mentioned I had ignored people who were very close to infringing our trademark, she rightly asked why I bothered to pay for the protection, if I wasn’t going to do anything about it. I see copyright and creative works the same way.

Should you choose number three, your lawyer will advise you with a few scenarios. Some are fairly cheap (well, a few thousand is cheap for a legal bill) and others less so (let’s say BIG figures for BIG cases that go to trial).

What you do from here is totally up to your own personal judgement – ask yourself what effect or damage the copyright infringement may have caused you or your business, and then weigh that against what chances your lawyer believes you have and who the offender is.

You may be able to settle out of court or even just accept assurances that the other party has dealt with the issue. You may also want to follow through with court – just ensure you listen to your lawyer, that’s what you are paying them for.

NEED FURTHER INFORMATION?

Some good local websites to research a bit more about copyright, would be
Copyright Agency Limited (CAL)
and the Australian Copyright Council, both of whom offer fact sheets on their websites.

You can also call your state based law society, who would be able to put you in touch with a lawyer who specialises in the copyright area.

Image: Copyright symbol.

Design Thieves Part II

Leia with face paint by Meredith

So, the design theives I previously posted about, are now aware of the legal action that has started against them. I was aware of this by the fact the offending site was drawing a blank page for the last few days, and is only now back online, with a quick and rough redesign. That plus an email from them asking us not to proceed with legal action tipped me off.

Due to the legal situation, I’m not going to post the link, but if you are like me at all, and enjoy those ‘Spot the difference’ cartoon games you see in the weekend papers, you may get a kick out of these two CSS files;

Enjoy comparing the two files; and also note that every other HTML file was just as similar – an uncanny coincidence?

Image: My daughter, Leia, with butterfly face paint by Meredith.

Design Thieves

Factory in Midland

We’ve all seen examples of where someone has used so much ‘borrowing’ from someone else’s work that it moves from inspiration to plain old theft.

I’ve been lucky to date that there’s been some infringements, that’s for sure, but nothing overly obvious as to be an outright theft.

Well, that changed about a month ago, when I became aware of another website which was more than similar to the Bam Creative website. In fact, the offending website;

  • Uses a fair amount of the graphics I created
  • Uses the same colour schemes, fonts, type sizes and widths, etc
  • Uses our entire CSS file, including comments I left in there for fellow staff to follow
  • This site also has pages that match word for word what our sites says
  • Uses our HTML files, albeit with a few of our sections commented out
  • Uses most of our comments and meta data, without any change

The saddest part is that the offending website seems to have been produced by another web company, which I imagine, have charged the client for the work.

Whatever happened to professional pride and the desire to create your own design?

It makes me so angry when another person, who I would imagine sees themselves as a web professional, takes my hard work, image by image, word for word and rips off the entire thing.

It makes me even angrier to imagine that the client of this company has paid their hard earned money for their web company to be the laziest, dumbest bunch of misfits to go out and thieve someone else’s design and development work.

Now, it would fill me with joy to post the URL and details of the offending website, and the details of the loosely called ‘web company’ who did the thievery here, however I can safely say that at this point my lawyers have asked me not to.

That’s right; I’m not shooting off a polite email to the offenders asking them to remove the offending website, that’s too easy. Doing that will no doubt cause some embarrassment and an argument between the client and so-called designers, but it’s not really what these folk deserve.

More details soon – they’ll be aware that we know what they’ve done within the next few weeks, and that’ll make for an interesting post.

Image: Factory in Midland.

The Web 2.0 Secret Weapon

web2.0 - it\'s all about the colours man...

UPDATE: The Web.20 colours of 2007 have now been released! Click here!

We’ve all read more than enough now about web 2.0, and there’s a million blogs and articles about what a web 2.0 entrepreneur need to know/have/understand to make their new project the web’s next big ‘Killer App‘.

In order to sell to Yahoo!, Google or even get a mention on TechCrunch, you’ve got to have a web based app that’s the next big thing – add a heavy serving of AJAX, maybe use Ruby on Rails, or one of the squillion new code frameworks that have popped up in recent times, maybe have some form of tagging on the site, improve your usability over and over until even your grandmother can use it, and then….

Well, I’m here to reveal what the big 2.0 guys don’t want you to know, and have managed to keep quiet about it this long – it’s actually all about the colour.

Who cares if anyone uses it or not, as long as you attract investors or sell to the even bigger guys? What better way to attract them than a special concoction of RGB love?

I’m going to make it even easier for you budding entrepreneurs – I have grabbed primary or logo colours from some of the big names in 2.0 land, and placed no less than 70 colours into one scrumptious Photoshop Colour Palette file, for your downloading pleasure (2kb zip file).

This web2.0 secret weapon is yours absolutely free – now just mash those colours up, whip up some nice CSS goodness, whack a BETA button somewhere on it, and you’re on the road to riches.

Update (Feb 7): I’ve also got a JPG version for your viewing/downloading.

Image: Screengrabs of the web2.0 secret weapon.

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Words & Images © 2005-2016, Miles Burke. All rights reserved.