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2 weeks ago I decided to make a video game fan-site. Once it was done then I put a small link on this one forum site that I go to, and asked them what they though of it. There were no replies at all until today when 2 of the site admins said that I stole the main site's layout. They thought this because I said before that I use a few lines of code from their CSS documents as a reference.
They threatened to send a complaint to my host, so I took the site down for the mean time. My question is that if I am in copyright infringement with the layout. I did all the HTML coding myself, and took about 2 lines of CSS coding for a reference in my site's CSS design.
[edited by: engine at 10:05 am (utc) on Sep. 13, 2008]
[edit reason] No urls, pls see WebmasterWorld TOS [/edit]
First, I should point out that links are not permitted. That being said, I did look at the two pages. There is some similarity, but you have to understand something about CSS - there's only so many combinations. I believe that html and css code in and of itself is not subject to copyright unless there is some proprietary code, e.g. a trick that no one thought of before. Usually, you will find that with a script. BUT DON'T QUOTE ME ON THAT OR TAKE THIS AS LEGAL ADVICE.
In general, copyright is limited to content, graphics, over-all layout, and the like. As I said CSS and HTML generally does not fall into this category. I suggest you check www.copyright.gov for more details.
There have been discussions about the extent of CSS and HTML copyright in here in the past without any real conclusions being drawn.
Having said that, you should know the extent of what you copied yourself. If it was only two lines of code then I would suggest that it would be easy to change but also that any hosting company is unlikely to take your site down for this. You must decide to either change it or tell the other company to piss off and face any consequences.
I have to say that what bothers me about this is how the other company managed to find just two lines of their code buried within yours? What motivated them to search for this?
even a prominent newssite in Uk has been copied by another newssite in croatia & italy and people posted the similiarty in forums. still no action has been taken against the other sites