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Is Internal Site Navigation / Anchor Text Copyright?

11:11 pm on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Many of us use...

Home , About Us, Search etc...

Is there any copyright law regarding using similiar anchor text or navigation(site map) structure of other sites?

example lets say site A lists widgets in the same layout with the same anchor text in their Nav:

List of Widgets:
Green Widgets, Blue Widgets, Pink Widgets, etc

If Site B presents their widgets in the same fashion is this a Copyright violation?

9:54 am on Feb 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well, IMHO, theoretically, yes, as a part of someone's intellectual activity's results, that can be viewed as intellectual property object, and thus, be protected. But practically, again, before you can claim copyright infringements and seek compensation or at least copy removal, you ought to register this IP object as such. You know it seems to be not worth the time and other resources you are going to spend to do that.


1:55 pm on Feb 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In theory yes, but in practice lottsa luck unless you have something really new and innovative.

It would be extremely hard to show a court that there is anything really unique about a menu. I would bet that almost any design and layout you see you could find 1000 similar ones on the net in a few hours.

The menu used with the pages, text, images, and site layout would obviously be protected, but I think that trying to copyright a menu would be like trying to copyright the colors red and green.

7:51 pm on Feb 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It really depends on how unique the text is in its entirety.

You cannot copyright descritive terms such as "green widget", "blue widget" etc.

You can gain a copyright on a long list of such terms, as long as there is some creativity in the ordering. If they are in alphabetical order, you are going to have serious problems claiming copyright. If you list them in the order that the colors show up in the rainbow, or that the manufacturer lists them in their marketing materials, you are not going to be able to claim copyright.

What the courts do in cases like these, is they start sifting out what is not copyrightable and then they see what, if anything is left.

Of course, it is good to remember that there is a world of difference between what can get you sued, and what will win a judgement. It is best to try not to even get sued in the first place.

9:35 pm on Feb 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It's my understanding that "formatting" is not copyright-able.

That said, making your site look a lot like somebody else's site is, at the least, rude, and can make you look like an idiot poseur. Better to take the time to present your own image, rather than to make people think you're pretending you're somebody else.


10:15 pm on Feb 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm with eliz.

Take the time to do it right and create your own unique branding image.