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Is it OK to copy somebody's HTML?

7:16 pm on Dec 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have a question on the legality and ethics of copying HTML and/or CSS from another site. Here is the scenario: I find a website whose general layout and design is appealing to me and I notice that the HTML is nice and clean. I copy all the source HTML, as well as the CSS file. I change ALL the content to my own content, text, images, etc. I make some tweaks to the CSS to modify the colors, background images, and fonts.

Is this OK? All the content is my own, but I have used the HTML/CSS framework that somebody else wrote. I haven't done this, just pondering the question. I don't think I would mind if somebody did this to me.

Is HTML and CSS copyrightable?

6:42 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hello sache, and welcome to the forums.

That's an interesting discussion - but it is from 5 years ago. Back then css was just barely beginning to take hold and it seemed quite arcane. Today it seems to me that css a bedrock basic -- more like cinder blocks than the actual house.

I think mcneely's post points in a good direction - why bother copying mark-up? Every page layout should be tailored to its own purpose anyway.

12:00 am on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hello tedster, I'm glad to be here.

I also agree with mcneely. Most of the times is faster to write your own HTML/CSS.

If someone creates a graphic layout based on other's HTML/CSS framework will also have an aesthetic problem.
He will obtain just a cheap replica.

3:31 pm on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Javascript is flexible and presents MANY ways of doing the same thing. CSS is even flexible. If you copy from sites you like, you may not like the stylistic preferences and ways of doing things that you find. So you might like their look, but would understand the whole thing better to rewrite it in your own words, as it were.

On the other hands, some innovators 'get' how to do something. Certain problems tend to come down to a right way, and a million wrong ways. It doesn't happen all the time. But sometimes, in programming, you find people come to an understanding, and their code is going to look similar or even identical, for some problem or particular procedure. Could one argue - violation! I don't think so. I hope not.

The last case is simply copying a site, or most of it but substituting your own content. Now, technically, I would think that a) it would be obvious and b) it ought to be wrong if the site owners did not give permission for such an 'omage. C) who can enforce it, without massive funding, or some state-based initiative? If anyone would move on such things, I would expect you'd first see it in 'euro'. On the other hand, people wonder if the first place you'll see a genuine crippling of the www is in 'euro', as well. Maybe such plagiarism is not the price. But perhaps the alternative is best avoided, in any case?

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