Websites contain a wide variety of creative elements. In fact, the overall design of a website is built around unique images, content, videos, and code. While some code is commonly used to create certain aspects of website, other elements are custom designed and protected under copyright law. However, the right way to use certain aspects of a website for inspiration are not fully understood. That’s why Thrive Web Designs would like to provide you with the following do’s and don’t of using other websites for inspiration.

Replicating A Website

Intentionally replicating the content and custom design of a website is against the law. For example, many nationally recognized banks have had their websites replicated by criminals to mislead people into thinking they are logging into a secured site. Criminals then use this information to drain their real bank accounts, steal their identities, and more. Replicating a website for any of these purposes is fraud, and those who do it can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

But what about using another website for inspiration?

During an initial consultation, a professional web designer will ask a client whether they like any websites they have seen.  In fact, it’s very common to have a client identify certain elements of a website they like. Even more, clients often find influencers that often fit their same exact purpose and want use them as a model to structure their own website and business. However, it’s important to take a look at some basic copyright laws to make sure you’re not using something that doesn’t belong to you.

Copyright Laws

According to the United States Copyright Office, “copyright laws have been put into place to protect original works of intellectual property authorship such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, architecture, and copyrightable content on a website. However copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.”

Copyright laws also automatically protects creative work from the moment of creation while granting the holder exclusive rights to use, copy, transmit or modify their original work. Additionally, there is no need for an author, artist or website developer to publish or register their work.

So when you find a “copyright” or “all rights reserved” text at the bottom of a website, this prohibits people from duplicating any images, content, or other creative elements including the source code that make up a website. However, this does not protect a website from those who want to recreate certain elements using their own original source code.

Web Design Templates

No matter the business or industry you’re in, a website will resemble thousands of other websites if a common web design template is used. Why? Even if you change certain elements of a web design template, the source code is exactly the same. The only way you could claim copyright infringement would be if someone purposely used your unique images, content, brand logos, registered trademarks, videos, etc.

Custom Web Design

When it comes to the copyright of an original, custom web design the laws are pretty straightforward. When a client hires a web designer to develop custom code for their website, they own the rights to that design. It doesn’t matter if it’s a single element or an entire website, any reproduction can be a case for copyright infringement.

How To Use A Website For Inspiration

There is nothing wrong with surfing the web to look for inspiration. In fact, it’s a great way to show your web designer what elements you really like and what you would like added to your design. The only don’t here is copying any direct code or individual elements. For example, if you like the look of a certain menu setup or homepage banner, you can incorporate these same elements by having your custom web designer create their own code and install certain plugins without copying anything from another website. Also, it’s always a good idea to search for inspiration from multiple websites instead of just one. That way you can find a wide variety of different elements you’d like to incorporate.

Professional Web Design

If you are looking for a professional web design that’s custom designed just for you, contact Thrive Web Designs at (208) 391-2504. Our dedicated team of web design professionals can provide you with a unique, custom design you won’t find anywhere else on the web. We also offer logo design, ecommerce shopping cart solutions, affordable website hosting, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), content marketing, and more.