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The shocking story of how the Top Left Design website got ripped off — and what we did about it.

Posted by Keren Lerner

Is plagiarism really the sincerest form of flattery? We at TLD didn’t really feel that way when a loving fan of ours called Ashwin filled out the form on our website and said “these guys are using your website template without your permission. Please see http://www.khiweb.com/index.html”

We had a look and sure enough – complete rip off!!

Except that they have done a really poor job of placing their logo and have put badly written text in. Many of the pages look incomplete, and they have icons and buttons linking back to our site anyway!

See below screenshot.

Copied Site

What we did about it

We took screenshots

Always good to get proof – and as our friend Tamsin Fox Davies said “It’s all material”!

I told Twitter

Getting this emotion into 140 characters can be tricky but I managed.

Copied site - my tweet

I got lots of great support – and retweeted those who made comments

What was amazing was the amount of retweets and supportive tweets I got! People pointed out how badly they had done the copy.

I made a Storify page and put in all the tweets

Storify is a great tool to help tell a story of what people have been saying about specific topics on Social Media.
Have a look here.

Tamlyn sent what we feel is a suitably angry email to the evil culprits

Dear Khi Web,
I’m from a company called Top Left Design, although I’m sure you have heard of us before.
I am also sure you have some idea as to why we are sending you this email. It has recently come to our attention that you in fact have a website online that is almost an exact replica of ours, including a fair bit of our site copy.

We spent a lot of time creating a unique design and do not appreciate people copying our hard work. If you do require a website design from us we offer this as a chargeable service, not a free-for-all whereby you directly rip off our own company website.

This is considered plagiarism. Please take this site down with immediate effect and change the design and copy so that it reflects your own company and not us. We will be checking the site within 24 hours to ensure you have done so, and if find you have not complied we will be seeking ways of protecting our intellectual property.

We have taken screenshots of your site to prove what you have done.

Many thanks,

Tamlyn

They still haven’t responded.

Kevin also wrote to their hosting company with the following

Hi there,

We are a web design company based in Soho, London, United-Kingdom, and we have recently found out that a company based in Mumbai has duplicated our entire website to use for their own business purpose without any authorisation from us. This is blatant plagiarism.
Here is the website in question: http://khiweb.com and here is our website which is the original one: http://www.topleftdesign.com

We have emailed and asked them to take the website down as they can’t use our designs, but we have had no reply from them regarding this.
You seem to be the company which host the website, and we were wondering if you could do something on your end to help us? I’m sure you will agree that this is not legal and hopefully you will be able to warn the company in question and if they do not comply, take the website down as what they have done is completely illegal practice.

It would be great if you could have a look at this and let us know if you would be able to help us.

Many thanks,

Kevin

We haven’t received a response yet, so we will be getting onto the hosting company soon! Hopefully they are quick to remove the site!

They still haven’t taken it down – but I am blogging about it meanwhile

And we want to say thank you for all you TLD fans for your support – We will keep you posted and hopefully get that copycat site taken down for good – soon!

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About the Author

Keren

Keren is the owner of Top Left Design and runs it with passion and drive. She likes writing blogs and encourages clients to actively post blogs on their websites, as there are a multitude of benefits in doing so!