Your US tax dollars at work

The Computing Community Consortium “supports the computing research community in creating compelling research visions and the mechanisms to realize these visions” and steals copyrighted design layouts from A List Apart magazine. (Judging by the color scheme, they stole the layout from Issue No. 254.)

The Computing Community Consortium is supported by National Science Foundation. Maybe if they steal enough layouts they can balance the budget.

Hat tip: Diwaker Gupta.

[tags]alistapart, design, theft, stealing, ethics, nsf.gov, Computing Community Consortium[/tags]

61 thoughts on “Your US tax dollars at work

  1. Holy… that’s an impressive steal. Very minimal effort in adjusting the design at all; I love the white boxed justified text on a gray background in the corner. Have you notified them yet of their theft? Even better when the layout goes from ALA ripoff to wordpress template http://www.cccblog.org/, now we know they lack skill.

  2. wasn’t this an amendment tacked onto the recent FISA bill [complete immunity from all laws for any federal agency] …

    i love big brother
    i love big brother
    i love big brother
    i love big brother

  3. I’ve seen a few ALA ripoffs, but this is amazing. They’re still linking to the Mint script. You have gotta be kidding me!

  4. I love the disclaimer “Articles posted here may originally have been published at other locations.”

    Just the articles eh?

  5. Wow, not much else to say, probably not a good idea to steal the layout for a site that every web designer, front end developer and “person who makes websites” has seen hundreds of times

  6. @Andrew: No kidding. Not only do they clearly have no talent, they lack common sense as well.

    I just can’t get over the nerve people have – It’s just extremely disappointing to see this.

  7. You should sue the Gov. for millions and waste away on a beach somewhere in the ocean, or just send them a bill for the design and development work.

    :)

  8. If you look at “their” stylesheets, they all include this line at the top:

    /* Layout and Stylesheets are heavily inspired by http://alistapart.com */

    Obviously where “inspired” = “copied from”.

  9. Jeffrey, is time for you to worry? Consider the old proverb: “Steal a fish and feed yourself for a day. Steal a fisherman and never be hungry again.”

    Be sure to leave a trail of breadcrumbs so that once they come for you, you still can be retrieved from your secure and undisclosed location.

  10. 800lb gorilla heavily-inspired :) As someone mentioned above:

    “Articles posted here may originally have been published at other locations.”

    They don’t even post their own articles…

  11. I sent an email to Ed Lazowska and the other CCC board members whose emails were publicly visible, mentioning the theft … they replied:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We truly had no idea. The site has been up for a number of months and no one had mentioned the similarity — which I agree is, er, more than similarity.

    Seems genuine. Here’s hoping the “borrower” who put this together gets the public recognition they deserve.

  12. Aren’t we all missing “The Big Win” here? Yet another site decides to go Web Standards. Long live the movement!

  13. What I think is funny is that ALA displays fine in IE6, while the CCC versions nav on the top is all jacked up in IE6. Still, total, undeniable rip off!

  14. At least they removed the span with the “copyright” class while changing the copyright owner.

  15. Good find, Diwaker!

    This wouldn’t be so ridiculously pitiful if they had enough common sense to remove the Mint include and rename the css file to something else! What a bunch of losers. This is nearly enough to make me taste my lunch again.

  16. As of right now, they seem to have stripped out the entire website. All I see is this:

    “We will be back shortly. This site is temporarily down for maintenance.”

  17. We will be back shortly. This site is temporarily down for maintenance.

    Bah, I can’t see the blatant rip-off.

  18.  
     
     
    We will be back shortly. This site is temporarily down for maintenance.

    Looks like they didn’t learn the fundamentals from ALA.

  19. Still “We will be back shortly. This site is temporarily down for maintenance.”

    are they working on a new design? :-)

  20.  
     
     
    We will be back shortly. This site is temporarily down for maintenance.

    eeek!

  21. And their response…

    Date: July 14, 2008 9:20:58 PM PDT
    Subject: Re: Thieves
    From: [email protected]
    To: [email protected]

    Thank you for your message. Of course we had no idea of this issue and thank you and others who have drawn our attention to it. You can be assured that this will not happen again.

    We have sent the following message to A List Apart:

    I want to offer my profuse apology for the misappropriation of the design of the A List Apart website. As I said in my original reply to David, all of us on the Council of the Computing Community Consortium were unaware, until his message, of the similarity of the two websites.

    Here is what we have done and will do:

    – We have taken down the web site.

    I feel cool yet douchey lol

    – When it comes back online, it will be with a temporary “non-design”; there will eventually be a re-design.

    – The CCC website will carry an apology for a period of time, a link to the A List Apart website, and a link to Zeldman.com.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and again, please accept our apologies for the misappropriation of your work.

  22. bahahaha

    I want to offer my profuse apology for the misappropriation of the design of the A List Apart website. As I said in my original reply to David, all of us on the Council of the Computing Community Consortium were unaware, until his message, of the similarity of the two websites.

    Here is what we have done and will do:

    – We have taken down the web site.

    – When it comes back online, it will be with a temporary “non-design”; there will eventually be a re-design.

    – The CCC website will carry an apology for a period of time, a link to the A List Apart website, and a link to Zeldman.com.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and again, please accept our apologies for the misappropriation of your work.

  23. Most of the commenters here are blaming, “them”—the
    Computing Community Consortium—but odds are the site was built by a contractor. I seriously doubt anyone with medical insurance and a 401k being paid by the site would so blatantly rip off another. It’s a fair question when hiring Web design (especially on a tight budget): how can you ensure you’re not getting duped?

    That said, I think their response was admirable and appropriate.

  24. I was thinking the same thing — these guys are probably victims of some slimeball who took them for a ride. I think the way in which they have responded to this is quite respectable and admirable. I wish other companies that wind up with stolen layouts were even half as respectful.

  25. LIke Evan, I’m also extremely impressed with how they handled that. It will be interesting if they name their past designer–I wonder who it was.

  26. Impressive…

    In the last few hours we’ve learned that the main CCC web site design, which was modeled on an issue of A List Apart, was used without appropriate permission. It was certainly never the intention of the CCC to violate copyright and we have taken immediate steps to discontinue use of the design. We’ve conveyed our apologies to Jeffery Zeldman, the original designer, and apologize for any disruption the site redesign may cause.

    Coincidence? I think not. I wonder how long it took to wash the egg off their faces.

  27. Hey, they did the right thing…they acknowledged the problem, they didn’t make excuses, and they pulled the design down.

    Embarrassing sure, but they took the high road even after they surely received plenty of “f-ck you” emails.

  28. Did anyone who saw this while it was still up check to see if their links were any good?

    I went to the site that’s currently up and the sidebar navigation links are pure javascript right now, in a table based layout. Me thinks that whatever designer/design group made the current site got paid way too much if it wasn’t done for free. I hope that whatever final redesign they have actually turns out good and uses web standards because it’ll be pretty sad for a technology group that’s supposed to push the envelope to wind up with a site made for the early 90’s.

  29. You can find screenshots here: http://floatingsun.net/2008/07/13/inspiration-or-imitation

    That said, I do think that the CCC board or any of the other executive members really had no idea. As someone has said before, this was probably contracted work and they just hadn’t realized. Given that this was brought to their attention as soon as the similarity was noticed, I would say that they have been prompt and humble in their response. If you need to bash someone, find their original designer :)

  30. I hope they decide to pursue action against whoever put their site up for them. I’m glad the CCC handled it the way they did. I’m not sure there’s a WHOLE lot they could do legally, but surely they had some sort of contract with the guy (or girl, for the sake of being PC) guaranteeing the originality of the work.

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