14 Jul 2008 12 pm eastern

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]

Filed under: A List Apart, Design, ethics, stealing, theft

61 Responses to “Your US tax dollars at work”

  1. Brady J. Frey said on

    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. Kahlil said on

    It’s from 247.

    If you see the code, theres still reference to 247′ css.

    W-A-O

  3. john saylor said on

    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

  4. David Paul Ellenwood said on

    Wow! That’s amazing. I don’t think there is much else to say.

  5. Ricky Irvine said on

    Daaaaang!

  6. Jose said on

    Stuff like that makes me sick.

  7. Josh said on

    I guess one good thing about bad design is that this sort of blatant, idiotic theft is less likely.

  8. Art Notebook » Found Elsewhere » Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: Your US tax dollars at work said on

    [...] Read it here. [...]

  9. Matt Howell said on

    Oh come on… this image is just pure artistry — stolen or not.

  10. Jared said on

    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!

  11. Chris said on

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

    Just the articles eh?

  12. Derek said on

    Didn’t even pull the ALA url’s from the print CSS either… http://www.cra.org/ccc/css/print.css
    Ridiculous!

  13. Andrew said on

    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

  14. Matt Radel said on

    @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.

  15. vassego said on

    Imitation is the highest form of flattery…Regardless, a pretty weak move on their part.

  16. Chris Olberding said on
  17. Spamboy said on

    Interesting catch. Did you find this, or did someone alert you to it?

  18. Seth said on

    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.

    :)

  19. Max Daniels said on

    Breathtaking.

  20. Chris said on

    Stunning! I think they missunderstood Jeffrey when wrote: Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop.
    Stealing Design.

  21. David said on

    That is all kinds of wrong! What are these people thinking?

  22. Ruthie said on
  23. Steve said on

    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”.

  24. George Girton said on

    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.

  25. AllenAyres said on

    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…

  26. Ara Pehlivanian said on

    They’ve also left in the script tag that calls Mint. But they don’t use Mint (easily confirmed by checking the URL).

  27. David Simmer said on

    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.

  28. Brad said on

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

  29. John said on

    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!

  30. Daniel said on

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

  31. Josh Stodola said on

    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.

  32. Guinness said on

    They seem to have made a quick change to strip out most of the inspired parts.

  33. Nathan said on

    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.”

  34. Fozzy said on

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

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

  35. Marcel said on

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

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

  36. dusoft said on

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

    are they working on a new design? :-)

  37. Jin Yang said on

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

    eeek!

  38. RayMcK said on

    meh

  39. webecho said on

    Ha Ha Ha!

    Quote

    “We will be back shortly. This site is temporarily unavailable.”

  40. Caleb said on

    Someone, please post a screenshot!

  41. Jose said on
  42. Jose said on

    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.

  43. chrx said on

    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.

  44. Ryan Cannon said on

    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.

  45. James Peirce said on

    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.

  46. Evan Meagher said on

    I’m impressed by how the CCC handled that. Very professional and timely. Well done!

  47. Blog Advert said on
  48. jeff white said on

    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.

  49. Todd said on

    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.

  50. JimmyD said on

    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.

  51. RayMcK said on

    Holy shit JZ! I didn’t realize you had so many lawyers working for you.

  52. Ben said on

    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.

  53. Spamboy said on

    How did Blog Advert’s comment slip past the spam filter?

  54. tom q said on

    I note that the link to the ALA website in their apology is wrong …

  55. Aaron said on

    DId anyone get a screengrab? It was already fixed by the time I saw this post.

  56. miriland » Blog Archive » Your US tax dollars at work said on

    [...] Jeffrey Zeldman Presents 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.) [...]

  57. Diwaker said on

    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 :)

  58. RobertoBaca.net » Blog Archive » Historia de un plagio said on

    [...] del código que dejaban establecida la propiedad. Zeldman se percató y a su vez hizo un post acusando directamente al CCC de robo. Lo que es peor es que el CCC depende del Fondo Nacional para las Ciencias, parte del gobierno de [...]

  59. Trevor Davis | Blog | Weekly Link Round-Up #39 said on

    [...] Your US tax dollars at work [...]

  60. Lauren said on

    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.

  61. Gohlkus said on

    Now the link to ALA works, but they misspelled “Jeffery” [sic].

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