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  1. #1
    Nocturnal is offline Private Member
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    Default Hard work stolen by another webmaster!

    Hello everyone it's been a while since I last posted here on the GPWA but I felt compelled to today as I came across a blatant rip off of my layout and design. It's so aggravating when we as webmasters new or those that have been in the industry for a long time have their hard work taken from them.

    Today I came across a site called awesome-slots.com which has blatantly taken the layout from my site including CSS, headers, images and other components and put together their own site using these elements that I worked hard to create. My site CasinoLaunchpad.com has been around for a long time now and I know that our design is unique as I created the original photo shop layouts that I chopped and sliced into the design and layout that now makes up the site.

    I contacted the webmaster whose name is Viktar and apparently is also a GPWA member pointing out the infringement however he has decided to not comply with my request to go a different direction with the site.

    Here is the e-mail that I had sent him originally which I don't think was by any means out of line:

    =====================
    Dear Owner of Awesome-Slots.com,

    We are the owners of casinolaunchpad.com a gaming portal who have worked hard to develop a custom and unique site. We were informed a few days back that your site has quite obviously taken and stripped our design from our site including images, layout and CSS.

    This is a friendly request asking that you'd kindly move your design over to something unique that hasn't been taken from our site and to remove any and all images that have been taken from Casinolaunchpad and replace them with something original.

    Please advise of receipt of this e-mail.
    =====================

    This is the reply that I then got from this webmaster
    =====================
    My name is Viktar, and I'm the owner of awesome-slots.com I fully respect your right to use unique content. However, I have to admit, that in no way I was going to use design features from other sites. You can also check any article on my website and make sure that every article is unique and 100% Copyscape passed. I respect efforts webmasters put to make their sites fully unique.

    But anyway, unfortunately I don't think I will be able to do what you are asking me about. I downloaded this theme from this website (it provides you with free Wordpress gambling themes and templates): http://www.gamblingtemplates.net/

    It was listed there, and I used it without any doubt, because it was claimed as absolutely free. I think you understand that I don't care who and why posted this theme at http://www.gamblingtemplates.net/

    It was not the same as at your website when I downloaded it, but pretty the same for sure.
    I also made a lot of changes in design and functionality, so our sites now are not "identical", they just "alike".

    It was free, and I used it. And I'm going to use it further.

    Feel free to contact me if you have more questions.

    Thanks for understanding,
    Viktar.
    =====================

    If you compare our two sites you'll notice that a lot of what's seen on his site looks like that of my site casinolaunchpad.com

    Any suggestions on what to do I've already contacted several of the affiliate programs that I'm working with and see that they're working with as well to see if they can do anything about it.

    I appreciate your advice guys,
    Aleks

  2. #2
    Nocturnal is offline Private Member
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    Further to the above does anyone know who the owners of gamblingtemplates.net are as the webmaster above claims that they took the layout from there I haven't been able to find infringmenet on gamblingtemplates.net as of yet nor would the webmaster provide me with a direct link to where they found my layout on this site.

    Anyways if anyone knows how to get in touch with the owners of gamblingtemplates.net please let me know as I'd like to do so sonner than later.

  3. #3
    MichaelCorfman's Avatar
    MichaelCorfman is offline GPWA Executive Director
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    If your theme was stolen and put up at the gamblingtemplates website, then I think your first order of business is to try to get it taken down from that site on the grounds that is violates your copyright. In the process I would try to see if you can find out who posted the template on that site. If the site is reputable they will help you in that process.

    Next, I would perform searches on google to try to determine who else might be using your copyrighted material. It could be that there are additional sites you need to worry about.

    Finally, the webmaster that is using your material needs to be informed that a false statement by a site that material they do not own can be used freely does not grant any rights to use the material. Sure, they may have operated in good faith, and were duped in that situation into believing the statements posted on the site, but that does not give them the right to continue to use your material in violation of your copyright after being notified of the issue.

    You can refer them to this thread to view the response I have made here so they can see that a false statement by a third party does not confer any rights to them. They could also contact an attorney who specialized in intellectual property rights who would confirm that fact for them.

    Please note that I have written this response without actually looking at the offending material. However, if any of your original artwork is used either as you created it, or as a derivitive work, rather than as a new work that happens to look similar, then the same copyright issues apply.

    Michael
    GPWA Executive Director, Casino City CEO, Friend to the Village Idiot

    Resources for Affiliates: iGamingDirectory.com, iGamingAffiliatePrograms.com, GamingMeets.com

  4. #4
    Fergie's Avatar
    Fergie is offline Private Member
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    I went through the templates - right up to # 800!
    Not that I have a lot of spare time, mind you, just got caught up in it.

    I didn't see a template to match your site, Nocturnal.
    None of the templates I saw even used a background pattern, as yours does.

    This slots site, IMO is definitely a rip-off of yours.
    Janet

  5. #5
    Nocturnal is offline Private Member
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    Hi Michael and Janet thanks for your replies here it's greatly appreciated. I just get so agrivated sometimes when this happens I know it probably happens more often then I catch but when it does I'd appreciate if the webmaster would take some responsibility.

    He's basically made it clear to me though that he's not willing to do the right thing here which would be to re-design the site and to no longer use my original art. I mean it all takes time coming up with concepts, desgining it in photoshop, slicing it, coding the HTML it's not fair when people take the easy way and just take other peoples property.

    Anyways normally I'd contact the ISP and provide full details including a PSD for proof but they're hosting in Russia so I'm fairly confident that the ISP wouldn't take any action in this case.

    I did notice that they're a GPWA member though and that they carry the GPWA verified portals logo on their homepage. Too bad we didn't ahve anything here at the GPWA that would allow us to make complaints on offending sites to have their approvals withdrawn. I've contacted Tex already at eCOGRA to see if he'd be willing to revoke their eCOGRA verified portal cert. if they don't comply not sure if that's going to happen either though.

    Thanks again,
    Aleks

  6. #6
    SlotMonster's Avatar
    SlotMonster is offline Public Member
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    Hello,

    My name is Viktar and I'm the owner of awesome-slots.com
    I've been an affiliate since 2009, with no much success, I must admit. Last December I decided that I need to change the design of my site, for several reasons (I didn't like the initial design, some glitches, low conversions, etc).

    So I've contacted a freelancer (he's from Ukraine). We've already worked together, and he always acted in a good way, I mean providing me with unique contents. I ordered a new design, but since I didn't actually new what I wanted, he suggested to use one of free templates and I agreed. He provided me with few examples claiming they were free from the http://www.gamblingtemplates.net/ I think that was true because there were few backlinks in the footer which I removed.

    After I reviewed few of suggested themes I selected the one I use now. We also discussed the changes we were going to made to improve the site. And that's how my website is looks like right now.

    From my side, I'm NOT claiming that NOCTURNAL is NOT the actual creator of this website theme. And I also would like to find a solution how to deal with such situation.

    Regards,
    Viktar.

  7. #7
    Nocturnal is offline Private Member
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    Hi Viktar,

    Janet had just mentioned in her post above that she had gone though all 800 templates on www.gamblingtemplates.net but didn't see one that even resembled my site casinolaunchpad.com.

    In one of our correspondence I asked you to prove to me by showing me on gambling templates where this template was. You didn't answer me on that. If in fact it was taken from gambling templates please provide us with the link here so we can take a look?

    Thanks,
    Aleks

  8. #8
    SlotMonster's Avatar
    SlotMonster is offline Public Member
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    Hi Aleks,

    Yes, I've also looked through, well, the most of templates. I also sent an email to the freelancer I worked with, including the link to this thread, and described to him all problems I'm having now. I'm going post a reply here right after I received any reply from him.

    Regards,
    Viktar.

  9. #9
    SlotMonster's Avatar
    SlotMonster is offline Public Member
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    I'm also going to take my website down until more information is received.

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  11. #10
    FictionNet is offline Closed by Request
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    It's really nice - and refreshing - to see the way you guys are handling this maturely. Thumbs up.

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  13. #11
    SlotMonster's Avatar
    SlotMonster is offline Public Member
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    Thanks, FictionNet.

    As you can see, I'm not hiding and not trying to sneak out pretending that nothing happened. It's a real issue, and we have to sort it out.

    P.S. My website is down. I will post more information soon, I hope.

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  15. #12
    Nocturnal is offline Private Member
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    Thanks FrictionNet it's greatly appreciated

    And Viktor thanks to you as well for taking this seriously and taking the site down until we can resolve this. It's very professional of you to do so.

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  17. #13
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    Without judging who is innocent or guilty here I do have some empathy for SlotMonster.

    I have also once had a 'unique design' from someone which as I found out the hard way was copied from another site (wierdly, from a site about boilers ). Unless you know coding inside out then the chances are you won't have a clue it is a copy from somewhere else.

    Good luck resolving your situation, seems like you are on track!

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  19. #14
    Fergie's Avatar
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    This is an unfortunate situation for both webmasters if a freelancer was hired to create a unique template and copied an existing site!
    Janet

  20. #15
    Nocturnal is offline Private Member
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    Hello everyone well Viktor (SlotMonster) and I have come to a friendly resolution in the matter in which I beleive that we're both going to be happy.

    It's definitely evident that the freelancer that Viktor had hired was responsible here and not Viktor himself. It's comforting to know that there are good affiliates who react to these situations dilligently and professionally.

    Thanks again for everyone's support it's greatly appreciated.

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  22. #16
    SlotMonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nocturnal View Post
    Hello everyone well Viktor (SlotMonster) and I have come to a friendly resolution in the matter in which I beleive that we're both going to be happy.

    It's definitely evident that the freelancer that Viktor had hired was responsible here and not Viktor himself. It's comforting to know that there are good affiliates who react to these situations dilligently and professionally.

    Thanks again for everyone's support it's greatly appreciated.
    Thanks, Alex for letting everyone know that we've come to agreement!

    As I stated in my previous emails, I've sent two emails to this freelancer. In the first one I described all problems I'm having, and in the second on I urged him to make a refund of my money I paid him for this stolen theme.

    No explanations were given to me, but 10 minutes ago I got a payment from him with the note "Sorry for that..." attached to it, which says more than any words...

    I also would like to thank everyone who got involved in this case for their help and support. I truly hope that this issue will become a good reminder to those who is going to use unethical tactics.

    Best regards,
    Viktar.

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  24. #17
    Christoff is offline Public Member
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    This is a great thread to read - am glad its been resolved amiccably.

    Viktar, you have good morals so I am sure your new site (with another template) will be just as nice as your current one.

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  26. #18
    ih82lose is offline Private Member
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    Great thread to read. Wonderful how everything was settled amicably.

    He provided me with few examples claiming they were free from the http://www.gamblingtemplates.net/ I think that was true because there were few backlinks in the footer which I removed.
    But that bothers me. I run the site poker-themes.com. I spent a lot of money buying themes for it when it was new. But everyone just takes them and removes the footer links and uses them.

    I am surprised to see that this community that prides themselves on protecting copyrights found no problems to this statement. Removing the footer links, in my mind, is theft.

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  28. #19
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    I agree with that. If you get a free template, one should abide by the rules. If you have permission to remove links on a paid template that is another story.

    In this case, the template was purchased and was not downloaded from the freegamblingtemplates site. I think he had the right to remove the footer links in this case.
    --
    "People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity." ~Andrew Carnegie~

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  30. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ih82lose View Post
    Great thread to read. Wonderful how everything was settled amicably.

    But that bothers me. I run the site poker-themes.com. I spent a lot of money buying themes for it when it was new. But everyone just takes them and removes the footer links and uses them.

    I am surprised to see that this community that prides themselves on protecting copyrights found no problems to this statement. Removing the footer links, in my mind, is theft.
    I also was thinking about that. The only thing came to my mind is that a$$hole added them before showing them to me just to make theme look more realistic. I recall he said it's up to me to leave them or not. Unfortunately, I didn't look through that website closely and didn't see the statement about I have to keep those links

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