Ok. So designer, CSS/web compliance advocate, Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWDO) core member and mini-conference resource person Marco Palinar found out today that his portfolio page was copied en toto by India-based websapient [dot] com under its own portfolio page, without a trace of reference back to Marco.
Marco is now a victim of what may be the ‘real’ online theft which has plagued the internet since its commercial use became unstoppable: plagiarism.
There may be instances when imitation is flattery but in Marco’s case, it transcends all forms of imitation into outright theft, and speaks of how low other entities will go to advance themselves to profit from other people’s hard work. Marco, incidentally, was recently featured in cssmania.com’s featured sites page.
On the local front just last year, two forms of plagiarism on the internet took high-profile beating from among Filipino bloggers, even landing on the pages of, and given airtime on mainstream media:
- [A] The case of, of all organizations, the 10th Philippine Web Awards which declared an entry for Arts and Portfolio Category, and which was found to have been copied off a German template site. After this anomaly was pointed out to the organizers, the winner acknowledged his mistake, returned the trophy to the organizers (which was subsequently awarded to the runner-up), brought the site-in-question down for some time, and apologized through a post for the ‘mistake’. (Apparently, a similar oversight was again committed by the Webby organizers this year. We await results to this one.)
- [B] The pictures of Anton Sheker, a professional photographer and fellow philmug.ph member who sued the Manila Bulletin, a major daily, which published his pictures from his blog without credit or acknowledgment. Anton sent the editor and publisher several letters of clarification in October 2007 yet but was never fully acknowledged, credited or compensated. He filed the copyright case in June 2008.
Anton’s is a landmark case regarding copyright infringement in the Philippines, especially because it involves online content seeing its way to print. The newspaper filed a counter charge and the case is currently pending in court.
Ripped sites and plagiarized portfolios are often hot topics over at Philweavers.net (a forum of Filipino web designers and web practitioners), going as far back as 2003,in photography forums, in social network sites and blogs, and offline among the Philippine web industry creatives, cafe habitues and bloggers. Local copyright issues seem to have a way of resolving themselves, not just as a result of good (web)sense and savvy, but of vigilance and sense of propriety, except, sadly, in the case of Anton and the Manila Bulletin.
While copycats and rippers abound, i.e. grabbing all forms of media with abandon for various uses and intentions — photos for presentations, text for blogs and other articles, web design templates for personal and commercial gain — Marco’s case is different in that the site owner did not copy a code or design but in fact claimed ownership and presented of a body of works that were never his/theirs.
The Questionable Iterations
Websapient [dot] com, a site based in India, appears to be a relaunch or a domain that may have been bought recently.
Archives.org, in its earliest archive of the domain dated Oct. 14, 2004 up to Feb 2005, reveals that it was a
“system integrator specialized (sic) in Enterprise Supply Chain Management(SCM) / Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications. Websapient’s wireless/mobile solutions enables corporates access information more easily”
A more recent Google cache search yields an entry in getfreelancer.com of websapient.com’s entry on 10-30-2008 20:10 EDT thus:
“Hi, i am ready to work with you, i just launched my website, you can check that and then give me this task after seeing my work only…thanks..URL of my site is: http://www.websapient.com”
The site owner’s profile at the popular cross-discipline creative site coroflot.com says it is a “Web Designer, Flash Programmer, and SEO Analyst”.
Talk about work scope iteration.
On the current site in question, by the way, are testimonials that seem to be coming from the same names as what looks like on a dummy site. (See next two images below)
And so, just for kicks, I was curious about the rest of websapient [dot] com’s text content; I randomly selected a phrase (refer to encircled area in image above) to check against other similar phrases that may have been used elsewhere. Voila.
Filipino creatives are among the best suppliers and design colleagues anywhere. They are hard workers who use their heads to offer design solutions that best benefit their clients.
Hard working and discerning creatives like Marco certainly do not deserve contemptible behavior from lowdowns as websapient [dot] com. It’s an insult to its domain name and to the industry at large.
And while it’s been said that one of the true values of the internet is to make the playing field even for all, we in the creative business — regardless of geolocation — utilize it for so much more than just personal gain: we make a living out of it. Unfortunately, some seem bent on making a killing out of it.
As for companies and shoppers on the lookout for web design and online presence, are they looking hard enough beyond cheap labor and their own profit?
|| UPDATE ||
11 Dec ’08, 8:12pm (PHI) Websapient [dot] com has taken down its portfolio page
Some useful and related links
· WebSapient rips off ENTIRE portfolio off freelance designer
· noisy noisy man‘s not so retard take
· An expat’s view on the issue
· A marketing man provides proof that one of the claimed branding is NOT websapient [dot] com’s
· Philippine technology blog covers Marco’s Ripper/s
· Not so random thoughts about the issue
· Another designer not too pleased about the rip-off
· Blog network b5media has taken notice courtesy of Jayvee Fernandez
· A Philippine copyright shorthand courtesy of Anton Sheker
· Brad Templeton’s recently updated 10 Big Myths about Copyright Explained
· Proper Use of DMCA from Pliagiarismtoday.com
· Philweavers.net membera Des Mendoza’s blog on lending portfolios and Gail Villanueva‘s “Pahiram” daw ng portfolio?!! thread on the same topic (in Tagalog and English)
· A Writer’s View of Freelance Bidding Sites from Freelanceswitch.com
· Google search on Anton Sheker’s copyright case and GMANews article.
· Technogra.ph’s entry on the 10th Philippine Webby Awards
· Blogger Lorelle’s What do you do when someone steals your content
2 More grabs of Websapient [dot] com’s portfolio pages on coroflot.com
Added 12 Dec 08
Branding claim, against the original, as pointed out by Pau Araos
Tag it Websapient.com