About the Author

Michael Doig is a science teacher, web developer, and avid traveler who lives in Brooklyn, NY.

When Is It Different Enough?

There is an interesting discussion going on in the comments over at Copyblogger. The ubiquitous Chris Pearson commented on John Wesley’s WordPress theme

Hey John,
Your site is nothing more than a Cutline/Copyblogger Theme mashup. Where’s my link?

Here is a screenshot of the theme in question

(Click to enlarge)

John Wesley’s reply

I’ll readily admit that I built off the structure of the Cutline Theme because I had no previous design experience, but I took the link out after tweaking nearly every aspect of the style and customizing it with all my own graphics. I’ve also borrowed aspects from other sites as well. I think that makes it more than a mashup and I don’t think anyone but yourself would even recognize the influence. Honestly I’m flattered that you noticed.

This is starting to remind me of the Vanilla Ice sample fiasco…

B00000Drbv.01. Sclzzzzzzz

From Wikipedia: Vanilla Ice drew controversy by claiming that he owed no royalties for sampling “Under Pressure”, citing one minor alteration to the bass line. Although no lawsuit was ever filed, the rapper supposedly settled out of court, and songwriting credit was retroactively given to Bowie and the members of Queen.

When is something altered enough that you no longer need to pay tribute to the original?

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that smart guys like Chris make it possible for the rest of us to focus on what is important, producing great content. I don’t want to think about browser compatibility or why my floats aren’t lining up anymore. That is why I hired Chris to think about that stuff for me.

There is some ego involved in taking footer links out, but as a thank you to all of the people who spend hours working for free on quality software – leave them intact. If you didn’t start from scratch, it is the least you can do.

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