At MDDHosting we have worked hard over the years to build our reputation and we always put quality of service and support above appearances. We eventually, after over 3 years in business, hired a designer to professionally create a new design for us. The design itself was very expensive and was created by vReplay.com over the course of several months.
Recently an individual associated with the domain “xthosts.com” decided to rip a copy of our design and make it available for public download. While they haven’t realistically done anything that anybody with basic skills couldn’t do if they spent some time doing it, they did make our copyrighted intellectual property illegally available to others in a fashion which proliferates the illegal use of our design.
We knew it was only a matter of time before we would have to go on the offensive to protect our intellectual property, and that time has passed. The “provider” going by the name “Coomme” is using an illegal copy of our design and, as such, is violating international copyright laws. What scares me the most about this, isn’t the fact that they could damage our reputation and corporate image, but that if they couldn’t take the time to come up with their own design and they did such a horrible job of editing in their own logos, what kind of service can their “customers” expect?
I can only hope that anybody looking into potentially signing up with “Coomme Hosting” can come across this post and realize that the provider they were considering is knowingly using stolen property.
Here is a current view of MDDHosting.com and Coomee.com as of this writing. Click on the images for full size.
If you look closely at the logo and the arrow that begins with “Secure & reliable hosting” you will see the obvious marks from the design being edited. It sickens me to know that there are individuals who will steal so blatantly.
Update 08/11/2011 – 1:27 PM EDT
It seems that they think that simply changing some of the colors, but yet still stealing the design itself makes the site “legal”… Seriously… GET YOUR OWN DESIGN.
Update 08/11/2011 – 6:47 PM EDT
The logo has changed, although it’s still using our rounded parallelogram and dashed lines, they’ve also changed the background on the comparison boxes and the colors of the “Order Now” and “Learn More” buttons. There is still a lot of our copyrighted material in use, but who knows, maybe by the time they’re done butchering this illegal copy of our intellectual property it won’t be recognizable?
It is not clear from your post, have you taken any legal action at this point? It is obviously a gray area, but let me know if there is anything that we can do to assist you.
Legal action wouldn’t be discussed here, so I can’t comment as to whether any action has or has not been taken.
Understood. You have been great to us over our time with you. Feel free to send me a private message if we can assist in any way.
I’m appalled, shocked and stunned.
I saw your tweet, and never expected the rip to be so blatant. Even if imitation is a form of flattery, as you say, you have a brand to protect.
I guess one lesson is only to buy a template from a site that guaranteed they have the rights to those templates to the point of indemnifying the customer.
What absolutely baffles me is that they would put work into modifying our design to try and avoid legal issues, but wouldn’t get a FREE design online (i.e. one that they can legally use and modify) and put that work into it.
We had the template custom designed exclusively for us. There was no template site involved and it was never offered for sale to anyone else.
Looks like they replaced the site with a blank white page… But what is that I spy in the URL bar? Oh! Look at that. The MDDHosting favicon.
Same person spamming like crazy. See this on WHT: http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1072791
Sorry – you misunderstood me entirely. I can see full well that there was no generic template involved in your work. I was referring to the people at xthosts who appeared to rip the custom-built theme and make it available to others. Someone could conceivably download what they think is a public template from someone like that, not realising that the template provider has no rights to it.
The issue with that, however, is that all downloads of our design that have been made available thus far fully include our logo, live chat script, and all kinds of other content that would at the least raise some suspicions.
If the design was unbranded by the ripper and fully stripped and made generic, then I could see how somebody could think they were legally allowed to use the design – although that wouldn’t change the fact that they still are not.
I do think that Scott, perhaps, misunderstood what you meant but I did understand it :).