What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 130 Stack Exchange communities.

Check out this WordPress Q&A Plugin by WPMU Dev, they have completely ripped-off the Stack Overflow design in their plugin. Even down to the details like the accepting answers tick and tabs.

What's worse is that they are charging $79 a month to have access to this plugin, essentially profiting by copying the SO design (and concept, but I understand you couldn't copyright that).

Just to make this a question: Is this allowed/legal?

share|improve this question
14  
Wow. Not only do they copy the SO design down to the pixel; they also introduce their product with You've seen how engaging, informative, and just plain fun Q&A sites such as Quora can be. That's cold. –  Pëkka Apr 26 '11 at 16:04
5  
Pretty blatant rip-off. A short letter from a lawyer should result in changes to the template/theme. It's not like it would be hard for them to differentiate, but they had to go out of their way to copy it so exactly. And, frankly speaking, I'm used to the Stack Overflow UI, but it can most certainly be visually improved by a good designer. It always baffles me when people decide that the best course of action is copying, rather than improving. Stand on the shoulders of giants and reach higher, don't waste time merely reaching their height! –  Adam Davis Apr 26 '11 at 16:20
4  
It might not be illegal but it sure is a dick move. –  CanSpice Apr 26 '11 at 16:24
3  
Awesome. It's got the old look and feel. :-) –  tvanfosson Apr 26 '11 at 16:52
3  
I'm not sure what to think when the first thing I notice in the banner is that Stack Overflow is missing the space. –  Grace Note Apr 26 '11 at 16:59
    
It looks like they finally make mention of SO (and link to it) in a post made just today. At least SO is mentioned before Quora. The whole thing is still a little tasteless. When the MathWorks made their own SO clone they at least put enough effort into changing the style to make it look more MathWorksy. –  gnostradamus Apr 26 '11 at 20:00

3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Hi, I'm the developer of the WordPress plugin in question.

I used the StackOverflow design as a placeholder. It was never meant to be used in the final version of the plugin.

I shouldn't even have made available a testing version until a proper design was in place. For that, I apologize.

I've sent a memo to the rest of the Incsub team so we get this sorted ASAP.

share|improve this answer
    
Yeh, our bad, sorry! Will get it fixed up asap. –  user160994 Apr 26 '11 at 23:36

lol@u

May have deleted the old one; jump in the new deal: http://wpmu.org/questions/how-much-should-i-charge-for-a-blatant-theft-of-stackoverflows-look-and-feel/

Once again

share|improve this answer
4  
+1 for the poetic user name used for the answer^^ –  Jürgen Thelen Apr 26 '11 at 18:09
    
Looks like they deleted it. –  George Claghorn Apr 26 '11 at 19:15
4  
@gclaghorn: Scumbags. –  Won't Apr 26 '11 at 19:27
3  
Strike 2. Maybe a choice comment could be placed on this post? –  gnostradamus Apr 26 '11 at 20:01
12  
I chuckled at this initially, but -1 because making Stack Exchange seem unprofessional isn't going to help. –  Pops Apr 26 '11 at 20:48
3  
Cops are obliged to be professional towards criminals. Me, not so much. –  Won't Apr 27 '11 at 0:22

From the footer (emphasis mine):

site design / logo © 2011 stack exchange inc;

So at the very least, they could be brought to task over copyright infringement. But given that Jeff and Co. haven't actively pursued any action against clones like OSQA (which also more or less copy look and feel, just with different color schemes), one might say they aren't defending their copyright.

The legal page does not address proper/acceptable use of the copyrighted site design, only logos and names.

edit: (struck out the part that only applies to trademarks and not copyrights, source)

share|improve this answer
2  
I don't think they can do anything against OSQA and consorts (nor do I think they should) - the basic look and feel is probably not protectable. A 1:1 copy this blatant may be a different thing however. –  Pëkka Apr 26 '11 at 16:07
    
@Pekka yeah I'm no expert there, but I actually redacted that part because it only applies to trademarks and not copyrights anyway, I don't think you can ever forfeit your copyright –  Daniel DiPaolo Apr 26 '11 at 16:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .