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Home Forums Other “Copying” previous client material, moral dillema?

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    Hi, I can assume by the topics of these forums that many of you have had to deal with client relations and such and I’m hoping someone with some experience in this particular issue might have some sage advice for a client relations novice.

    Background: So earlier this year I made a totally new custom WordPress site for a particular politician in my area, which (not to toot my own horn :P) has received fairly good publicity since it’s completion, being a step up in quality than similar competing sites I’ve seen. An email came to me recently from someone loosely tied to the campaign and thus knows the guy I did the site for, asking how much work, price, ect. it would cost for me to basically take that site and “change color & content” (content = pics and header I assume) to use for other campaigns, who would be not competitors but rather running parallel for other offices if you know what I mean.

    The problem: I’m not one to rip people off and use pre-made material just to make a buck, but is it o.k. as long as I have the permission of the person who originally paid for it? Somehow it just doesn’t feel right to me, but it is true I could use the extra money. Also of issue, I fear doing this would sacrifice the integrity of the original site. Is this a legitimate fear?

    I know in the end it’s going to be what I feel is right, but maybe somebody has some advice that could make such a transaction seem more justified somehow. Thanks to anyone who answers :)

    Rob MacKay

    Well this can be a very complex issue…

    From what you said it seems like these things are linked – and in that sense I can see a benefit of having the same kind of layout etc etc – as long as you hold the rights to the template still and or the original owner dosen’t mind.

    But then my issue with the idea straight off the mark there is that it is a rehash of something you have done before. I would always look to do something different for many reasons which I am sure you can see too by the sounds of it.

    But basically I would not rehash anything ever – unless the circumstances make it a really good idea and beneficial to the cause of the clients (both the original one and the new).

    That’s just my 2c though :)


    I would use the same theme but change it enough so that it doesn’t look obvious that it’s the same. Maybe tweak the layout and change the styling a little, along with the colors and photos it should look different enough to pass as a separate theme.

    I understand the delicateness of the situation though, I wouldn’t just reuse the same theme with different colors. That could have a negative effect on your reputation, as the next client who comes to you wanting a custom theme could be thinking why am I paying for a custom theme when someone else could come and pay you to use the same one. The whole point of a customs theme is usually that it’s unique. That’s just my 2c too though!


    this comes straight down to price and that is it. It depends on how you sold it. Just because they paid for yours service does not mean that they own the design. They simply paid for your service. If they want to own the design, then they must buy the rights to it and that cost a lot more. If someone else comes along and wants a design that you already made, then I would contact the owner of the existing site and let them know that others want to use it and if they want to be the sole owner of the site then they need to buy the rights to it for another 500.00 or so. Until that happens, the property is your intellectual property. You can do whatever you want without it being immoral


    Thanks for the quality comments guys. I of course welcome any more comments on this as I’m sure this is relevant to other people on here as well.

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