....and more..... with apologies......

More from Andreas...
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On Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Andreas Viklund wrote:
Hello again!

I could answer in the same aggresive spirit, but I won't. I am a bit too friendly to do that. I'll give you one more chance, in all kindness, to understand what you are doing wrong here. Here are the URLs you should see first:

http://andreasviklund.com/general/on-the-move/
(here is the one and single comment you have posted on my site - and my replies.)

http://andreasviklund.com/contact/read-this-first/
(here is a page explaining why questions, comments and inquiries about any other site than andreasviklund.com should NOT be sent to me - not even if I am credited as the original designer of a site - as well as a short explanation of the concept of website templates that you need to understand to avoid wasting an awful amount of energy on something that will not take you anywhere.)

The short and very simple point is that I am a website template designer. You can see the original XHTML/CSS-based website template named "andreas09" here:

http://andreasviklund.com/templates/andreas09/

That template, which can be freely downloaded by anyone, has been downloaded in hundreds of thousands of copies. It has been ported by other designers into themes for numerous content management systems (including WordPress, Drupal, blogspot, Etomite and many others). These themes are also freely available to anyone who wants to use the designs through a simple download. Most ported versions keep my name in the footer, crediting me as the original designer of the layout.

What you have seen on the spam blog you have found to use your content, is a WordPress (www.wordpress.org) theme called WP-Andreas09 - a theme created by Ainslie Johnson based on my original Andreas09 template. You can find the WP-Andreas09 theme for WordPress here:

http://webgazette.co.uk/wordpress-themes/wp-andreas09/

That theme is currently used on a lot of websites and blogs all over the world. A Google.com search for "andreas09 by andreasviklund" gave me millions of hits. The spam blog you have found is one of those blogs. There are many others (as well as spam blogs that use other designers themes and templates). Not one of those millions of blogs and websites are run, managed or even supported by me. I run andreasviklund.com only, and I am not in any way affiliated with the spam blog you have found. I have no contact information (I couldn't possibly have that) for the blog owner, and there is nothing I can do to help you in your fight - other than telling you to make sure that you aim at the correct target. In this case, that would be GoDaddy if GoDaddy is the host of the spam blog. Targeting me, andreasviklund.com, Ainslie Johnson, WordPress or anything or anyone else than the actual spam blog is not just wrong, it is a waste of time, money and energy.

The only thing I have done to get involved in your situation, is that I have designed the original CSS template, which someone else (in this case Ainslie) built upon and created a WordPress theme from. That theme was then downloaded by an unknown person, who applied it on his/her blog. What this means in reality is that the blog owner could have used any of the tens of thousands of available WordPress themes that can be freely downloaded. If the blog owner would have used a theme by another designer, you would have seen another name in the theme design credits. And with your way of reasoning, you would have ended up being angry on a completely different person - who would in return have given you the same answer as I did: "I am not the right person to contact".

Of course, I can't stop you from trying to take legal action against me. But it would be a bad idea, since any legal representative that would get involved would make sure to do their research - and they would write me off in a minute. And you would still end up having to apologize for forcing me to spend my time on handling a situation which I am not in any way involved in.

During the four years that I have worked as a professional website template designer, I have seen many misunderstandings like this happen. I have been threatened, yelled at and verbally attacked many times. In every single situation, I have been able to get my point through sooner or later, and got the apology I have deserved. In several cases, I have considered legal counter-action to defend my reputation and business. So far, it has not been needed. I hope it won't be needed in this case either. As said, I am a friendly person - often too friendly...

Now, I have spent working time on explaining things that you should have figured out before even considering to accuse me of content theft. I am happy to do that to avoid further misunderstandings. But I don't want to continue discussing a situation which is none of my business. I am providing you with all the information you need to understand what you did wrong, what "aim at the right direction" means, why I can happily wish you the best of luck with resolving your situation - and why I deserve an apology. I won't discuss this topic further, so I hope that you understand my point and can move on to spend your energy on finding the real spam blogger and content thief, and get his/her blog closed down through the blogs hosting company. And, of course, stop attacking website template designers - because that is generally not a friendly thing to do!

If this information doesn't sort out your misunderstanding and you make any kind of move to put my name, website, profession or templates in the dirt, I will post all correspondence on my blog to make sure that both visitors and template users can see the facts that you have so far missed. Please don't push this that far, I'd rather spend my time on building more website templates for the world to use. :)

Best regards,

--Andreas Viklund, andreasviklund.com

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My email response WITH APOLOGY:

OK, Andreas, I give you credit for maintaining a somewhat level tone in this latest email. Your first one was rather sarcastic.
In all fairness, you can certainly understand WHY I am aggressively pursuing this, yes? You would do the same if your web template designs were being used by the same person on a regular basis, helping them make money, without proper credit to you. Of course you would. I am a friendly person too, and I love helping people make connections to others who can help them build better businesses. It's a large part of why I have a blog. But this kind of underhanded behavior gets my hackles up - I have to protect my business and my reputation. You landed in my 'sights' because of the link to you as being involved with this website.

I have read your responses, and I thank you for your concise explanations and the links to further info that you provided in them and in your email. After reading them all, I see your well-made point about the limits of your responsibility here. Unless you are responsible for creating the settings that use RSS feeds to upload content to the hrantiques.com site, you are apparently not responsible for this situation. I will post this response to you on my blog, my Facebook page, and as a comment on your own site.

In addition,
I offer you my most sincere apology for jumping on the first name found on the offending site - your name - and accusing you of wrongdoing. Again, if you had nothing to do with the programming of settings for this blog, then you are not responsible for the theft of content. I apologize for any ill will that I or others have expressed against you because of this situation. I will post this response to you on my blog, my Facebook page, and as a comment on your own site to ensure that anyone who has read my previous statements regarding this situation sees that I am recanting my accusation and hoping for absolution for it. But oh, believe me, I am still all over this situation.

I know that keeping track of the many uses of your templates is impossible, but now that you know this particular one is putting you out there as the single available contact for it, you may just want to have that link and your name removed. It may prevent you being contacted by other writers whose content is being stolen. (Although I sincerely suspect that that site is about to be shut down.) When faced with this kind of heinous offense against them, many of us creatives whose very livelihood is threatened act first and think later. I am sure, as a designer, you understand this. I was thinking when I wrote the comments to you and on my blog, but needed to do further research before sending them. This is a mistake that many others may make when seeing your name associated with a site that has no other visible contact information.

I have obtained the information on the registered owner of that site, and am pursuing action against them. In the case that you wish to do so as well, here it is:

www.hrantiques.com
IP 70.32.68.86
created 19 sept 07
expires 19 Sept 10
Hosted by MediaTemple.net

Registered Owner:
hr GMT Inc.
601 Cleveland Street Suite 950
Clearwater, Florida 33755

727.443.4800
727.443.2200 fax

Administrative and Technical Contact:
Hans Peter Jeschke
hp@hrgmt.com


Dear Mr. Hans Peter is going to get an earful from me, let me tell you....

Again, Andreas, I thank you for your professional conduct in your last reply, for your patience, and for allowing me to see the entire story. I hope that my apology is sufficient to end this communication between us, even though I am quite sure that you regard me as a hot headed artist at this point. ;) It's ok, I can deal with that. Passion drives creativity.
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Off to post on Facebook and send emails to Hans Peter......

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my take on retail visual design:

"The thing is, retail design is driven by psychology. It is by manipulating space, visuals, lighting, sound, smell, and mood that we influence customers to enter, stay, browse, buy, and return. It is an endless exercise in change, endurance, growth, education, and imagination that enables retailers to stay on top of their game and at the forefront of their customer's minds. Yes, what you sell IS important - but even the very best merchandise won't sell at full price if it's presented in torn boxes on dirty shelves in a store that is too crowded to turn around in. Visual impact is a huge part of business, and utilizing the principles that have been proven to work can help you build a better business." ~ DWK