This modest little slice of fame I’ve gotten comes with its drawbacks. One of them is the periodic plagiarism of the design of Subtraction.com by unscrupulous or unintentionally errant individuals. I handled my first exposure to this phenomenon last year rather ham-fistedly, overreacting to the essentially innocuous emulation of this site’s design by a basically well-meaning young guy abroad. I rather indignantly and publicly blogged about his offending site, and he graciously removed it — the same effect could have been achieved without the hoopla had I just sent him a private, polite email instead.
Déjà Vu All Over Again
Since then, people have sent me examples of other Web sites that have committed the same sort of plagiarism, oftentimes in even more egregious ways. I’ve learned to relax about the whole thing, and to remain confident in the idea that enough people have generously come to regard the look and feel of Subtraction.com as intrinsically mine — it now strikes me as somewhat gauche to publicly call out these instances of creative theft, because virtually none of them seem to have hopes of achieving any recognition, or doing any damage to what little notoriety I have myself.
As much as I try to maintain a reasonable attitude about this stuff, though, it’s something else entirely when someone brings to my attention a suspiciously faithful facsimile of Subtraction.com not from an individual, but rather from an institution — and one that ostensibly occupies a well-respected place in polite society. Sort of like this one from the Auburn University School of Architecture.
Now I just don’t know how to react.
Right: Through the looking-eerily-familiar glass: the Auburn School of Architecture’s Web site looks just like mine.