I'm trying to find out what is "fair use" or not. I'm a web developer trying to get off the ground and my website portfolio has nothing. So, I'm thinking to have a section of my website called "how-to recreations" or the like, where I link to websites that I've programmed from scratch that are modeled after existing, possibly copyrighted websites. I would make my source code (for the design and not the server/database functionality; for the HTML/CSS/JavaScript, if you're tech-savvy) open-source, I wouldn't sell the recreation as a template, and on the page on my portfolio website1 that links to this recreation, I would state and link back to the site that I recreated and explain how I coded various elements of that site. It would just be used to show my coding ability to potential clients and to teach other programmers one way that a site's design out there could be implemented with code.

Tl;dr I'm copying a site's design solely for demonstrative/instructional purposes. Is that legal?

1I'm thinking to not make this page anything other than a how-to and a link to the recreation. But, if I wanted to, could I link back to my portfolio for potential clients that want to hire me based on this how-to/recreation? Would everything still be "fair use"?

  • Just because you make a design similar to site X does not mean you are copying it. For example Google's start page has a logo and a line where you type a query. So does Duckduckgo. It doesn't mean Duckduckgo actually copied Google's page or 'design'. Maybe they were inspired by it though.
    – Brandin
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 7:45

1 Answer 1


If you copy a copyrighted image, yes that is illegal.

You can just make mock logos and graphics and place the logo at the top with navigation and such. Most websites follow the same similar formula in that regard, so you don't need to copy anything.

  • All images, graphics, and icons would be either original or royalty-free. The content would be filler text. But the color scheme (not exactly, as do everything by eye), the layout, the elements, the general design of things, and functionality would be the same.
    – Roman
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 20:34
  • I get that, but you still can't knock off a recognizable logo or whatever.
    – Putvi
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 20:38
  • You can just make a completely different logo put it on the top of the page and then make a background or whatever. You don't even need to copy.
    – Putvi
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 20:38
  • Right, I'm not concerned about copying the logo. This would be the logo I use for a coffee shop website recreation, for example: i.ibb.co/q1CC7SS/Screen-Shot-2019-12-03-at-12-38-32.png
    – Roman
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 20:40
  • You aren't really copying anything then.
    – Putvi
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 20:41

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