Originally posted by pokerstore Here is my problem:
Since the site hasn't been published yet and not copyrighted etc.. should i be worried of the design being "borrowed" once I've posted it here?
Art is copyrighted automatically (although it's safer to get a registered copyright - and keep your draft copies just in case you have to contest a design), so you can legally add a copyright notice on any original content.
If you're worried about someone swiping your image(s), watermark it enough so they can't take it without advertizing your site/name/email address.
If it's the design itself, yes that can be "borrowed". Whenever something is available to the public it can be imitated, stolen, and redesigned without your permission (and a lot of times when you don't even realize it to get a legal remedy or get the stolen template removed -- some thieves are so crass they literally take your template and don't even change the fine print anouncing it isn't their site!). If design theft is your concern, just put up a rough draft and ask for a critique on the main points without revealing the final project (yet it won't prevent thieves taking the final project once it's up).
Hopefully in the future they'll have a way that artwork can't be downloaded or copied via browsers, ftp/http downloads or other methods (something like php but the page is password protected from prying eyes so viewers can't read the code). Something so locked that only a time length session cookie could reveal it (the other key is encrypted on the server).
That all really depends on what you mean by your "design" being borrowed. Like Chris said, if you are worried about the actual graphics being taken and modified, then adding a watermark over it will make it rather tough to take it and easily make it their own.
However, if you are worried about the design layout or the ideas behind the design being borrowed, that is always possible and is unavoidable. Even if you get a registered copyright, you can't necessarily copyright a layout. Anyone can look at your design and recreate it using different colors, alter a couple images, change the text, and say it's their site. Have you seen how many e-commerce sites look like Amazon? You can't copy Amazon's images and use them on your site, but you can make images LIKE them.
Bottom line, if you are truely worried about someone taking your design and recreating it on a different site, don't expose it to anyone other than those within the project. That's the only guaranteed way it can't be borrowed ... until your site goes live ...