While I don’t expect any of my readers to actually participate in creating designs for someone like COPYCAT clubs, this sets something of a precedent in web design.
A Utah company that builds and hosts websites has been ordered to pay more than $700,000 in damages to an Orange County golf club manufacturer for helping create and promote a website that sold counterfeit clubs.
Attorneys for Roger Cleveland Golf Co. said the verdict marked the first time that a website support company has been held liable for aiding in the sale of counterfeit merchandise.
Let’s be clear here: BrightBuilders was dumb. No matter how you look at it, they should have known they were aiding a counterfeiting outfit. You don’t design an e-commerce site without knowing what products are being sold. Also, it was in the damn name.
What this means: if you participate in designing a web site for a nefarious organization, you could be held liable for the illegal activities they use that web site for.
That said, if you design a web site with good intentions and your client starts using the site for illegal purposes after the fact, you really don’t have to worry. You can’t just bury your head in the sand, working for an illegal operation acting as if you have clean hands in the matter.