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I recently volunteered to be webmaster for a nonprofit club I'm part of. While I know some very basic HTML, I wanted a more attractive website than one I could hard-code. I found a website that allows drag and drop arrangement of objects and then lets you either publish the site for free (with a banner advertising an upgrade) or buy domain and hosting services from them.

I published the site for free, then copy-pasted the source code, removed the banner, and would like to buy my own domain name and hosting for the site.

Can I get in trouble for this? No part of the source code said it was copyrighted by the website, and parts of it have been and will be further changed by me.

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I decided to rewrite it from scratch. – user30527 Aug 19 '13 at 5:20
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The legalese does not have to be in the source code to be binding. If they have it published on their website (and they probably do) then you are violating their copyright/licensing agreement and are liable should they choose to take legal action.

Furthermore, this is immoral. What you're doing is the equivalent of stealing. I don't think the non-profit you are doing this for would approve of what you've done or wish to be potentially liable for it.

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To add to John's answer, any copyrightable works are copyrighted automatically, even without copyright notices, the circle-C mark, license agreement, and the like.

If you want a nice-looking website, go find a HTML/CSS template already designed. Just a quick one I found via googling is http://www.quackit.com/html/templates/ , just to give you the idea of how these "templates" work and let you started.

Note: These stuff typically have terms of use. Make sure you follow them. Even for free ones, they can have requirements, for example, "retain the designer's name and link in the footer".

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