Case Study: When Design Pirate PH (@designpirateph) literally got pirated.

If you are a Filipino and you hang around Facebook a lot maybe you’ve encountered the page Design Pirate PH Already. As of this writing the page has 748,804 likers and 750,854 followers. In my network of 493 FB friends 47 of them like the page. Despite the popularity though the owner have not created any official website for it.

Design Pirate PH’s content is relatable, casual and filled with feels no wonder it has gone viral. It speaks about the seemingly growing workaholic lifestyle of people which is most of the time brought upon by the expensive state of living in the city. It has a lot of #hugot as Filipinos call it. To explain in simple words #hugot is like saying something that comes from deep within a person. Here are some of the Page post in relation to father’s day.

Happy Father’s Day po sa mga super dads! God Bless 🙂

Posted by Design Pirate PH on Saturday, June 17, 2017

Translation: Not all heroes wear capes. Sometimes they have bit stomachs and they are your dad.

Then there is this classic jab on fat wallets.

ANG SAKET AH !

Posted by Design Pirate PH on Saturday, June 17, 2017

 

Translation: Others are lucky they have a fat wallet. In my case I’m only fat …

It’s pretty simple but it’s the lack of extravagance and the relatability of the idea itself that people often like and share the post. Marketers out there can learn a lot from this. Keeping your products down to earth and relatable will make it easier to sell.

I’ve interviewed the genius behind Design Pirate PH to get more insights.

1. Why is you page called Design Pirate?

Nahihirapan ako mag-isip ng pangalan para sa page and masasabi ko na ito yung pinakatangang pangalan na naisip ko. HAHA. Unang sabak ko
gumawa ng page. My first goal then is to post artworks na may “wow factor”, artworks from other artists. Parang the page will be a collection of
artworks sana. Kaya pirate kasi alam mo na, parang pinirata lang ang artworks ng iba. First day is a set of 7 posts. Halo-halong posts then I inserted 1 hugot post. This hugot post gained the highest reach and interaction. So from that day, Iba’t-ibang uri na ng hugot/rant post ang ginawa ko kaso di ko na naisip baguhin yung name ng page. Nung lumalaki na kasi siya, ipinayo sakin nung iba na wag na raw palitan at baka manibago ang tao pero kung ako yung masusunod, gusto ko na magpalit ng pangalan.

Translation: I found it hard to think of a name for the page and I can say that this is the most stupid name that I could have thought of. HAHA. This is my first time to make a page. My first goal then is to post artworks with “wow factor” , artworks from other artists. Like the page will be a collection of artworks hopefully. Pirate because it’s like the designs are pirated from others. First day is a set of 7 posts. Different kinds of posts then I inserted one feels (hugot) post (hugot). This feels post gained the highest reach and interaction. So from thet day, I made different kinds of feels/rant post I didn’t think of changing the name. When the page got bigger others advised me not to change the name because people might not recognize it but if I’m the one to decide, I really want to change the name.  

2: How did Design Pirate PH in FB began?

It started June last year when I had my first laptop. Made “just for fun” to fill up my spare time while working abroad. Yes, I’m an OFW.
It was made preferrably for graphic designers. The contents of the meme post then is all about their sentiments with their clients, bosses
and workmates. First day of being published, it gained 3k likes on the page which gave me the feeling to do more. Time came when i ran out
of ideas because the design industry is limited. So I expand to office-based hugots as I observed some of the followers aren’t all in the design industry. The page started to grow. I didn’t expect it will happen.

3. Did you ever think of monetizing it?

At first, no. Then there is this time when someone offered me to do t-shirt printing business where they will do the design, printing and delivery. Just that I will entertain the queries and lock the sales. I earned via commission. It still running up until now but I don’t want to focus much time on it first.  Others are willing to do the website for me. Yes, I have plans on doing it someday but I’m thinking, “Ano’ng ilalagay ko na content? E puro kalokohan lang ang alam ko”. I guess I’m not seeing what they are seeing specially when they said I could earn from websites via paid ads. Ang tamad ko rin eh noh. Hindi pa rin ako pumayag.

Translation:At first, no. Then there is this time when someone offered me to do t-shirt printing business where they will do the design, printing and delivery. Just that I will entertain the queries and lock the sales. I earned via commission. It still running up until now but I don’t want to focus much time on it first.  Others are willing to do the website for me. Yes, I have plans on doing it someday but I’m thinking, “What will I put for the content when all I know is joke stuff”. I guess I’m not seeing what they are seeing specially when they said I could earn from websites via paid ads. I’m lazy. I didn’t agree

The Issue:

Due to the lack of an official website someone with the intention of earning money in an immoral way has took it upon himself to take all contents and branding off the Facebook page of Design Pirate PH  and he set up a website using the available domain name. Because the page is viral there was a lot of possibilities in earning money from it by setting it up as a website. How? First of all traffic can earn money from ads, secondly once the traffic has been established the site, that website can start selling almost anything immediately.

Why is it immoral? First of all taking someone’s contents and branding is a breach of copyright, a theft and a crime. The Philippines, United States and many other countries who are part of the international treaty in Switzerland, the Berne Convention has a law against this.

Design Pirate PH has released an official statement regarding the theft:

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC:

So kaninang umaga po, may nagmessage sa akin kung meron daw ba akong website ?

Sabe ko naman “…

Posted by Design Pirate PH on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

According to the official statement the site was up for almost 2 months. Imagine if 700k people managed to travel to the site per month how much would it have earned from stealing someone else’s work? If the owner of the page wasn’t notified how long would this have gone on? The real fiasco here is after the perpetrator was caught, instead of admitting his mistake, he suddenly wanted to sell the site for P250,000 pesos ($5000). He was in the wrong and in truth what he did, aside from theft can now also be classified as hijacking and extortion.

4. How did you feel when your brand name was stolen? Did you investigate who stole it? What did you first do when you found out who did it?

About the issue nung paggawa niya ng website without my consent, matagal na niyang pinopropose na gawin yung site kaso sabi ko, magmeet muna kami personal kasi he is a stranger na bigla na lang nag-approach. Na-trace niya yung account ko from a blog written by another website where they reveal my identity. Umuwi ako last May (2 weeks vacation) pero walang chance para mameet ko siya kasi napakaikli ng time and I have to spend it sa mga bagay na sa tingin ko eh mas mahalaga. Meaning to say, nabitin yung proposal nya. Ang hindi ko alam, eh itinuloy pala nya ang paggawa ng website kahit walang go signal ko. Binili niya yung domain name under his name. Ginawa na niya yung website with all the contents na galing sa page. Nung makita ko kanina, medyo natuwa pa ako kasi nagkaroon ako ng visualization kung paano magiging itsura nung website. Siya kagad pumasok sa isip ko na pwedeng gumawa non so minessage ko siya and he admit naman. Sabi ko bibilhin ko and sabi nya na share na lang kami, ako sa content/articles and siya sa technicals. Pumayag ako nung una, kinonsider ko yung effort niya na gawin yung site pero later on. Saka lang nagsink-in saken na mali. Mali na i-claim niya ang bagay na hindi sa kanya. Nagback-out ako sa deal namin kasi I think na kung nagawa niya iyon nung una pa lang na hindi niya sasabihin sa akin kung hindi pa siya mahuhuli, what more pa pag nag-grow yung website? We were talking nicely and I asked him how much if bibilhin ko yung website. He said P 250,000, di na ako nagreply after. Hayaan ko na sa kanya yung domain name.

Translation: About the issue, of this person making a website without my consent, he proposed to do my site but I said, let’s meet first in persona; because he is a stranger who just approached me. He traced my account from a blog written by another website where they revealed my identity. I went home last May 2 (2 weeks vacation) but we didn’t have the chance to meet because of the short time and I had to spend it on things which I think are more important. Meaning to say his proposal didn’t push through. What I didn’t know was he still continued to do the website even without my consent. He bought the domain name under his name. He made the website using all the contents from my page. When I saw it a while ago I was actually a bit happy because there was a visualization on how the website would look like. The person who offered to do it was the first person who came into mind so I messaged him and he admitted it. I told him I will buy it but he said we should share. I will do the contents and he will do the technicals. At first I agreed, I considered his effort to do the site but later on I realized, it sinked in that it was wrong. It’s wrong for him to claim things that are not his. I backed out from the deal because if he can do it in the beginning without telling me, he would have never told me until I found him out. What more if the website grows? We were talking nicely and I asked him how much if I will buy the website and he said P250,000 ($5000) I didn’t reply after. I will leave the domain name to him.

Possible Solutions:

I talked to Madshock — Oliver Santos Blogger, Web / Creative Designer, Digital Marketer, Branding, Social Media Manager for Startups, Small Businesses and Growing Companies. Founder/CEO of HumanePH about possible solutions to this case of domain hijacking of Design Pirate PH. Here are his advices:

You can approach the domain registrar and show proof of copyright. It also seems like a case of cyber extortion because the domain is being sold despite the content being lifted off the original Facebook Page. In this case (The case of Design Pirate PH) He can approach the NBI if he has the necessary documents.

He can also get a lawyer and create a letter informing the local registrar (imanila). In the US, there is something called the DMCA to take down websites which doesn’t follow the copyright law.

Next is he can issue on his Facebook page that the domain (www.designpirate.ph) is not associated with his Facebook Page (which he already did as I shared the announcement above) but it will be better if he already gets a new domain name so that people will go to his official site instead of the counterfeit one.

The best course of action is really to consult a lawyer even PAO (Public Attorneys Office).  He already has all the necessary details available that is in the domain registration.

Although of course nothing beats diplomacy. (Although he did try that and it didn’t work)

This is where protecting your brand has to come in.

How do you protect you brand? This article by Shopify enlightens us. 

Interested in more case studies like this? Subscribe to get notified on my new posts!

If you want me to create a case study on a certain issue feel free to contact me.