Tutorial List Updated and a General Update

Hello everyone!

Just wanted to drop a quick note and let you guys know that I have started to update other areas of the blog and I’ve been working on some new projects, including our Hammer Update, which I’m excited to say is back on track after some would-be delays decided to pop up for Jay and would have stalled development. It took a week, but it looks like the green light is back on.

I’ve updated the Complete Tutorial List area of the blog so you can easily see a compilation of all my original articles and tutorials for various subjects, and I can assure you that you will continue to see many more this summer.

Other than that, things have been going well and I look forward to hounding suppliers and corporations for prizes this year for our summer prize giveaway contests. Let the begging begin! If you or an organization you know would be interested in supplying us with donated product to be featured as prizes (You will get MEGA traffic exposure as a contest sponsor), give me a buzz and we can hammer out the details.

That’s it for now, see you next post!


Learn how to use the right DPI for Printing or On-Screen Graphics – Making Sense of the DPI Equation

One of the most common questions I get when working with folks just starting up their hobby or career in digital graphic arts surrounds the confusion of DPI. What DPI should I use? Does it have to be different when I print? What’s the difference between DPI and PPI? The questions go on and on, and being confused about DPI is completely normal even though most don’t want to admit it.


So, what exactly IS DPI?

DPI is an abbreviation meaning Dots Per Inch, and it’s used as a form of resolution measurement for printers, scanners, digital cameras and displays. The greater the native DPI number, the higher the resolution and detail of the image is.

PPI is a similar term that stands for Pixels Per Inch, which in essence means the same thing as DPI, however tends to apply to images intended for on-screen use only and not for physical printing.

For the sake of simplicity, it’s all the same thing.

Measuring DPI with a Ruler

One of the most confusing aspects of DPI is figuring out how big something is based on it’s resolution when it comes time to printing. The rule of thumb here is that 1 inch = 72 DPI. Well, sort of, depending on who you ask and if they accept the 72 DPI myth turned standard. More on this to come…

Let’s take a camera for example. My Nikon D70s tech specs state that the largest photo resolution supported is 3,008 x 2,000 pixels. So if I want to print that image at it’s native size, I’d up printing a huge 41.7″ x 27.8″ poster!

Here’s the math:

Width: 3008 / 72 = 41.7
Height: 2000 / 72 = 27.8

That’s how you convert DPI resolution to inches.

Here’s the complete conversion chart:

1 Centimeter = 28 Pixels
1 Inch = 72 Pixels
1 Millimeter = 3 Pixels

At this point, you may be asking “Why 72 Pixels?”.

Well, you may have heard that monitors display a resolution of 72 or 96 DPI, or something similar, but that’s completely bogus and is nothing more than a myth that’s been repeated over and over until it became fact. The DPI level of an image is irrelevant when it comes to a video monitor because everything is measured in pixel sizes. Think I’m crazy? Try this little test: Open up Photopaint or some other graphics program and create a 1″ document in 72 DPI. Next, take out a ruler, hold it to your monitor and you’ll see that it’s not exactly 1″ wide or high, and depending on your resolution, it’s probably not even close.

So again, why 72 pixels? It actually has to do with text fonts, which are measured in points. A point is defined as 1/72 of an inch, so a 12 point font size is 12/72 of an inch in height when printed.

So in essence, the 72 pixel concept is really just a fake number that has become an industry standard unit of measurement. You can read about this concept in great detail at www.scantips.com. We’ll go over the true measurement of DPI vs Ruler Measurements in a bit.

At first, this is probably just adding to your confusion, but I can assure you that it will all become quite clear by the time you’re done reading this tutorial.

Before you can figure out what kind of DPI you should be using, you first have to consider what the graphic is for. Is this for printing, or is this for on-screen video display? Answering this question is really the first thing you should be asking yourself, because you’re in for a real nightmare if you design in the wrong DPI and only find out halfway through the project.

Let’s start with the easiest answer: “I am designing a graphic for on-screen display.”

Great, well in that case the DPI you choose doesn’t matter in the slightest because video screens like the monitor you are using right now uses pixel sizes and couldn’t care a less about the DPI level of your image. See for yourself:

The following image is 450 x 317 Pixels at 72 DPI and measures 6.25″ x 4.4″


Here’s the same image at 450 x 317 Pixels at 150 DPI and measures 3″ x 2.1″


And finally, here’s the image at 450 x 317 Pixels at 600 DPI and measures 0.75″ x 0.53″


Do you see a difference? You won’t because your monitor doesn’t care what the DPI level is, it only cares about pixel measurements. If you have a windows wallpaper at 1024 x 768 pixels, it can be 6 or 6000 DPI and it’ll still look exactly the same. Does the DPI affect anything in the 3 examples above? Of course! Try printing out the 3 samples in their stated resolutions and watch happens.

The fact that people all work in 72 or 96 DPI for on-screen graphics is a myth that became a standard, and as you can see, it’s a bogus number and clearly doesn’t make a difference whatsoever. You work in whatever DPI level you need to achieve the pixel sizes you require. Want more proof? Open up a 3D graphics program like Swift 3D and in your render or sizing settings do you see somewhere to set the DPI? You won’t because the program uses screen resolution sizes, not DPI levels. If you want to render something for printing, you simply need to make some easy calculations to get the final pixel resolution size required.

Let’s pretend that you are creating a 3D scene in 3D Studio Max and you need to figure out how big your final render has to be for various uses. Here’s some possible scenarios:

A) I want to create a Windows wallpaper for a 1024 x 768 background:

Set your render size to 1024 x 768 and run the render… end of story.

B) I want to create a render than can be printed on a 40″ x 30″ poster in 150 DPI:

Open your calculator and simply multiply the dimensions in inches by the DPI level you want. So, for a this poster size, you would calculate 40 x 150 and then 30 x 150 to arrive at the final required resultion of 6000 x 4500 pixels. Set your render size to 6000 x 4500 and export away!

C) I want to print this render out on some 8″ x 10″ glossy photopaper at 300 DPI:

By using the same calculation as in scenario B, your render should be processed at 2400 x 3000 pixels.

We’ll get into how to determine what DPI you need to use for printing certain formats and sizes later in the tutorial.

Now for the harder part: “I am designing a graphic for printing.”

If you are going to be producing images for a printed hard copy, you need to determine the desired DPI resolution, which is normally dictated by the printer itself. The higher the allowable native DPI, the more detail the print will have. In other words, a 6 x 4 photo printed in 72 DPI won’t be nearly as crisp and detailed as the same photo printed in 300 DPI.

Before we move on, the native DPI is what you have to go by, and this means that DPI of the raw image before editing. The original (or native) resolution of the image will determine how much I can dial up the DPI level without my image getting too small. What you don’t want to run into is having a small image with a low DPI and require printing it in a higher DPI or size because it won’t turn out very nice.

To help you understand this a bit better, let’s go back to our Nikon D70S photo example. We know that the largest available image resolution on this camera is 3008 x 2000 pixels. If we printed that image at 72 DPI, we would end up with a poster sized print of 41.7″ x 27.8″. We obviously don’t want to print a photo quite this huge, so we’ll want to fix this image up so that it both looks great on paper AND fits our desired size.

The first part of this re-size job is the overall print size of this photo. Let’s pretend our photo album holds 6″ x 4″ prints, so that means we’ll need to reduce the size of our 41.7″ x 27.8″ poster to 14% of it’s original size. If we don’t change the DPI level of the document, that will end up giving us an image that went from 3008 x 2000 pixels to 432 x 288 pixels. Unfortunately you’ve only re-sized the image but didn’t take into consideration the DPI output, so when you print this image as is, the photo will come out blocky with very poor details. What happened? You didn’t take advantage of the higher DPI level your printer is capable of, so your image details were completely lost.

Let’s go back to our original 3008 x 2000 pixel photo, and this time we’ll assume our printer is capable of a 300 DPI print. When you re-size the image in our graphics program this time, we’ll change the photo’s size to 6″ x 4″, but we’ll also change the DPI level to 300DPI instead of the default 72. This will end up giving us an image of 1800 x 1200 pixels and is 60% of the original size, rather than a mere 14% when using 72 DPI. Print that and compare it with the other photo and you’ll notice that while the prints are the exact same size when measured with a ruler, the 300 DPI one is crisp and clear and the 72 DPI print is already falling into the trash can.

“So, just how large can I print this photo?”

This all depends on the level of detail you want to sacrifice and the purpose of the image once it’s printed out. Let’s have a look at our native 3008 x 2000 pixel photo and see what sizes we can print at without actually enlarging the original photo:

72 DPI: 41.7″ x 27.8″
120 DPI: 25.1″ x 16.7″
200 DPI: 15″ x 10″
300 DPI: 10″ x 6.7″
600 DPI: 5″ x 3.3″

So as you can see, the higher the DPI level I use without changing the size of the image, the smaller the image will be when I print it out because I’m forcing more dots or pixels per inch.

The DPI level you choose depends on the application, but here’s a general guideline:

Large posters: 120 DPI
Basic business documents: 200 DPI
Documents with photos or decent photo prints: 300DPI
High resolution prints: 600 DPI+

The higher the number you can work with, the better, but it’s important to know what you’re printing on or you could be wasting your time. The average large plotter ink jets used to print a low number of posters for example often don’t print in a DPI level higher than 150, so breaking your head with a HUGE 300 DPI poster could end up being a waste of time.

“Does the DPI I choose affect what I see when working on screen?”

One of the main reasons of knowing the resolution you need and not going overboard is that the larger the document’s size and DPI level is, the bigger the file gets and the slower your system will get when working on it in a graphics program.

Let’s pretend you have been hired to design a poster for a local dance club in town, and the desired dimensions are 35″ high and 25″ wide. Lets have a look at how big this document will be when you’re working on it on your computer:

35″ x 25″ at 72 DPI = 1800 x 2520 pixels – At this resolution, you shouldn’t have too much trouble working on it.

35″ x 25″ at 150 DPI = 3750 x 5250 pixels – As you can see, our on-screen resolution just took a huge jump and the computer is working hard when applying filters and things are starting to slow down.

35″ x 25″ at 300 DPI = 7500 x 10500 pixels – At this point, my slightly older PC is in real pain and is practically unusable.

Now, imagine I go and design this poster in 300 DPI knowing that higher DPI is better. After hours of waiting around for filters to apply and countless reboots, I finally get the document done. I get the image to the printer only to find out that the prints will be done in 120 DPI, at which point I’d probably pound my head into the nearest wall a few times.

Is there a big difference between printing in high DPI vs low DPI?

One of the worse mistakes you can do when it comes to designing print media is to use a DPI level that is lower than the optimal printing level allowed to you. As a general rule, anything that you intend to print that is relatively small such as a magazine, postcard, calendar, photo etc. should be no less than 300 DPI. More often than not, the required DPI will be even higher than that, but always check with your printer to find out what you should be using. Anything in a large size format like posters are typically 120 – 150 DPI because it’s extremely difficult to get source images in a 300+ DPI range with that kind of size. Even when shooting your own stock photos, you would need to spend a fortune on a very high end camera for that level of native resolution.

We’ve seen how DPI means absolutely nothing when viewing an image on screen, so now let’s have a look at how printing is affected. The following images were taken from a single sheet of glossy brochure paper, which I fed into a Canon i470D printer multiple times for each print out. I then took the sheet of paper and scanned it with an HP ScanJet 5300C so you could see the difference in detail between text and photos at 72 DPI versus 300 DPI. The following images were taken straight from the scanner and were not touched up in any way.

Our first example is a sample line of text that was printed in 72 DPI. At first glance, the text doesn’t look too bad, but if you look closely, the text is badly pixelated and the edges of the fonts are not crisp at all.


Our next sample is the same text printed at 300 DPI. Note the pixelated look is gone and the edges are crisp and clear.


Next we look at some sample photo printouts. This is a closeup of some wood and rocks I have on a diorama in my office that I photographed with my Nikon D70s. I down-sampled the photo to a 6″ x 4″ print at 72 DPI, and here’s a closeup of one section of the photograph once printed.


Here is the same area of the photo printed as a 6″ x 4″, but this time at 300 DPI. Once again, the poor detail and chunky pixels are gone and the photo is crisp.


What if my native DPI is lower than what I need?

Unfortunately, you can only work with your native resolution and go down from there. You can enlarge images slightly without too much loss in detail, but if you have a photo that is 6″ x 4″ at 72 DPI, there’s no way to enlarge it to get a 300 DPI level print. You can print it at that resolution, but the end result will be a photo that looks the same as if you had printed it at 72 DPI in the first place. Bottom line here is to keep your raw photos and images, and if you do shoot stock yourself, capture the photos in the highest resolutions available on your camera because you never know how big you’ll need to go.

Any final thoughts?

Just remember, when it comes to creating and working on images and graphics for on-screen use, DPI is meaningless because you work in resolution sizes. Just remember that most graphic programs for 2D raster use the 72 DPI base rule simply because it’s a myth that turned into an industry standard. At first people try to argue this, but think about it. When you are creating a beautiful new abstract wallpaper for your windows background, do you worry about DPI, or do you simply know it needs to be 1024×768? But when it comes time to printing, the rules change and DPI is suddenly vital and can make or break your final product.

Remember to always check with the print technician at your intended printer company for the DPI requirements, or if you plan to print at home, check your manual to ensure you’re using the best DPI you can possibly use.

I hope this tutorial has helped clear up the DPI mystery and that you comfortably know the difference between what’s needed for posting a picture on a website versus printing it on photo paper for your album.

Please be sure to post any comments or questions you may have, and we’ll see you next post!


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Please be sure to check out my complete tutorial list for more great articles!

General Update – S.E.E.D Released, Server Added and Other Goodies

Hello everyone!

The last week or so has been quite busy for me and things don’t seem to be letting up in the foreseeable future, which of course is not a bad thing. For starters, the AvP style fanfilm by Pete Mander finally arrived in my studio in raw format last week for some Divx loving. You can check out this 30 minute fan made film at the official website at www.seedfilm.com. A huge congrats goes out to Pete Mander and his cast and crew at finally releasing this 2 year project!

The secondary server has finally been implemented for Pixel2life Studio owned websites to handle the extra traffic. During peak times, the server was starting to bog down a bit due to all the activity on Pixel2life.com. We’ve added a second dual CPU server to process HTTP and other services, and the main server will process MySQL queries only. This should sufficiently balance the load for us to allow for growth and handle huge spikes like Digg or other large portals generate from time to time. The new server has been installed for a couple of days now and appears to working with the other box perfectly. I’m keeping close eye on things over the next little bit to calm my nerves more than anything.

I’ve also been working on some new articles and managed to finally release my DMCA Law tutorial, which teaches webmasters how to take action when their website content has been stolen. I think this is a subject that is easily understood, yet so many don’t have the faintest clue of what’s involved when it comes to copyright infringement. I hope this will be a huge help to many people in the future.

The good folks over at Layers Magazine recently signed up for some advertising on our network ad system and sent me a few copies of their magazine, and let me tell you, this is a MUST HAVE for Photoshop and Adobe enthusiasts or professionals alike. So, a big thanks to them for the ad purchase and the magazines! Be sure to check them out at www.layersmagazine.com for information on subscribing and for a slew of online Adobe goodness.

I went out for dinner and some pool playage with Eric from Photoshopsupport.com a couple of Fridays ago and had a blast, despite losing 5 games to 7 in a display of complete and utter loss of skills. I’ll be scheduling a rematch in a couple of weeks. I emailed Alex, fellow Montrealer and webmaster of www.idigitalemotion.com, for some brewskis as well, but no word from his end of the city yet. If any of you fellow Montreal readers (Or visitors to the area) want to get together for some drinks to talk shop and share some laughs, drop me a line and we’ll make a date!

Last, but not least, Jay is having a hilarious contest to customize his version of our network logo on his Blog site. You can get the details at the Pixel2life Forums and see the current mascots in action on twod.co.uk.

That’s about it for now folks, be good and we’ll see you next update!


DMCA Action – A General Guide to Taking Action Against Site Rippers using DMCA Law!

Your website is up and business is good. Your traffic is steadily rising and people are starting to pass around your link in blog posts, via email, forums and other forms the global internet community use to pass around website information. Then one day, you encounter your first experience with a “site ripper”. It normally happens by opening your email program and finding an unread message with the subject line of “Look what I found!” or “I think your site was stolen”. You pray its spam as you move the mouse pointer to that bold title while the anxiety starts to kick in. You click and scan the body of the message, reading the sometimes helter-skelter details of how he or she found a site that looks identical to yours. At the end of it all, you find two links: One is your website, the other leads to a near duplicate of your layout except the banner may have a few changes and the domain name in the browser link field is different. Guess what? You’ve been ripped, and your world will never be the same.

So now what are you supposed to do? After the fits have subsided and you admit to yourself that spending thousands to track the offender down and beat them with a cudgel isn’t very realistic, it’s time to look at laws designed specifically for your protection, and best of all, the initial stages don’t cost you a monetary penny.

DMCA Article Logo

The DMCA, or Digital Millennium Copyright Act, is an American Act created and passed by the US Congress on October 12th, 1998. A couple of weeks later on October 28th, our favorite cigar toting US President, Mr. Bill Clinton, signed the Act into law. So, does this mean that DMCA law is exclusive to the US? Yes and no. You see, the DMCA was designed to implement the treaties that were signed in December of 1996 at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Geneva conference, which of course is a global organization. The DMCA simply addresses additional issues with matters related to the WIPO treaties.

Here’s an overview of what the DMCA does:

– Makes it a crime to circumvent anti-piracy measures built into most commercial software.

– Outlaws the manufacture, sale, or distribution of code-cracking devices used to illegally copy software.

– Does permit the cracking of copyright protection devices, however, to conduct encryption research, assess product interoperability, and test computer security systems.

– Provides exemptions from anti-circumvention provisions for nonprofit libraries, archives, and educational institutions under certain circumstances.

– In general, limits Internet service providers from copyright infringement liability for simply transmitting information over the Internet.

Service providers, however, are expected to remove material from users’ web sites that appears to constitute copyright infringement.

– Limits liability of nonprofit institutions of higher education — when they serve as online service providers and under certain circumstances — for copyright infringement by faculty members or graduate students.

– Requires that “webcasters” pay licensing fees to record companies.

– Requires that the Register of Copyrights, after consultation with relevant parties, submit to Congress recommendations regarding how to promote distance education through digital technologies while “maintaining an appropriate balance between the rights of copyright owners and the needs of users.”

– States explicitly that “[n]othing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use…”

Did you catch what I pasted in bold? That’s right folks… if you can prove that material you created is being used on a website that is not under your control, the company hosting the website is OBLIGATED BY LAW to remove that content. In fact, if the person who stole this content has profited in any way from your stolen property, you can even sue for damages and infringement, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves. If you want to read the rest of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, you can find a full digital copy at The Library of Congress.


Now, before you go galloping off the start screaming at hosting companies about how you’ve been digitally ripped off, you have to do some research, then present that research in a VERY specific legal format as dictated by the DMCA. You can’t just send any old email and expect action… Hosting companies must protect themselves legally as well, so your notice must conform to DMCA standards.

So let’s sum up our situation so far:

1. You have your website that is using content you created
2. You have a link to a website that has obviously stolen your content
3. You have a new found taste for blood and want to injure someone.

But who? Who is responsible for this, who do I notify, and finally, how do I get action? It’s time for a little research to find out who you are dealing with, and to create an action ladder.

There are several players involved in issuing a DMCA notice and forming what I call an action ladder. An action ladder is simply a way of organizing specific parties by order of contact. The bottom of the ladder is your first contact in order to get the site shut down, or remove your content at the very least. If this party doesn’t react accordingly, then you move up the ladder to your next point of contact. Let’s establish who is who in this issue.

There are normally 4 levels of contact for any given website, depending on their size:

The registrant is the person or company that owns the website domain name in question. As an example, the registrant of this website (www.danrichard.com) is me, Dan Richard. If possible, this is the first person you need to try and contact to let them know they are using stolen content and need to remove it immediately.

The Webhost is the company that is hosting the website and are usually as far as you need to go to have your stolen property removed.

Data Center
There’s a very good chance that the Webhost is in fact a small company that is renting servers and/or rack space in a large data center, and can basically over-rule a webhosting company that is using their network and not responding to your notice properly.

Registrar or ICANN Registrar
When you buy a .com name like pixel2life.com or whateveryouneed.net, you have to buy it from a special company that is allowed to sell you these domain names. These special companies are called Registrars, and godaddy.com and networksolutions.com are among the biggest ones in the world.

So here’s our action ladder:

Step 1 – Contact the registrant with your complaint and wait 24 – 48 hours for appropriate action.

Step 2 – If no action has been taken by the registrant, file a DMCA notice with the Webhost and wait 24 – 48 hours for appropriate action.

Step 3 – If no action has been taken by the Webhost, send a formal complain and file a DMCA notice with the Data Center and wait 24 – 48 hours for appropriate action.

Step 4 – If you have still not received any action from either party, your final action is to try and get in touch with the Registrar. Send them a letter explaining your situation and be sure to attach your DMCA notice. Registrars like Godaddy will take immediate action, however smaller companies may prove difficult to work with.

The question is, how does one go about finding out this information? That’s what the magic of WHOIS is for! A WHOIS is a search performed on a domain name or IP to determine who owns it, as well as a ton of other useful information.

At this point, I think it’s time to use some live websites and build us a fake ripping scenario so you can see this attack plan in action. Let’s pretend that www.danrichard.com has ripped off www.pixel2life.com by stealing their entire layout and using it on their domain. The first thing the owners of www.pixel2life.com should do is take screenshots of all the ripped content and save them to a safe place in case they need to refer to these shots as proof later on down the road. Next, they need to perform a WHOIS query and find out as much as they can about the domain www.danrichard.com. I personally like to use www.whois.sc for these simple queries, but it’s totally up to you.


In the main search box at www.whois.sc, type in the name of the soon-to-be-smacked-up website. In this example, the offending party is www.danrichard.com, so type that in and click on the search button to perform the query. After a couple of seconds, the results will pop up with a slew of very useful information. Now, results may vary, and the query may tell you to use a different whois website to perform your query, which is totally normal. Just go to that whois website and perform your search, and the results will look pretty much like these ones. Same thing goes for those of you that use a different site to perform a WHOIS query – it may look a bit different, but the information is pretty much all the same.

So let’s look at our results when performing a WHOIS query on www.danrichard.com:

Website Title: The Journal / Blog of Dan Richard

This is simply the title of the main page of the website domain you are searching for. It’s taken directly from the meta keys within the site itself.

Response Code: 200

The response code from the webserver that is hosting the domain. You can ignore this number, as it’s pretty meaningless in this particular endeavor.

SSL Cert: No valid SSL on this Host, Get Secure

The query checks to see if the domain is running an SSL Certificate (Secure Socket Layer Certificate), which is a security device used for high level encryption on e-commerce sites. Once again, this is not relevant to our search.

Alexa Trend/Rank: 172,311 (1 Month) 399,429 (3 Month)

Alexa ranking… while important for SEO, it has nothing to do with taking down rippers.

Server Type: Apache/1.3.34 (Unix) mod_gzip/ mod_log_bytes/1.2 PHP/4.4.2 (Spry.com also uses Apache)

The type of server that the domain is hosted on.

IP Address: (ARIN & RIPE IP search)
IP Location: – Texas – Dallas – Theplanet.com Internet Services Inc

Now we start getting into some useful information! The IP and the IP Location tell us where the internet connection for the server is coming from. In other words, this is the Data Center. So, as you can see here, the Data Center for www.danrichard.com is owned by www.theplanet.com and they are located in Texas, Dallas, USA and this means they DEFINITELY fall under DMCA policy. So now we have 1 piece of our action ladder – the data center!

NOTE: This could also be the Webhost! We’ll need to look for some additional information further down to see if this is the Webhost, or if this website is using a Webhost that is using ThePlanet as a Data Center.

Blacklist Status: Clear
Whois History: 3 records stored
Oldest: 2006-02-13
Newest: 2006-03-10
Record Type: Domain Name
Monitor: Monitor or Backorder
Wildcard search:danrichard‘ or ‘dan richard‘ in all domains.
Other TLDs: .com .net .org .info .biz .us

None of this information is relevant to our search, but their definitions should be self explanatory.


The name server is a critical clue in our research and is very important in determining who is the Webhost and who is the Data Center. As you can see, the name servers all end with SERVERSEED.COM and if we quickly open a web browser and pop that name into the link bar, you’ll see that it in fact brings up www.serverseed.com, which is a Webhosting company. Bingo, we have our Webhost! We can now be fairly certain that www.danrichard.com is in fact hosted by www.serverseed.com and serverseed is using www.theplanet.com and their Data Center.

If the name servers had been something like NS1.THEPLANET.COM, then that would have meant that www.theplanet.com was both the Data Center and the Webhost.

So we now have two pieces of our action ladder:

Webhost: ServerSeed – www.serverseed.com
Data Center: ThePlanet – www.theplanet.com

Let’s see what else we can get from the WHOIS query.


Remember when I explained how you have to buy domain names from a special ICANN re-seller called a Registrar? Well, the registrar for www.danrichard.com is www.godaddy.com, which is a fairly common choice for many webmasters, and lucky for us because they take Copyright Infringement very seriously. It’s all part of their very detailed Legal Agreements.

Looks like we found action ladder puzzle piece number 3!

So we now have three pieces of our action ladder:

Webhost: ServerSeed – www.serverseed.com
Data Center: ThePlanet – www.theplanet.com
Registrar: GoDaddy – www.godaddy.com

Created: 08-feb-2006
Expires: 08-feb-2008

This isn’t really important to us, but this shows us when the domain name was first purchased, and how long the owner has registered it for, as well as the domain’s registrar status.

After that, we are presented with the Registrant information, but this can be a little tricky for anyone that doesn’t frequently use WHOIS queries. When a user first buys a domain (like when I bought danrichard.com) I had to enter in my personal contact information and address with the registrar. BUT, as you can see in our sample WHOIS, it says the following:

Domains by Proxy, Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States

The same is true for each contact type throughout the Registrant area. This is because I registered with what’s called a privacy proxy, and it stops my personal information from being shown on a public WHOIS query. So, when you hit a privacy proxy, that’s about as far as you can go and you’ll have to take action without knowing much more about the Registrant, which is no big deal.

The OTHER possibility is that instead of the domain’s owner being listed, the contact info shown is for the Webhost or for the Data Center. It should be fairly obvious to determine if the Registrant information is a Privacy Proxy, the Webhost, the Data Center or if it’s actually the contact info for the site’s owner. If you’re lucky, you might find the actual owner’s personal phone number and address (It’s against ICANN policy to register a domain with bogus info and you risk losing your domain if you do). This has happened with me a few times and I actually called and found out that the person who ripped my site was a teenager, and after a 20 minute chat with the parents, the site goes down within an hour or two and that kid’s PC is off-limits for our young digital thief. Based on my experience, 90% of the people that have ripped my site were teens that didn’t think it was possible to get caught, or it never occurred to them how easily they can be found. Unfortunately so many webmasters don’t know how to take action against copyright infringement, they usually do get away with it until they decide to take the site down out of lack of interest.

So, if the site owner’s contact info is not listed in the Registrant information area, we’ll have to see what we can glean from the site itself, otherwise we have to bypass contacting the site owner and go straight to the Webhost. If you do have it, your action ladder is complete!

Our complete action ladder based on our example:

Registrant: Privacy Proxy – Must look on actual website or bypass
Webhost: ServerSeed – www.serverseed.com
Data Center: ThePlanet – www.theplanet.com
Registrar: GoDaddy – www.godaddy.com

We’re done with our WHOIS query, so now it’s time for some action!

The first person on our action ladder is the Registrant, but in our example of www.danrichard.com, the Registrant is using a privacy proxy so we don’t have any personal information. We’ll need to try and find some method of contacting them directly at their site, so visit the offending party and look for a contact form, email addresses, or any other method of contacting the people in charge of the site. Usually, you’ll find SOMETHING that works, but there’s a chance that there is absolutely no way of contacting them from an external link. When that happens, it’s time to guess. There are a few common email addresses that most people use for their websites, so if you send and email to all of them, you might get lucky and find that one or more of them is actually live. Here are the email prefixes I like to try out:


So, if the website you’re trying to deal with is www.whateveryouwant.com, then try CC sending your email to the following email addresses:


If any of the emails don’t return an error message, there’s a good chance something got through.

The last ditch effort with the Registrant, if they are using a Privacy Proxy, is to send your message to the email(s) listed in the WHOIS Query under the Privacy proxy information. Those usually forward to a valid email for the real Registrant, so those might go through as well.

Now, crack those knuckles, and write your email to the registrant. Don’t go right off the handle! For all you know, the person who owns this website bought this design from someone who ripped your site in the first place and has no idea that he is using your material. While it’s probably likely, don’t assume your email will reach the guilty party. Be polite, get to the point and make your intentions and expectations clear.

Let’s look at a sample:

Dear Jerk,

I am going to own your soul so don’t fu

Whoops! Wrong email *blush*

To whom it may concern,

Please note that your website, www.danrichard.com, has been found to contain material to which I own the intellectual property rights and I require you to remove this content within the next 48 hours. You can find the original content at www.pixel2life.com where it has been in use on my site since December of 2003. Failure to take the appropriate action on this issue will leave me with no choice but to issue a DMCA notice with your host and/or Registrar.

Please contact me should you have any additional questions or concerns.


If you get a response that basically tells you where to go, don’t even waste your time for another minute, it’s time to contact the second party on your action ladder.

Before we move on, if you happened to get the personal phone number of the offending party, give them a call and see what happens. Ask for Mr. or Mrs. so and so to make sure you are speaking to the parents or at least the senior people of the resident. If it’s a company, ask to speak to the legal department. You might want to give this a try first before sending out any emails… you might save yourself a headache. If calling isn’t a possibility or doesn’t get anywhere, then go the email route.

So, you’ve made a reasonable effort to contact the Registrant and got nowhere. It’s time to contact the host and file a DMCA notice. Nervous? Don’t be… your content has been stolen and you have every right to be pissed off and to have that content removed. It’s the LAW. Don’t be ashamed or scared of trying to protect yourself and your intellectual property.

The first step is to write your DMCA notice, which is not that difficult as long as you have the correct format. A Webhost can be held liable for shutting down a site without the proper documentation, so your DMCA notice must be formatted correctly according to their guidelines.

So, open up word and start typing. Here is a properly formatted DMCA Notice (Items in Italics need to be changed to suit your needs):

Insert Current Date

DMCA Notice to Webhost Name

To whom it may concern,

I am the designer, and administrator of all works found under the domain www.pixel2life.com, copyright as intellectual property of Pixel2Life Studios ®.

My Contact Information:

Mr. Dan Richard
Insert your address information
and phone number

Insert your business address
information and phone number

The copyrighted work being infringed (Used on another website domain other than pixel2life.com) includes the graphics, logo outline, layout, site content, menu options and branding. I am requesting that this material be disabled.

The material in question may be found at the following world wide web addresses, to permit Webhost Name to locate the material.


I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agents, or the law.

The information in this notice is accurate, under penalty of perjury. Under penalty of perjury, I am authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner of the infringed works.

Insert Written Signature if possible

Daniel Richard

Date: 11/18/2004

This is the exact template I use when filing a DMCA notice.

So, with your DMCA notice typed out and SPELLCHECKED, you are ready to contact the Webhost. Personally, I like to visit the Webhost’s site and see if they have a contact number. If they do, give them a call and ask for their legal department. If they ask for more information as to why you want the legal department, or you get transferred to the correct person, explain to them that you are a website owner and that you wish to send them a DMCA notice and would like to know to which email it should be sent. You might get lucky and find someone who has zero tolerance for website ripping and he’ll get all the details over the phone and disable the offending site right on the spot. Typically, they’ll give you an email like abuse@whatever.com.

If you can’t find a phone number, it’s time to surf their site a bit and find some contact forms or contact emails you can use and send the DMCA notice that way. If for some crazy reason there is no contact information for the host, try using the same trick with guessing at emails. Almost every Webhost has an abuse@whatever.com type email, so you should be able to get through.

At this point, you should be all set and the site should be disabled or at least your content is gone within 48 hours. If you can’t get through or no action is taken within 48 hours, then repeat this procedure with the Data Center if applicable. Contact them and get their email information and send them the DMCA Notice. I would be very surprised if you don’t get any kind of response from them.

If all this fails (I’d be very surprised if it did, especially in the US or Canada), then it’s time to try going though the Registrar. For our example, the registrar is GoDaddy, and they have contact information and legal emails all over the place. Contact them and find out how to proceed with launching a formal complaint with them directly. Explain that the Registrant and Webhost are completely non-responsive and that you wish to file the DMCA with them directly as a breach of their terms. This may or may not work, but it’s worth a try.

We have now walked up our action ladder and gone through how to contact each party in order of how you should confront them. By now their site should be offline, but it can happen that this isn’t enough, especially if the website is hosted in Russia or Asia. But again, do your homework! I shut down a site that was hosted in Pakistan because the Data Center ended up being in Washington DC! You need to be thorough and contact as many parties as you can and see who can take authoritive action. Just remember to be polite and firm with everyone you deal with, and be sure to thank those that take the time to help you during the process.

If you’ve gone through all this and the site is STILL up, you definitely still have courses of action that will get them shut down, but they aren’t free. You can hire a copyright lawyer to walk you through a WIPO Petition, or take action directly against the offending party.

So be patient and don’t be afraid to protect your interests using a law that was designed specifically for you and your property rights. Do the research and contact the right people and your chances are very high that those ripping bastards will get shut down without you having to open your wallet.

I hope this helps you get results when you find out your website has been copied and I invite you to leave your feedback or questions.


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Things to consider whilst running a tutorial orientated website

This article comes from the personal experiences of Jay Huskisson while starting Twodded – a ‘quality tutorials’ section of the Pixel2life tutorial listing website. The aim of the site was to provide the users of Pixel2life with consistent quality tutorials and to set a standard for websites in the community to follow.

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