Who Owns and Controls Your Website?

DID YOU KNOW THAT COPYRIGHT AUTOMATICALLY GOES TO THE WEB DESIGNER?

A business hires a web developer to setup and design a website.  The business owner assumes that because they paid the web developer and because the website is for their business, that they own the copyright on their website.

Unfortunately this is wrong.

Hiring a web designer or commissioning any kind of creative work does not automatically grant you ownership of the rights.

 

WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?

Copyright ownership is important because the owner is entitled to control all use of the copyrighted material.

So make sure that you own the copyright on your website and not the web designer.  If you are the copyright owner then you have the rights to:

  • You can modify your website, whenever you want, in any way that you want.
  • You are not locked in to using the original web designer to edit your website.
  • No business can copy your website design or content without your permission.
  • If you wish to sell your business, you will have no trouble as the copyright owner.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

You simply need a copyright transfer agreement.

So make sure that when you hire a web designer, you get them to state in writing or an email message that you will own the copyright on your website.  This officially transfers the copyright ownership from the web developer to the business owner.

The Transfer Agreement should state:
“{web developers name} transfers all copyright ownership and rights in the design of the website to {business name}”

 

WHEN SHOULD YOU GET THE TRANSFER AGREEMENT?

I recommend that you discuss copyright ownership in the original negotiations and get the copyright transfer agreement stated in writing in the original quote and/or in the website design contract.  This clarifies the copyright ownership up-front, before the project gets underway.

If the web designer doesn’t formally transfer the copyright ownership, then ownership of copyright automatically goes to the web designer.

 

NOTE:  This article provides general information only.  It is not a complete or definitive statement of Copyright Law.  The author Luke Hayes has no formal legal expertise and so you should seek formal legal advice in relation to copyright law.

 

To your success,

Luke Hayes

www.LukeHayes.com.au
Web Marketing Strategy





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