Who Owns My Website?

Think about one day, after you have successfully launched your Internet business, you take a seat to surf the web and do a little analysis on your rivals. Suddenly, you find a site that is in direct competition with your business and the site looks exactly like the website you paid a huge selection of dollars to have created. Now you’re pretty furious along with your first instinct is to post the phone and threaten the web site operators with legal action. But, keep on, you or your business might not exactly actually “own” the copyrights to your website or separate site elements! website

Who Owns Your internet site Under Copyright Laws?

Possibly though you may own the domain name or content on your website, the ownership rights to the web site design and independent website elements may stay with the creator. In the event that which is case, you are merely playing an intended, non-exclusive license to use your website and the separate website elements designed for you or your business. 

If you hired a designer or other thirdparty to design and make your site, he or the girl may legally hold the copyright to your website. Under United States copyright laws law, creators are assumed to own the copyright laws in the works they create. This means that whoever creates the various aspects of your website will be presumed to have ownership of the copyright in those specific elements (the concept of separate website elements is discussed more below). Until you will be the actual artist of your website and each separate element, then the only way you can legally acquire the exclusive ownership rights to your website through having a signed writing with the creator transferring all those rights exclusively to you. Underneath the provisions of the United States Copyright laws law, a transfer of exclusive rights in a copyrighted work must be in writing and agreed upon by who owns the protection under the law. Thus, if you participate the services of persistent website designer, you do not own exclusive protection under the law to the web page or certain separate components of your site unless you have a written website development contract stating this. There are also other important reasons why you should always use a site development contract.

Separate Website Elements Possession

If multiple people make contributions to the style of your website and these advantages are distinguishable, there can be individual copyright owners of every distinct element. In other words, the several aspects of your website may be owned or operated by whoever created those aspects. For example, there is a copyright in the structure or website template (the overall “look and feel” of the site), in addition to separate copyrights in the information contained on a site including the text, images, graphics, videos. Images and other elements including the header are all separate website elements that help the overall website design. If the website designer created each distinct factor and not simply the web site template, he or your woman would likely contain the copyright laws to each element.

Each, the overall look and feel of your website design may be shielded “trade dress” if the look is distinctive enough. This really is yet another evolving area of Internet law where no established and regular recommendations are yet in place. On the other hands, any elements downloaded from the internet happen to be in the public domain, discussing assume that such elements do not contain copyright laws restrictions. If any of these elements have recently been created by you, such as your logo, your photo, animations, etc. then you possess the rights to those specific and individual elements of your website.

However, you should keep in mind that any actual photographs you provide may actually be owned or operated by the photographer that took those photos. The photographer would be considered the author of the particular “work”. Unless you have ownership rights through some contractual arrangement when any photographs or images were created for you, the photographer would likely own those images.

Another unique factor is the written textual content contained on your website. Obviously, if that has been created by you, you own the copyright laws to the text. On the other hand it is not simply the text that shows up visually on the display. The way in which text is formatted and presented as HTML, or even VRML coding is also protected. If your website designer created that coding, then the code, as distinguished from the written text itself, may be owned by the designer. Similarly, the way in which in which the website developer provides the hyper connecting on your site may be owned by the designer.

The end result is that you may own the textual content, nevertheless the designer may own the way the textual content is configured and coded on your website. Once again, the key is to obtain a written website development agreement transferring most of these rights to you or your business. Otherwise, it may well not be clear who owns your website!

This kind of article was written by Philip A. Nicolosi, T. D. Mr. Nicolosi provides legal services through his law practice, Phil Nicolosi Rules, P. C., focusing on startup and small business law, Internet & technology law and business ventures.

Mr. Nicolosi serves as a reliable advisor to numerous startups and small to medium sized businesses. This can include representation for a variety of business law matters including business organization, corporate/LLC governance, regulatory law, contracts and transactions and most other matters away from litigation. Mister. Nicolosi provides guidance with e-commerce, Website marketing and technology-related legal matters. He also assists startup technology companies with seed financing, enterprise capital and exit ventures.