July 28, 2007

"Tip of the Week" - Make Sure You Know Who Owns Your Website - Domain Name, Design, Content, and Coding!

There was an excellent post recently regarding who owns your website/blog?   It is an important discussion as more and more services are cropping up willing to design, code and host your site.  But when you hire their services are they also going to own your domain name, content, design and coding making you captive to their services or you lose all the 'link love' and SEO you created should you switch services?

This is an important discussion and it is well discussed by Brett Trout, a copyright attorney in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Because these clients paid money for their website, they think they own things like:

  • The design of their website;
  • The software code behind their website;
  • Their domain name;
  • The graphics on their website;
  • The other content on their website;
  • The terms of use and privacy policies on their websites.

Most clients think they are obtaining an “assignment” of these things when they write a check. They are shocked to learn that the people they paid to create these things actually still own them. Intellectual property laws are designed to protect the creator, to encourage the creator to create. If you hire someone to design a website for you, what you are actually purchasing is a “license” to use the design for the use intended by you and the designer.

One of the easiest steps you can take is to go to any number of domain registration sites and register your domain name on your own.  It's fast, easy and I would recommend you register any variation on the theme with not just .com but .net, .org, etc.  Grab what you can.  It's a tiny, tiny investment you can make now to protect a marketing vehicle which will prove your most valuable in the future.