Who owns your website?
Did you use IT design consultants to produce your website? You may have supplied all of the information or wording required, but the style, layout, imagery and often some of the content is created or supplied by the designer.
So, who owns the intellectual property (IP) in the website? Is it you, the instructing – and most likely paying customer? Or is it the hard-working designer?
It may surprise you to learn that without a formal transfer of the IP, ownership remains with the designer.
IP law has, over the years, been developed to protect persons creating the work. So, in the eyes of the law, the first owner of the copyright in a commissioned website is the designer or their employer, if they are an employee. This remains the case even if the designer is paid for their services.
Most assume that on payment, ownership will automatically transfer. But this is not the case. The only way that ownership can move is if the designer transfers the copyright to the client in writing. This type of legal document is called an assignment. If ownership is not transferred the designer could, at some later date, object to certain uses of the work.
If you think you may have an issue, please contact Ailsa Pemberton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0113 357 3208.