Business from the inside out

Who Owns Your Website? Likely, Not You.

by | Jul 30, 2008 | Innerpreneurship

I was just asked this by a client of mine. They wanted to know if they had the rights to the HTML code on their site.

HTML code is the computer language your website is written in. It looks like this:


I’m not a lawyer, and this question falls under internet law, so I had to do a little digging to give her a correct answer. I did find a great article on what you own (or don’t own) on your website.

It turns out, unless you clearly specify in a contract that you own the rights to x item created for you site, you don’t own them. This includes such things as:

  • The design
  • The software (HTML) code
  • The domain name
  • The graphics
  • The content (words)
  • The terms of use and privacy policies

It turns out intellectual property laws are designed to protect the creator, not the purchaser. The laws were created to encourage the creator to create.

If you hire someone to create anything for your site, what you are actually purchasing is a “license” to use the creation for the use intended by you and the creator.

So make sure you get it in writing if you want to have any ownership over your site.

Tara Joyce

Written by Tara Joyce

In 2008, I started this blog as I began working for myself. It is a reflection of my innerpreneurial journey, growing myself to grow my business. ABOUT ME

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Who Owns Your Website? Likely, Not You.

By Tara Joyce Time to Read: 1 min