Who Owns Your Website? Likely, Not You.

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:

HTML

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.

Who Owns Your Website? Likely, Not You.

By Tara Joyce Time to Read: 1 min