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Who owns your company website?

| Jun 15, 2021 | Intellectual Property |

Your company’s digital assets are crucial — especially your website. However, most people don’t really understand that a website is actually a collection of parts, and you may not (and probably don’t) own all of them.

Knowing what really is yours to claim can help you better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your position, especially in a legal dispute.

You probably own much less of your website than you realize

You probably don’t own your entire website. You certainly don’t own, for example, your domain name. You merely pay a hosting provider a yearly fee to own the exclusive right to use that domain name, but if your payment lapses, someone else can swoop in and buy it out from under you.

You probably own any original content you provided for the website, which can include things like graphics, pages of text, blog articles or photographs — as long as you either created that content on your own or paid someone else to do so with the understanding you were buying all the rights to use that content however you wanted.

Where small business owners often fall into a trap, however, is when they sign up with a website designer and marketing pro and either get a “free” website in the deal or one that is included in a package deal for their services. Most of the time, the ownership of the website is retained by that company — not yours. If you end your business relationship, they can pull your site without warning.

Understanding more about intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights are constantly being redefined in new and surprising ways. It helps to have an experienced legal advocate on your team to make sure that your business is protecting its future.