Copyright and Design
Just as copyright laws protect songs, movies, and books, these laws also protect the designs and content across the web platform. Copyright refers to the owner's control his content, to permit anybody to reproduce the work. Designs including the colors, links, graphics, and even the back end coding of a web sites are protected by copyright.
Internet Copyright Issues and Design
You have a web site or have plans for a new one. You have bookmarked designs to be used from different web sites. Before you know it, you have a full-fledged web site full of designs created by another designer. It is best to make sure the designs are original, or carry the license to reproduce rather than risking a copyright infringement issue. Using other web designs without the expressed written consent of the designer could put you in violation of copyright law.
A company has a contract with a third party for their web design. The company provides information to the designer--the targets, philosophy, color and links to be used in the site. Even with their involvement with the design process, they may not own the copyright to their design. The copyright belongs to the designer unless an agreement (valid and written contract) has been signed, and transfers the rights to the company.
Protecting Yourself from Internet Copyright Issues as a Web Designer
A written contract should be signed before the completion of the design process and project development begins. Without a clause in the contract releasing liability from the designer, he or she may be the one liable for infringement issues, rather than the company the site was designed for.
Other Internet Copyright Issues for Designers
A designer who creates a designer for the company he works for, does not retain copyright, under the "Work for Hire" guidelines. Anything taken from public domain does not retain copyright for the designer, or the party it is being designed for.
Avoid Internet Copyright Issues with a Contract
It is best for the designer and the site owner to have a binding and signed agreement. The rights, duration, obligation and deadline should be mentioned clearly in the contract. Some of the benefits of this contract are
It saves time and money on legal cases.
- There is an agreement to refer to in case of doubts.
- There is mutual trust and respect between the designer and site owner.
- The designer and owner may be able to work together on future projects and the designer would be able to upgrade the site continuously.