Internet Copyright Laws Have A Big Impact On Your Business
We assist many individuals and businesses protect their valuable intellectual property and avoid liability. Understanding the risks associated with using freelance contractors, affiliates, marketers, vendors and other third parties is crucial to any startup. We help our clients preserve their branding online and understand the consequences they face when other parties infringe on their intellectual property online.
Is Your content being Infringed online?
We assist owners of creative works and businesses protect their intellectual property. Understanding your rights and remedies under existing laws such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is critical to understanding how to successfully enforcing your ownership rights.
Helping You Protect Your Creative Works
We also help our clients protect their creative works, such as logos, images, website elements, etc. All online entrepreneurs should understand what a ‘Work for Hire’ is and how to protect intellectual property, including website designs and each separate website element (the overall design, images, text and even website coding are all protectable elements). The rights to website template designs, graphics, logos, etc. belong to the creator and not the owner who actually paid for and directed the work to be created. Failing to understand how to properly transfer rights to creative works is a common mistake for startups.
Website Development Agreements
Businesses should always enter into a comprehensive website development agreement with the website developer(s). This agreement should always establish a ‘Work for Hire’ relationship. As a safety net, the agreement should also always include a complete transfer and assignment of all ownership rights, including the copyrights, to your website template and to each separate element. Website developers may have to obtain a valid license for the website “owner” to use any third party materials, including photos, graphics and other images. All contributors to the design of a website should “warrant and represent” that their work is original and not in the public domain.
Cease and desist letters demanding the immediate take down of certain images used on business websites are common. Usually, the website developer has incorporated some image obtained without permission, or outsourced such tasks to third-party subcontractors. It is imperative that website developers secure the necessary rights to legally use their creative contributions and that those rights are transferable through a written agreement.