Monday, December 1, 2008

Copyright and your website

It has become apparent from looking at my Google analytics stats and the emails I have been receiving re this blog that a lot (if not the majority of my readers) are new to the subject of intellectual property; one even said (and I quote) "wow people take these trade mark things seriously" um yes yes people do you fool; but I digress. As a caring sharing kind of guy I will start putting up some more basic material for those new to the IP world, now this doesn't mean i'll stop writing about current affairs!

So here's the first one, 'Copyright and your website' enojoy:

As a website owner it is essential that you consider the various forms of intellectual property in order to protect your website from both being copied and also ensure that material you use does not infringe the rights of another party. In what will be a series of articles I begin by looking at copyright.

  • Make sure that all work on the website is original and in order to be protected by copyright it can be shown that it has been created by skill and effort.
  • Keep records of who creates the works and when they are created, consider sending to yourself or a copyright bank service.
  • In the UK copyright is an automatic right but in some countries copyright must be registered, if this is the case in countries you wish to operate in then ensure your copyright is fully registered in order to protect your rights.
  • Include copyright notices both for individual works on the site and the site as a whole. i.e. who owns the copyright for example: © your company name 2007.
  • Also include restrictions / instructions on use and copying from the site. Clearly stating what can and cant be used and if material can be copied what notices have to be included. You should also consider whether you want to put valuable work up on the site as whilst you can put up notices etc there is no physical way to stop people stealing your work.
  • Keep an eye out for infringements and as soon as you become aware of any put them at notice of your copyright.
  • If you are using any third party works on your site then ensure that you have the appropriate licences for it. In the case of work commissioned for the site for example web designing etc then consider a licence or agreement transferring the rights in it to you.
  • Where employees create work for the website the copyright would automatically be held by the employer. This is true for this country at least but not for some others, if you are operating a website from outside of the UK then you should consider an agreement whereby the rights in the work are transferred to the employer.

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