Copyright law 101

Newspaper advert: "United States and Fore...

Newspaper advert: “United States and Foreign Copyright. Patents and Trade-Marks A Copyright will protect you from Pirates. And make you a fortune.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who thinks copyright law is interesting? No one? Certainly not me. However, as some of you may know, I do a lot of SEO writing. That stands for “search engine optimization.” That’s a fancy way of saying that when companies want their websites to come up on top of a search engine search, they need to produce new content with the right keywords put in the right places, yada, yada, yada.

That can be pretty boring, too. The upside for me is that I get to learn about a ridiculously large number of topics (I am like Cliff Claven or something). For instance, more than 93 percent of all internet experiences start with a search engine search (yes, it is most often Google but there are other search engines). Did you know that?

Another topic I have had the luck of writing about a lot is copyright law. Personally, that, along with its siblings patent and trademark law are as dry as toast but … sometimes you need toast, ya know?

As a creative type, I like to keep up on what my rights are. For instance, if I design a web site, who owns the content?

Copyright law states that the creator of the design and content on a web site automatically becomes the legal owner of said design or content the moment it’s designed or written. Nobody has to do anything special to make this happen, it just does. What this means is that your web designer owns the design they created for your web site. You do not. You own the text content and any images you provided to the website designer for inclusion on your site and that is only if you yourself wrote the content, took the photographs or created the design and had your designer develop your website using your graphic design. If you got the photos from say a stock photography web site, even if you purchased them, they are not yours. You purchased a license to use them.

Interesting. I have been involved in a “dispute” I suppose of sorts. Someone got me to design a website. They never paid for it but they still think they own it. Now I see that even if they paid or it, I would still own it being the designer. We would have had to have a contract to specifically have me turn that ownership over. Good to know. I am going to keep that in mind.

This also helps because I am often on the other side, going to designers to help me with my pages and I am going to make sure that language is in the next contract I sign to have someone else do a site.

That quote was from Deb’s Web, LLC.

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