[thelist] Taking over a Web site

Abhay S. Kushwaha abhayk at netsolutionsindia.com
Sun Sep 5 17:47:23 CDT 2004


On Sun, Sep  5 at 10:19pm Kevin Stevens wrote:

> 1. It appears that the domain name does not belong to the former pub
>    owner but to the company who designed the site in the first
>    place.

This is one of the key points that people usually forget. Nothing
surprising for small websites.

> My friend is very keen to own the domain himself and has asked me to
> find out where he stands legally on this point.

Depends on the contract signed (if there was any). If it says they're
the owners, you can't do much but ask them politely. If it says
they're not the owners, point it to them and ask them to transfer
control. If it's silent or none was signed, you can simply request
them politely and see how they respond. Most companies will simply
transfer control since they usually sign-up by themselves to ease
management of domain.

> The pub is in England and is a .com domain.

That is irrelevant.

> 2. What is the etiquette involved in using someone else's work.

Simple rule: Ask the Copyright owner nicely. If this person agrees,
use the work as per agreed-upon terms.

> Am I being naive in thinking that any money paid so far has been for
> the work done and it will just be a simple case of transferring the
> site, as is, onto my own server? Realistically, I think not.

Depends on the contract. It would typically state that the ACME Design
Company would design the site for ACME Pub with the latter being the
holder the copyright owner of all work thus produced. If this is the
case, you can even ask the design company for their raw source files
(typically Adobe PSD files).

In the eventuality the contract was not signed or is silent, ask them
for the raw source files and see how they respond. If they provide
them, then they're ethical people who'll also assign copyright to your
friend. If they refuse and are in addition curt/rude, then you really
can't do much except either use it nevertheless and hope they won't go
legal. You too can go legal on them. But I've not heard of any case
where this resulted in anything.



Wait for other people's advice too before you decide. Expect a
lot of replies on this topic. :)

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