[thelist] Copyright best practices for redesigns

Jeff Howden jeff at jeffhowden.com
Wed Jul 16 12:48:08 CDT 2003


> From: Seb
> > When doing a redesign for a client, do most people on
> > this list ensure that the previous developer has
> > licensed rights to the client to create derivative
> > works (i.e. modify) the website?  How do you generally
> > broach the topic with clients who don't even realize
> > they don't own the copyright to their websites?
> actually the client will probably always retain the
> copyright to their website, because it has been
> purchased from the developer. It's the developer that
> doesn't retain the copyrights to the work.

other way around.  the developer owns (with the exception of work-for-hire)
the rights, unless specifically transferred to the client.

> Most design work will fall under the category of
> work-for-hire, and unless a contract states specifically
> that the developer retains rights, they won't. [...]

i can't speak for anywhere but in the us, but work-for-hire only applies to
work performed as an employee.  firms contracted to do designs, developers
contracted to do some programming, etc. do not fall under work-for-hire and
therefore retain rights unless they explicitly pass them on to the client in
their contract.

  "If a work is created by an independent contractor
   (that is, someone who is not an employee under the
   general common law of agency), then the work is a
   specially ordered or commissioned work, and part 2
   of the statutory definition applies.  Such a work
   can be a work made for hire only if both of the
   following conditions are met:

   (1) it comes within one of the nine categories of
       works listed in part 2 of the definition and

   (2) there is a written agreement between the
       parties specifying that the work is a work
       made for hire.

   IMPORTANT NOTE:  It is this last requirement that
   causes many web site developers and designers to own
   the copyrights to web sites they create as independent
   contractors for web site owners.  It is IMPERATIVE
   that when you hire an independent contractor to design
   or create all or portions of your web site, you must
   have written agreement that contains the "magic"
   language by which the creator of the work assigns all
   copyrights to the web site owner."



Jeff Howden - Web Application Specialist
Resume - http://jeffhowden.com/about/resume/
Code Library - http://evolt.jeffhowden.com/jeff/code/

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