Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Website Legal Checklist
A company’s website is a valuable asset. For Internet based companies, it is often its most valuable asset.
Business owners often are plagued by problems resulting from their websites. These problems primarily result from business owners’ lack of knowledge of the fundamental things they should have and know about their website.
With hardball trademark tactics and copyright trolls, the Internet has become an often perilous place for business owners. The following is a checklist of information that a business website owner must have.
1. The business should own the domain. Not a partner individually, someone’s spouse, etc. But, the corporation, LLC, or partnership must own the domain.
2. Possess all access information for your domain. You, personally, should have the username and password for the account that manages your domain – e.g. the GoDaddy account with which you bought your business’s domain.
3. Own all domains around your main domain. If your primary domain is xyzwidget.com, then buy xyzwidget.biz, xyzwidget.net, xyzwidget.org, xyzwidget.xxx, xyz-widget.com, xyz-widget.net, xyz-widget.org, etc. Spend some money and buy them all up
4. Use a reputable website designer. Not a friend or a relative or employee. They’ll make mistakes and break the law.
5. Have a contract with the designer. You must have a written contract with your web designer. The contract should spell out the services and the price and contain two terms:
a. The designer’s work is “work for hire”. You will own the content, not the designer.
b. All stock art, photos, content will be licensed. There should be a line item in the contract for the cost of getting licenses for stock photos. Do not allow your designer to put someone else’s pictures, art or photos on your website without a license or permission.
6. Protect your trademarks. If you do not register your trademarks, unscrupulous persons might try to take them away from you – particularly now that you are broadcasting them to the Internet.
8. Know your host. You need to know who is the company that is hosting your website (and probably providing you email service) and you should be in direct contract with that company.
9. Have your FTP information. You must also have the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) information and any other information that will allow you full access to the site and transfer the site to another server.
10. File your copyrights. Once your site is complete, file a copyright registration for its content.
This post is not so much informational as a checklist to be referred to by a business owner when starting a company’s website. If you need any help with any of the above items, please contact me. We have extensive experience with each of these areas.