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Old 10-29-2006, 05:18 AM   #1
dthomsen8
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Default The Clients want the Domain Name, etc.

For web developers, the computer files are published on the web, and therefore easy for the clients to copy.

Ownership and control of the domain name and control and access to the web hosting company control panel are also potential issues. Some clients are so computer illiterate that some of those kinds of control are useless, even dangerous in their grasp.

On the other hand, if the developer is not honest and responsible, ownership and control of the domain name may mean that the client is locked out of their web site without recourse, or even the domain name may remain out of their control and the web site itself may disappear like smoke. That has happened to some real estate agents I know.

Even if the web developer is honest and responsible, but is only one individual, incapacity or death might leave the client without effective support or access to the needed ownership and control to continue the web site without that web developer's efforts.

Problems can be avoided if prior arrangements are in place, but some people don't think about such issues until too late.
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Old 10-29-2006, 05:47 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by dthomsen8 View Post
For web developers, the computer files are published on the web, and therefore easy for the clients to copy.
In many cases, of course, what is "published" on the web is not the original source code ("files") at all. Most sites these days are generated with server-side code, often with data from a database. Even non-HTML/CSS files may be generated, such as images, sound or PDF files. Server-side caching aside, the result does not become "files" until it is downloaded by the visitor's browser - and what one visitor gets may be quite different from what another gets.

Clients may think it is easy to copy - but often that will be far from true.

   
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:38 AM   #3
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Default Clients Copy?

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Clients may think it is easy to copy - but often that will be far from true.
If there is JAVA, or a database, or PHP, then of course what is available to a browser is insufficient to copy it. Even a FrontPage web site that uses FP navigation or themes may be difficult to reproduce without access to the web hosting company userid and password.

I have a client web site and a web site purely my own that are is just HTML and CSS with images, and those could be copied by anyone who wanted to do so. I have a legacy FrontPage web site which would be more difficult to copy. I have another legacy HTML 4.01 web site which uses PHP and MySQL, and that would be quite a bit more difficult to copy. The MySQL only records data and doesn't display it, though.

The real issues are not technical, they are legal and business relationship issues, which are often ignored or glosssed over by individual developers and inexperienced clients.
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Old 10-29-2006, 10:15 AM   #4
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The real issues are not technical, they are legal and business relationship issues, which are often ignored or glosssed over by individual developers and inexperienced clients.
Indeed. Ideally, a contract with the client should state exactly what the "deliverables" are.

   
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Old 10-29-2006, 11:51 AM   #5
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This is something that I'll be facing fairly soon, when I get our website revamped.

I know pretty much what I want and how it should look but, since I have neither the time nor the expertise to do it myself, I'll have to employ somebody to do the work for me, but under my guidance. He or she will get an agreed fee, but that's it: I don't want the result to be considered a "work of art" where the designer has the rights to its intellectual property: it's mine, surely?

   
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Old 10-29-2006, 12:10 PM   #6
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He or she will get an agreed fee, but that's it: I don't want the result to be considered a "work of art" where the designer has the rights to its intellectual property: it's mine, surely?
If your contract says so... I have seen plenty of websites where the designer claims copyright for it - it's not as though that's uncommon; it may be a deal where the client gets a discount so the designer gets more exposure... or it may be the client doesn't know any better and the designer is taking advantage of that.

So it's best to have that idea (your property, not the designer's) out in the open, and in writing!

   
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Old 10-29-2006, 12:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Robin Springall View Post
I know pretty much what I want and how it should look but, since I have neither the time nor the expertise to do it myself, I'll have to employ somebody to do the work for me, but under my guidance. He or she will get an agreed fee, but that's it: I don't want the result to be considered a "work of art" where the designer has the rights to its intellectual property: it's mine, surely?
If someone designs images for you, they own all rights to them unless/until they grant them to you in writing.

For the rest of it, unless he/she is using some proprietary technology (a lousy idea, in my view), the designer probably would not have a leg to stand on. Simple arrangements of text and image on the page is probably not subject to copyright protection in any event. But it would be a good idea for you to use a contract to make sure.

The less you have done my a third party, the less exposure you have. You should certainly get the domain name and hosting service yourself, and grant the designer just the access needed to FTP, etc.

   
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Old 10-30-2006, 04:24 AM   #8
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Robin: I take the view that if I am paid a fee for creating something, then the content is copyright of the person who commissioned it - and it says so in my agreement to proceed.

I may occasionaly reserve rights in images that I have already taken and am licensing for use on a site.
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Old 10-30-2006, 06:29 AM   #9
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Robin: I take the view that if I am paid a fee for creating something, then the content is copyright of the person who commissioned it - and it says so in my agreement to proceed.
That is commonly done in design work as well. But since copyright — if it exists — belongs to the creator, not the person who commissions it, you do need to say so in writing.

Not a big deal most of the time, although I have seen some ugly skirmishes over the years when things are left uncertain and business relationships fall apart.

   
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Old 10-30-2006, 08:41 AM   #10
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KT:

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since copyright — if it exists — belongs to the creator, not the person who commissions it, you do need to say so in writing
You say, 'if it exists', but the copyright in typograpical arrangement belongs to the publisher in the UK, and I fancy that is the rule generally. But who is the publisher of a Web site? and does the same rule apply as in printed books?

   
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