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The Legal Side of Web Design Business and Web Site Ownership

The Legal Side of Web Design Business and Web Site Ownership section is devoted to Web Site Resources for legal issues on owning a Web site or running a Web design business or small business - Web design contracts, Web site copyright protection and copyright laws, what to do about copyright infringement, intellectual property laws, trademarks and trademark protection, Internet law, Internet fraud, and Internet law firms, intellectual property lawyers, and related attorneys.

Know of some good articles, tutorials, tips, Web sites, books, or other resources related to legal issues for Web sites or for running or managing a Web design business or small business? Recommendations are welcome and encouraged!

Attorneys Who Handle Internet Law, Intellectual Property Law

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Books on Web Design Business, Graphic Design Business, Small Business Recommended by

  •  The Business Side of Creativity: The Complete Guide to Running a Small Graphic Design or Communications Business, Third Updated Edition. by Cameron S. Foote. Norton (9-18-2006). 
  • The Graphic Design Business Book, by Tad Crawford 
  • Graphic Artists Guild Handbook : Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, 11th Ed. 2003 
  • Artists & Graphic Designers Market 2007. By Mary Cox, Michael Schweer 

Read short reviews and find more book recommendations on Web site-related topics in our Recommended Books, Software section!

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Contracts for Web Design and Development and Related Work

See also Recommended Books on Planning, Running a Web Design / Development Business or Small Business, where you'll find books that include contracts, helpful guidance, and tips.

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Copyright Information

Copyright on the Web - General Information

See also below, Official Copyright Sources for official sources and documentaion.

What is Plagiarism and How to Avoid Plagiarism or Copyright Infringement

In a nutshell, to avoid plagiarism or copyright infringement, follow copyright laws. Check the particular author's or creator's copyright information, ask permission for use where needed, and adhere to the copyright laws. From A sample copyright policy from Stanford University:

In general, works governed by the copyright law include not only more traditional works of authorship, such as books, photographs, video and sculpture, but also works such as software and databases. Copyrighted works are protected regardless of the medium in which they are created or reproduced; thus, copyright extends to digital works and works transformed into a digital format.

Whether or not a webpage, digital artwork, or other materials show copyright information (typically at the bottom of webpages), to stay on the safe side it's better to assume the materials are copyright protected until you have absolute proof otherwise.

Keep in mind that lack of knowledge about copyright laws is not a legal excuse and doesn't make you exempt from being punished by law. So it's best to check out copyright information for any materials you'd like to use. Fair use generally allows you to quote a paragraph or two of text without receiving explicit permission, but you should always, always, always check the copyright owner's usage specifications, quote your sources, provide a link to the website, etc. Never try to pass off someone else's work as your own - which is assumed if you don't give proper credit or quote your sources. If the copyright owner doesn't allow use, don't use it... simple as that.

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Copyrighting Your Work, Your Web Site, and How to Handle Copyright Infringement

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Official Copyright Sources

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Disclaimers for Websites

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Intellectual Property Information

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Internet Law Information

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Legal Resources, Reporting Internet-Related Crimes, Online Legal Research

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Report Internet Crime

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Trademark Information

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