Website Copyrights

Copyright protection is commonly known to apply to inventions and artwork to protect original work from copyright infringement. However, copyright protections also extend to websites. Today, the Internet, and especially personal websites extend to all avenues of the marketplace. Individuals have blogs, businesses have websites to advertise and inform about their services, and professionals maintain websites with personal information and updates in their field of work. All of this content is subject to copyright protection and copyright infringement.

Why is it Appropriate to Copyright a Website?

Anytime a website contains unique and original content, it is subject to copyright infringement. Therefore, anytime a website owner is looking to protect the text, sound, or design contained on a website, it is appropriate to copyright the website. Website owners may also have the option to copyright portions of a website, specifically the portions of the website that are original rather than a template. Often several different parties will contribute to a website by working on different aspects. Therefore, to ease the copyright process, it is often helpful to determine authorship and ownership before creating the website. For instance, a developer may own the code for the site, a designer may own the graphical and creative aspects of the site, and the owner of the site may own the content or material. Establishing ownership will make it easier to copyright the different portions of the website.

In general, creating a website automatically infers copyright protection over the material. However, as an added precaution, it is helpful to also take the additional step to register the copyright. In other words, an owner does not have necessarily have to claim a copyright ownership over content to sustain ownership of the content. However, registering a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office will establish an unmistakable right to the content. Furthermore, it will make it easier to protect the copyright interest in the unfortunate event of infringement. The U.S. Copyright Office provides a comprehensive guide that assists owners looking to register online content.

Which Aspects of a Website Does a Copyright Protect?

A website copyright gives the owner of the site, or the content, exclusive rights to that site or content. U.S. copyright laws, under Title 17 of the United States Code, applies to this material, granting the copyright owner certain rights. For instance, the owner has the sole authority to reproduce or distribute the particular content. This right extends to artwork, literature, photographs, and other such original content. However, a website owner cannot copyright the domain name for the website. While domain names cannot be duplicates, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers manages domain name rights, not the United States Copyright Office.

At the Law Offices of Salar Atrizadeh, we guide our clients in legal matters regarding all aspects of copyright law by using extensive knowledge and skills to create innovative solutions. Please contact us today to set up a confidential consultation.