You Invested in a Website, but Who Holds Ownership?

You Invested in a Website, but Who Holds Ownership?

You Invested in a Website, but Who Holds Ownership?

Congratulations on getting your company's website designed, paying for the work, and preparing for its launch. However, you may have heard rumors that you might not actually own your investment. How is this possible?

Creating a website involves various components, and complete ownership is not automatically granted in this process. So, let's delve into the topic of website ownership rights.


Understanding the "Not Yours" and "Yours" of Website Ownership

While certain parts of the website you had created belong to you, others do not. It may be a bit perplexing, but let's examine the aspects that fall under the ownership of others and those that should rightfully be yours.

Not Yours: Content Management System (CMS)

For instance, WordPress is a CMS system, which serves as the software designed to help you manage the content on your site. The company that developed that program owns the system.

If you personally wrote the code, then you would have ownership of it. However, it is more likely that the agency you hired utilized one of the commonly available open-source programs to ensure that your site content is managed effectively and up to industry standards.

Not Yours: Web Design

This may come as a surprise, especially since the next point mentions visual design elements as part of what should be yours. However, the copyright for the content actually designed for your site belongs to the web designer. It's a matter of law.

In other words, your web designer possesses the legal rights to their creations, and you would require their permission to use or license their work.

Not Yours: Domain Name

While you may have registered your domain name, it does not mean you own it outright. Registering grants you permission to use it but not ownership. As you may have noticed, there are instances where you enter a name into your browser and discover it is available.

To maintain ownership of your domain name, it's crucial to stay on top of your renewal deadlines. Your domain name is a vital component of your marketing and branding, and you want to ensure that when customers enter it into their browser, they are directed to your website and not someone else's.

Not Yours: Browser and Database

Internet browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, and databases like Microsoft Access or Oracle, are software programs. These tools serve as gateways to your site rather than ownable commodities.

Yours: Visual Design and Text Content

Any assets you provided to the design team, such as editorial content, photography, artwork, and other relevant materials, belong to you. This reiterates the importance of permissions and licensing. Remember: if your web designer created it, it legally belongs to them; if it's content you brought to the table, you retain control over it.

Yours: Finished Work

Ultimately, what you want to own are the HTML/CSS/JavaScript codes used in creating your site, as well as the editorial and visual content. These are the elements you should have the ability to revise and update when necessary. While there may be certain aspects you cannot claim ownership over, this assembled product is something you can rightfully possess.

To ensure clarity regarding your ownership rights, it is essential to have a detailed agreement with your web design team or agency that outlines your permissions as you move forward.


At Media Masters Plus+, we specialize in helping businesses establish and maximize their online presence while providing guidance on website ownership rights. Contact us today to discover how we can design a professional website that meets all your business needs.

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