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Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsAugust 14, 2007

How do I keep website developers from taking profit and ownership of my website's design?

I've heard that having another firm or individual create your website means that they own the code, meaning that the developer may be entitled to any profit you receive from operations on your site. It sounds akin to someone else owning your masters in the music industry. Is this true? What can an entrepreneur do to ensure that this doesn't happen so that it remains their intellectual property?
By executing a contract that makes it clear that the design is a work-for-hire in which they have no intellectual property rights and that they cannot use for profit, you can secure ownership of your website's design. Consult a knowledgeable attorney who knows how to draft such an agreement (or add those provisions to the agreement the designer provides to you).

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.

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