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Working with a client recently who wanted to use The Real Social Company to manage their website, we came across an interesting problem.  The company who designed the website claimed they OWNED the design and we could not move it. (a cheap tactic to keep them from moving in our opinion).  I personally know about the rights of an artist and who owns the work but have never come across this in the web industry.  Turns out that because of the contract they actually DID own the design – it amazed me and I was stunned that a company would do this.  Anyway here is a blog because of this!

Introduction: In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is essential for businesses of all sizes. One of the key elements of that presence is a well-designed website. When a business decides to invest in a website, a common question arises: who owns the design? At The Real Social Company, we understand the importance of clarity in such matters. In this article, we aim to shed light on the ownership of website designs to help businesses make informed decisions.

The Creative Process: Website design is a collaborative process that involves various creative elements. From choosing color schemes and fonts to designing layouts and crafting compelling content, it takes a team of skilled professionals to create a website that truly represents your business.

Ownership of Website Design: The ownership of a website design can vary depending on the agreements made between the business and the web design company. Here are three common scenarios:

  1. Full Ownership by the Business: In some cases, the business may have full ownership of the website design. This typically occurs when the business pays for the design work as a one-time project fee or if it’s outlined in the contract. With full ownership, the business has the right to modify, reuse, or transfer the design as they see fit.
  2. Shared Ownership: Shared ownership means that both the business and the web design company have certain rights to the design. This arrangement often involves ongoing maintenance, updates, or licensing agreements. In shared ownership scenarios, the business may have to obtain permission or pay fees to the web design company for certain uses or modifications.
  3. Ownership by the Web Design Company: In some cases, the web design company may retain ownership of the design. This can occur when the business opts for a subscription-based service or a proprietary website builder. While the business can use the design as long as they subscribe to the service, they may have limited rights to modify or transfer the design outside the platform.

Clearly Defined Agreements: To avoid potential disputes and ensure a clear understanding of design ownership, it’s crucial for businesses to have a well-drafted contract with their web design company. The contract should explicitly state the ownership terms, including who holds the rights to the design, what rights the business has, and any limitations or conditions.

At The Real Social Company, we believe in transparency and work closely with our clients to establish clear ownership agreements that align with their goals and needs. Whether you choose to have full ownership, shared ownership, or work within a platform, we make sure you fully understand the terms before we begin the design process. We always make sure YOU OWN the design after we create it for you. It is fully transferrable and moveable if you wish to use another service.

When it comes to website design, ownership is a matter that should be addressed early in the collaboration between a business and a web design company. By having a well-defined contract and clear communication, both parties can ensure that the website design meets the business’s objectives and that there are no misunderstandings regarding ownership rights.

At The Real Social Company, we are committed to creating stunning websites that not only represent your business effectively but also provide clarity regarding design ownership. Your website is a valuable asset, and our goal is to help you make the most of it. Contact us today to discuss your website design needs and ownership preferences – we’re here to help you succeed in the digital world.

Get a professional and affordable business website built for your company.

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Joey Stardust

Author Joey Stardust

Long term web enthusiast. Known for magazine and article contributions to Toosquare Magazine. Author of Wurm Mud, a DIKU/ROM based MUD source code.

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