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Legal ownership of site

     
11:53 pm on Feb 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

I've recently been employed to develop a website for a company, I have been employed in this position for just over six months. The last two months I have been doing the same work although on a self employed basis.

Through out my (self)employment there has been no contract or any sort of legal agreement.

I host the site on my own servers.

Last week I explained to the chap I was doing the work for that I simply did not have enough time to continue doing the work full time on the wage I was on and that I could continue work for him but through my company. I also offered to finish off any existing bits of work whilst he found a replacement, although he didn't take this quite as well as I'd hoped for.

To cut a whole bunch of drama short.. I'm trying to figure out who actually owns the site? Am I obliged to give him the only copy of the site which is on my servers?

I'm a bit clueless when it comes to this stuff, any help and advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Cheers, Rob.

12:22 am on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm trying to figure out who actually owns the site?

I don't think there's any question. They do.

...employed to develop a website for a company,...
12:16 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your reply, I wouldn't have thought it would be that black and white without a contract.
12:20 am on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Even at university, what ever we make belongs to them. It is unfortunate to say the least.
12:37 am on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The company owns the site.

You are obliged to provide a copy of the site to the company. However, you are under no obligation to continue to host the site on your server.

12:57 am on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the info guys, always good to have information on your side!

Woz

1:44 am on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Laws differ from country to country, but here in Australia it is quite simple.

If you are an employee then the employer owns it.
If you are a contractor then you own it.

You state that the initial work was done as am employee and then further work done as a contractor. This muddies the water then as to who own which part.

As always, it would be wise to check with your legal advisor, but I would just hand everything over to them and have a contract written up for any further work. I would even include in that contract that as part of the work agreement you are hand ownership of all work done over to them.

Onya
Woz