Web site vs. Web designer

From: Duncan McKeever <dmck[_at_]islandmm.com>
Date: Thu, 05 Sep 1996 17:27:24 -0500

Dear listmembers:

I am involved in the following scenario:

Web site owner contracts with a design firm to create a logo, navigational and other graphics, and create the layout of text and graphics within the Web pages. The only document signed prior to the commencement of the work lists an itemized estimate for the work and states that the work will commence within a certain number of days after receipt of a deposit. This document was signed by the Web site owner and mailed with the deposit.

A series of incidents led the Web site owner to state he was dissatisfied with the work and refuse to continue with the work or pay any further amounts. These incidents the Web site owner lists include: 1) Time overruns beyond the limits in the original agreement. 2) Serious lack of responsiveness on the part of the designer leading the site owner to believe that the work would not be completed in a reasonable amount of time.
3) Poor quality work.

The web site owner requested work halt, said he did not intend to pay for any further work and requested a refund of the deposit.

After much discussion, the Web site designer offered the following: 1) Designer will give Web site owner all rights to all the work completed.
2) Deposit amount will be considered payment for the work thus far completed.

The Web site owner decides agree to this (a portion of the work completed is useable).

!! No work-for-hire agreement was signed prior to the creation of the work. However, the original agreement did involve the commissioning of the Web site designer to create specific elements for use in conjunction with the HTML presentation and content already on the site.

Question: Due to the fact that no work-for-hire agreement was signed *before* the work was completed, is it possible for the designer to grant and the Web site owner to acquire full copyright ownership of the work completed?

(Back to the first person)

I am the Web site owner. This is an important issue because any of the graphics work I use may become an integral and recognized part of my Web site and marketing efforts in the future. Also, the replacement designer might integrate any new work with the work in question. I want to be sure that I own the work before I invest any more time and energy into using them on my site.  

Thanks,

Duncan McKeever
<dmck[_at_]islandmm.com>

NOTE: This post attempts to list the facts pertinent to the central question stated. The post does not list all of the facts regarding the situation nor does it contain all of my claims against the Web site designer. Received on Thu Sep 05 1996 - 22:30:32 GMT

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