Re: Web site vs. Web designer

From: Mark Lemley <MLEMLEY[_at_]>
Date: Fri, 06 Sep 1996 12:54:12 -0500

> 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?

This is a general answer, and not specific advice:

Yes, it is possible. Assuming that the Web designer owns the original copyright in the work, they can at any time assign that copyright to whoever they want, including the Web site owner. However, such an assignment must be in writing. [Alternatively, they can give the Web site owner a *nonexclusive* license to use the site materials via an oral agreement, or one might even be implied from the conduct of the parties].

Mark Lemley
Assistant Professor, University of Texas School of Law Of Counsel, Fish & Richardson, P.C.
mlemley[_at_] Received on Fri Sep 06 1996 - 18:00:11 GMT

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