Copyright in the Internet: the Peculiarities for Websites

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Copyright in the Internet: the Peculiarities for Websites


Academic and research discursion is organized by the international law department of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. The peculiarities of copyright on website pre-creation stage, and when this site becomes available for users, are discoursed by the attorney-at-law Andrii Nechyporenko in his report.

Creating a Website

  • Website Copyright

It’s reasonable to receive an exclusive property right to website (design) for a company or a person who ordered website creation. It has to be one of an agreement’s issues with a designer. The order of following non-property right has to be determent in contract between the customer and the designer. In contract you can mark as well whether the designer’s name has to be mention or not on the website. The non-property right belongs to the designer and can’t be attorned to the customer.

  • Computer Program Copyright

As far as design - it’s a visual image of website, it’s reasonable to receive an exclusive property right to computer program with help of which the image of your website is visualized. It has to be mentioned in contract as well as the following non-property right (it belongs to the designer and can’t be attorned to the customer).

  • Photographical Image Copyright (if it’s used in website design)

The designer has to sign an agreement with a person who has a copyright on such photographical image. Otherwise the designer cant use it. If such agreement is absent the customer can have a number of claims from photographers because the images were used in website design without their permission.

Functioning and Website’s Development

  • Websites Content Copyright

Website’s content copyright is regulated by an agreement between the owner of the website and a person, who prepares the content (labor contract / commercial contract). Such agreement has to be signed if the owner of the website wants to avoid any controversies in future and to have an exclusive property right to content, which was produced.

  • Others Content Copyright:

- printed mass media;

- websites;

You cant use any content from printed media or websites if there is no clear permission of its owner or person who has a content copyright. Otherwise its a violation of content copyright.

Possibles situations:

- when the owner of the website is interested in PR and higher Page Rank he won’t mind against content reprinting (copy) on the other platforms;

- website owners determine clearly in what way you can use their websites content;

- the owners of the websites protects there copyright and on their platforms they prohibit to reprint or copy the content. They may point out that they are ready to protect content copyright in court.

  • Photographical Image Copyright on the Website

Photographer’s copyright can be secured only in written contract.

Photographone of the most important and widespread objects of copyright in the Internet. If anyone ignore photographers’ copyright it can lead to claims. Not just a photographer can claim, but any person, who has a copyright. They can demand the owner to pay for image usage.

  • UsersCopyright massages/ photographs/ video

If there is no websites rules for user then the copyright for each publication or image which was placed by any user of the website can be received by signing contracts with the property-right owners. It’s impossible in the Internet.

The website’s owner can be responsible for the information, photographs, video which are places on his website by all users. In this case it’s reasonable for the owner to work out some rules in which he can mark all issues that are not foreseen by the law.

If there are clear rules for users (what is recommended), then the user is responsible for not having a copyright to place the content on the website. The necessity to check the copyright before it was published on the website goes to user.

When the content is placed on the website by the user, he has to:

- receive all necessary copyrights by himself;

- to attorn content copyrights to the website’s owner;

- to attorn cantent copyright to other Internet users.

Is this case user is responsible for content publishing.

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