Protecting Your Website
An integral part of designing and constructing your website should be thinking of how to protect it once before it is up and running. Consider the following as part of your overall design efforts:
1. Make sure you have written agreements with all the outside people who contribute to your website so that you have clear title to the copyrights associated with each element of each web page.
2. Make sure key employees have employment agreements that make clear that any work they do is for the employer, i.e., works for hire.
3. Make sure the employment agreements have non-compete provisions restricting the employee from going to work for someone else in a way that can hurt you.
4. Do a "defensive" trademark search if there is any doubt about a mark or set of words you want to use on the website.
5. Think about registering the screens with the Copyright Office.
6. Think about registering any trademarks you use.
7. Think about patenting the software, if any process is novel, non-obvious, and useful, or a business method used in the website. See the Internet-Patent section of this website for more information on business method patents.
8. Make sure that any graphics used on your website are not owned by someone else from whom you may be required to obtain a license. Otherwise, the owner of the graphic may claim copyright infringement.
9. Specify not only the law that governs disputes ("This agreement is governed by the law of Maryland") but also the court that the parties agree will have jurisdiction to determine disputes ("Any dispute shall be determined by the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland.") Even better? Set up an arbitrator, either a formal organization or a method of picking one or three individuals to decide disputes.
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