close

Articles

YOUR JOURNEY ALONG THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY: ROAD BLOCKS FOR UNWARY WEB SITE OWNER

March 2002

Scenario 1: Your company just spent $137,000 on the development of a Web site by an outside contractor. Pride of ownership is evident throughout the site. But who owns it?

The outside contractor may own your site. Check the Web site development agreement entered into with the contractor. Does it specifically provide for your ownership of the site, its “look and feel,” programming code, software modules, images and text? Ownership of these rights is critical to your ability to use the site as a means of distinguishing your goods and services from the goods and services of others.

_______________

Scenario 2: Your company receives a “cease and desist” letter from a company whose Web address appears on your site as a “link.” Must the link be removed?

Maybe. The recent settlement of cases involving “linking” and “framing” leaves it unclear how such cases will be resolved in the future. Obtain a license from any site to which your company desires to link.

_______________

Scenario 3: Your company’s site includes a “Kids Corner” and an interactive contest for a trip for two to the Caribbean. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sends a notice of violation to the company. What’s wrong?

Web site operators must comply with rules governing children and sweepstakes. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act applies to Web sites geared towards children or those who collect information from children under the age of 13. Online sweepstakes are also subject to rules concerning purchase requirements and methods of entry.