Browse around the web, and you’ll see in almost all cases the little © icon in the footer, along with the year the site was produced and the company’s name. We often get asked what the process is to have this copyright ratified by the government, or if there are any fees involved for registration of copyright.
The copyright that an owner has on their website is automatic, and there is no need to register with any government agencies. When you get a website designed by most designers (including Webfirm of course), you own the copyright on the website that you commissioned, not the designer. It’s worth checking on this arrangement though, if you elect to use a subscription-based service to build and host your site. Squarespace, Unbounce, Wix and other hosted services like these may have their own copyright terms built in to their Terms and Conditions, so it pays to check.
According to the Australian Copyright Council, the answer to this is a little more complex than you might think. Websites are essentially a multimedia presentation, a collection of static and components. Each of those items which had some kind of creativity involved in its production is protected by copyright, but elements which were used from outside or borrowed are not.
The nature of the internet is that a copy of your work gets transmitted to a remote computer when they access your website. So, it’s almost impossible to stop people who want to do the wrong thing from doing so. To discourage people from doing so, however, there are a few things that you can do to make your work a little more difficult to copy.
Hopefully that helps to paint a bit of a picture if you were hazy about how copyright works for businesses in Australia. Don’t treat this is legal advice though – if you’re unsure, speak to your lawyer.
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