There are thousands of businesses out there making websites, all trying to create unique designs, logos, videos, text, and images. There is a danger that, when you create a website for your business, your design or logo might resemble that of another business. This could be totally coincidental, but it could still be a serious problem that ends in a copyright infringement claim. How will this affect your business? What steps should you take to protect yourself?
You want people to notice your website, but what happens if another company notices that your website is similar to theirs? If your logo or design is similar to that of another company, you could face a legal copyright claim from that company.
Copyright infringement means that a copyrighted work has been recreated and displayed without the permission of the copyright holder. Copyright laws protect creative and intellectual property against anyone copying or stealing the design. Intellectual property that is protected will include the words “all rights reserved” or “copyright.” The laws surrounding intellectual property protect:
- The automatic right to your creative work from the moment of its creation.
- The exclusive rights to use, copy, or modify your original content.
- Any intellectual property without the need for the author, artist, or developer to publish or register their work.
Avoiding Copyright Infringement
If you decide to create your own web design, or hire a web designer to do it for you, you need to familiarize yourself with the laws in order to avoid copyright infringement. Copying a website, whether intentionally or not, will come with consequences. Here is what you can and cannot do:
- You cannot duplicate copyrighted designs such as images, text, or source code.
- It is illegal to use someone else’s logo or trademarked material.
- You are allowed to use inspiration from different sites and incorporate them into your web design (as long as it is not the same exact material).
- It is legal to recreate designs similar to those on another site using custom code.
- If you use a website template, there will be thousands of other sites similar to yours and you have no rights to the source code.
- A custom website gives you ownership of your unique design, and another site cannot legally copy it.
If the owner of the copyright can show proof of infringement, you will have to pay a penalty for each infringement. This is not the only consequence to copyright infringement: you will also have to pay attorney fees and will suffer damage to your business’ reputation.
Accidents happen, and that could include accidentally copying another person’s design or image. Companies are constantly changing their logos or website designs in order to keep up with what is popular, and you could end up using a similar design or image. Protect yourself with a business owners policy that includes general liability insurance, which will cover your business property and intellectual property. You should also consider a professional liability insurance policy, or errors and omission (E&O) insurance. This will protect you from copyright infringement, covering:
- Court costs
- Legal fees
- Alleged or actual negligence
- Personal injury costs
Creating a website is vital for your business, but it can be difficult to create a design that does not seem similar to that of the thousands of other sites on the internet. The best thing you can do is protect your business and its reputation with the right commercial insurance policy. EZ.Insure understands just how important it is to protect your business from claims, as well as your designs from copyright infringement. We work with the top-rated insurance companies in the country in order to compare quotes and find the best plan for your business. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to one of our trained, licensed agents, call 888-615-4893.