legal issues releasing my personal website


I've been trying to make my personal website for a long time, and now that is almost done, I've been investigating about some legal details that I must solve in order to release my website, based on the things I want to do:

  • I want to have the rights of the name of the website and the domain name as well.
  • I want to have the rights of the design of the website.
  • I'd like that all the content of the blog of the website are free to share with an attribution required (with creative commons I think).

there are other details to be concerned about, like:

  • In fact I made the design of the page, although some images are not mine, so I have to give an attribution to every author of these images, despite this, I'd like to have the rights of the design.
  • I'd like to adquire the domain name of the website, it's available, but the fact is that I still don't have the rights of that name of the website.

By now I've investigated that:

  • I can protect the domain name and the name of the website with a trademark.
  • I can protect the design with a copyright.
  • the process to copyright something is depending too much on the country.

but, based on all this, I have these questions:

  • how does exactly the multi lincensing works?
  • is that necessary to register a trademark just to protect the name of the website?, isn't there another way to do this?
  • is it possible to copyright the design of the website although some images aren't mine?
  • if I copyright a work on a country, does that mean that is protected globally?
  • the process to register a trademark or to copyright something between each country is that diferent?, isn't there an average process (or at least a part of the process) that does match in every country so I can have an Idea how does this work?
  • is worth to acquire the domain name of the website, even if I don't have the right of the name of the website?

Legal Website

asked Jul 31 '12 at 01:47
116 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

3 Answers


IANAL, but consider reviewing the creative commons agreements regarding your content. Copyrighting a website is a possibility (see ) but protection "will extend only to the copyrightable content of the work as received in the Copyright Office and identified as the subject of the claim".

If you are planning on adding ongoing content to your site, this will quickly become an administrative headache. Also, you need to actively enforce the copyright and find / go after those who infringe on your copyrighted works. Expect that to be expensive.

You are given the opportunity to register a domain name - having a trademark does not automatically give you the right to the name. As a trademark owner, you can dispute the domain name (see: ) but successfully disputing and gaining control can take time.

answered Jul 31 '12 at 06:34
Jim Galley
9,952 points


I am not a lawyer, but here are some basics that apply to your situation:

Copyright attaches to any work you create as soon as it becomes fixed in a tangible medium. This means that as soon as you draw it, write it, etc., it is protected by copyright law. While the copyright law of individual countries differs, the Berne Convention establishes this immediate application of copyright as a minimum standard. So as soon as you create a website, it's covered by copyright law. Note that in the instance of a website design, copyright will really only provide you with any legal recourse if someone directly copies your work, or makes only slight modifications to it. Check out this page for an example of what I mean.

Elements you use in your website that were created by someone else are covered by their copyright ownership. Copyright is an exclusionary right, meaning that it gives the owner the right to exclude others from using the created work. So you need to get an explicit agreement from copyright holders of any images you are using in order to use them on your website, whether as part of your design or as content. A good example of this stock photography: You pay the stock photo company, and they give you the right to use their images on your site.

Trademark is a different matter. It has to do with ownership of a brand. The idea behind trademark is that it helps consumers know that when they buy something from a particular brand, it's actually made by the company that created the brand. Knockoff iPhones can damage Apple's brand, because consumers might think the knockoff is made by Apple, and if the knockoff iPhone doesn't work, they could assume Apple products are unreliable. Trademark is also different from copyright in that it is not global. Trademarks are issued at the country level.

Is the domain name you want to use already being used in another way by a brand? For example, is there a GoFast motor company, and you want to use the domain If so, you'll likely run into trouble. If the domain name you want isn't going to bump into an existing trademark, you should be fine. Just buy the domain name. Domain name disputes are handled by the UDRP, which is actually pretty clear and straightforward. Basically, someone trying to use a domain name in bad faith will lose in a dispute.

There is a misconception that Creative Commons somehow routes around copyright. Instead, a CC license gives you, the copyright holder, the ability to tell the world which rights you want to allow other people to have to your work, without having to draft a license on your own (or pay a lawyer for one). If you are using CC-licensed work created by someone else, it really is imperative that you provide proper attribution. It's a courtesy to thank them for giving you something for free, and it helps reinforce CC licensing as a viable approach.

General advice: Don't try to use a name for your site or your URL that someone else is already using. It will get you into trouble. Be a good faith user of CC licensed materials, and provide attribution. Put a copyright notice at the bottom of each page of your website (this makes it clear to people that you are the person who created the site, so if they violate your copyright, you can get more out of them in court because the violation is assumed to be willful) if you want to, but clearly indicate that the content you create is available under CC license (link to the specific CC license you want to use). Don't spend time worrying about whether someone will rip off the design of your site. It's not worth it. Imagine how it would damage you if someone ripped off the design. Changes are, the effect on you would be negligible. Worry instead about making an awesome site.

answered Aug 2 '12 at 13:39
Erik Schmidt
256 points
  • hey man thanks for your reply, you helped me to think about the next decision I'll take – Mechdeveloper 11 years ago
  • Glad you found it helpful, and best of luck to you. – Erik Schmidt 11 years ago


I want to have the rights of the name of the website and the domain name as well. This would be done by purchasing a Trademark. Trademarks protect your brand from being used by competitors in the area in which you do business. And only in that area. Your Trademark would protect a company from using it for apparel when you do software development.

I want to have the rights of the design of the website. Copyright is established at the moment of creation.

I'd like that all the content of the blog of the website are free to share with an attribution required (with creative commons I think). This is done through licensing (which you appear to understand here :) )

In general, I wouldn't worry too much about Trademark registration at this point. In the United States alone you're looking at a minimum of $300 just for the Trademark. On top of that you will have the search fee, as well as the many other fees required. Then you have the attorney to worry about (because attempting to file for a Trademark without an attorney isn't a good idea.) That's just one country, some countries don't allow trademarks, others cost WAY more than what the US costs.

Please note, that while copyright may begin the moment you create something, proving it may be a different story. Which is where registering the copyright comes into play.

For additional information on Trademarks I'd recommend

answered Aug 5 '12 at 11:18
Radioac Dev
11 points

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