Austin TX Business Law Blog

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Protecting Your Business’s Website

Can I copyright my website?

In today’s internet driven world, your website will often be a customer or client’s first introduction to your business.  Your website is one of your business’s most valuable assets and, as such, it must be protected to the fullest extent.  There are several steps you can take to protect your business website using intellectual property laws.  Our Austin, Texas intellectual property lawyers discuss copyrighting your website and more below.

Copyrighting Your Website

The Copyright Act of 1976 provides protection for original works fixed in a tangible medium of expression.  A website, which consists of a series of interconnected webpages, can qualify for copyright protections.  The U.S. Copyright Office has held that website material perceptible to the users can be copyrighted.  As such, potentially protected website material includes:

  • Blogs
  • Music
  • News pieces
  • Videos
  • Games
  • Webinars

This content is only protected if it is original.  Content that you take from another website or news source would not qualify.  Further, when you apply for a copyright, it will extend only to the content currently on your website.  Content added later would require a separate registration.

Copyright law does not extend to the backend formatting of a website, your domain name, functional design elements, the layout of the site, or links to other websites.  Contact a copyright attorney for help with protecting the copyrightable material on your business website.

Trademarking Your Logo and Graphics

If you have an identifying logo or unique business graphics that signal your company name, you may wish to protect these elements through a trademark or service mark.  Securing a trademark is a relatively simply but critically important step towards securing your overall intellectual property rights.  You can further protect your domain name by purchasing the name and potentially also buying the most common alternative extensions (i.e. .biz, .info, and the like).  

Patenting Your Software

At times, your website will use unique and valuable software.  Some software can be patented, which will provide your software with supreme protection. The software related patenting process can be complex and costly.  Anyone with a potentially valuable software system should contact a patent law attorney to uncover whether they have a viable patent.

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