When creating websites, there are various concerns that need to be taken into consideration:
- Domain name
This is the most important factor in website creation since it acts as an address to the website. It needs to be well selected and protected. The increase in domain name disputes is directly proportional to technology growth.
- Copyright matters
The copyright provides exclusive rights that copyright owners enjoy. Copyright law prohibits reproduction, display and distribution of another person work without his or her permission.
When selecting an image to be put onto a web page, one should avoid taking images from other websites since that is considered as an infringement of the owner’s right. Therefore, it is advisable to come up with your own images or get licensed images from the internet.
- Webpage text
Just like website images, the text should also be original. However, fair use is a justification for text taken from third parties. Before concluding that a work is in the public domain, you should conduct an independent investigation to avoid copyright problems .
- Java scripts, Java Applets and Active x scripts
It is also an infringement to obtain someone else’s programming/ scripting without permission. Other scripts and applets have been left for public use but the user has to comply with the programmer’s terms.
- Linking and framing matters
Linking has enabled the worldwide web; whereby pages are linked. You should be careful with links because of the following reasons:
- Derivative work created by linking- one should use image links of other parties only with their permission.
- Passing off – by using a link to pass off another party’s work as if it originally belongs to the one using the link. Competition also prohibits reverse passing off.
- Defamation- the link may be included in a defamatory statement hence amounting to defamation on the original owner of the link, even though not directly mentioning the party being defamed.
- Trademark infringement- if a trademark is used to create confusion as to the affiliation of the webpage owner to the original trademark owner, it amounts to trademark infringement.
- Problems with frames- frames are used for purposes of subdividing web pages into several parts; to show a number of pages from two websites at the same time. It can mislead the user to think the current webpage author is the original creator.
Any statement made by a website developer should not be defamatory, even if it may damage one’s reputation.
For it to be defamatory, it must be:
- The publisher must/should have known it to be false
- It must refer to a specific person
The law of defamation is guided by several court precedents rather than legislation. Defenses available to defamation include :
- Claiming that the statement is true
- First amendment
The law regulating as regards internet defamation is not sufficient.
- Trademark concerns
Trademarks are essentially slogans, words or images that are meant to identify a specific party’s goods/services.
A trademark can be infringed when one uses another’s mark in order to deceive the consumer public or cause confusion. This is usually by likening one’s products to the trademark owners’, or to imply some connection, association, approval or affiliation to the trademark owner.
Some of the issues related to trademarks include:
- Discussing others’ trademarks – a website designer should ensure they avoid using trademarks that are likely to create confusion as to the source of the webpage or as to its sponsorship.
- Creating linkage to another page- one should use another’s trademark with permission so as not to create confusion that will amount to trademark infringement.
- Trademark selection- the most important factor of a trademark is its relative strength. Strong trademarks usually have no relationship with the product, for example Apple trademark for computers. It is essential to have a trademark search done to ensure no trademark infringement.
- Trademark protection- federal trademark registration is the most efficient way of trademark protection in the United States. For goods intended to be sold internationally, the trademark should be registered in other countries as well.