The Property Interests in a Web Site in the Absence of a Written Agreement

J.H. Warmund (USA)


Internet, World Wide Web, Copyright, Intellectual Property


This Essay focuses upon how to divide the proprietary interests that remain with respect to code and content when an web site development arrangement breaks down in the absence of a written agreement, although the legal concepts discussed could also apply to other technology applications. More specifically, this Essay discusses Holtzbrink Publishing Holdings v. Vyne Communications, Inc., 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5444 (S.D.N.Y. 2000), the only known case in which a U.S. court faced this problem. Current copyright and intellectual property law does not easily contemplate the dynamic of an oral web site development arrangement. This Essay is timely and topical because in the current economic climate, many companies looking to develop or enhance their e-presence are entering into cheaper, informal or oral agreements. By elucidating certain proprietary legal concepts inherent to web design, this Essay seeks to foster greater understanding among developers, practitioners and businessmen alike regarding how to better protect their intellectual property.

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