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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru pinch's Avatar
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    General Web Business Question

    I've been doing some research into the business of web design and have a few very basic questions. It seems all of the info I've found so far describes practices on a very high level but skims over the very basics.

    My first question is: When someone designs a site for another person or business, who retains the right to the content on the site?

    My second question is: Does the designer generally provide hosting for his client as well? It seems to me if a person is paying for a site they probably aren't proficient enough to handle the back-end maintenance of a site?

    Thirdly: Is it a common practice to design a site for a client and charge them for hosting and support on a monthly basis?

    I really have looked and haven't been able to find comprehensive answers for these simple questions. If anyone knows of any reputable info I'd appreciate it.

  2. #2
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    Businesses in the US (and perhaps globally) will assume work for hire unless you discuss this in depth and include mutually agreed to clauses in a contract. I.e. Anything you do for a client becomes the property of the client unless you specifically required them to acknowledge that certain or all elements of code are retained by you.

    Generally copy, design and client-specific materials by default become the copyrighted works of the client. However - if you are able to negotiate it - you may be able to retain any web application code for reuse.

    Clients may not check on this in small environments - but believe me - if you do work for hire and reuse that code again you can get nailed in a serious way from other clients.

    Always best to have a legal professional work out a contract for your use. It can save you untold amounts of hours and money later.

    If you have the infrastructure to host your clients by all means do so - just be sure you are capable as a system administrator to insure the security and reliability of the server(s).
    Freelance System Administrator, Researcher, Writer
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinch

    My first question is: When someone designs a site for another person or business, who retains the right to the content on the site?
    The content is typically the clients - i.e. the text and images that make up the visual aspects of the site - can't see how you would be able to claim this for yourself. But the scripts and software that run the site are a different matter completely. This is your work containing your trade secrets and you should make it clear in your contract that you own this and reserve the right to re-use these scripts for other clients (and also make it clear that no one can resell, modify, duplicate or reverse engineer your software). All clients I deal with respect this.

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    SitePoint Guru pinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwarrene
    Businesses in the US (and perhaps globally) will assume work for hire unless you discuss this in depth and include mutually agreed to clauses in a contract. I.e. Anything you do for a client becomes the property of the client unless you specifically required them to acknowledge that certain or all elements of code are retained by you.

    Generally copy, design and client-specific materials by default become the copyrighted works of the client. However - if you are able to negotiate it - you may be able to retain any web application code for reuse.

    Clients may not check on this in small environments - but believe me - if you do work for hire and reuse that code again you can get nailed in a serious way from other clients.

    Always best to have a legal professional work out a contract for your use. It can save you untold amounts of hours and money later.

    If you have the infrastructure to host your clients by all means do so - just be sure you are capable as a system administrator to insure the security and reliability of the server(s).
    That makes sense, I'm just curious as to how the developer goes about his regular maintenance and site modifications if many different clients decide to host their sites through different companies. I'm not sure about the average maintence work that is needed for an average site, but I would think its a considerable amount. Would the task of keeping up their many sites through many different hosts and servers become overbearing?

    The content is typically the clients - i.e. the text and images that make up the visual aspects of the site - can't see how you would be able to claim this for yourself. But the scripts and software that run the site are a different matter completely. This is your work containing your trade secrets and you should make it clear in your contract that you own this and reserve the right to re-use these scripts for other clients (and also make it clear that no one can resell, modify, duplicate or reverse engineer your software). All clients I deal with respect this.
    And this would also pertain to original graphics developed by the designer?

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    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    I always host my clients. There are some great reseller plans out there if you don't have your own server. I give my clients a monthly charge or if they pay for a year up front, i charge them for 10 months instead of 12.
    Sara

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    SitePoint Guru pinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ses5909
    I always host my clients. There are some great reseller plans out there if you don't have your own server. I give my clients a monthly charge or if they pay for a year up front, i charge them for 10 months instead of 12.
    That seems like it makes sense ses from a financial and organization perspective. Are there any other reasons why you do this?

    Also, let's say a client decides he wants the "site" itself and will handle his hosting himself. Is completeing the job as simple as handing the client a CD with all the code and content? Are there any good resources for getting off the ground in this field?

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    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Another reason I like to host my clients is if they have any changes, I don't have to jump through hoops to get to their site with the other hosting.

    I did a site once and they had already purchased their hosting and they didn't want to lsoe the money, which makes complete sense. I created their site and for a small fee I uploaded it to their server. If they would have hosted with me, I would have set up all email addresses, etc. for free. I include it in the cost of hosting.

    if they didn't want me to set up the site on their server, I would have just given it to them on a disk.
    Sara

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinch
    And this would also pertain to original graphics developed by the designer?
    Depends - we hand over copyright to all flat-files we create for the client (e.g. logo, site template design etc as gif, jpeg etc), but we do not hand over the raw source files that we used to create these final grpahics, as these contain our trade secrets (e.g. photoshop filter set ups, Fireworks PNG files etc). IN the same way that a wedding photographer owns the negatives and provides prints to the client when necessary.

    Also, let's say a client decides he wants the "site" itself and will handle his hosting himself. Is completeing the job as simple as handing the client a CD with all the code and content? Are there any good resources for getting off the ground in this field?
    If the client wants to handle hosting, you need to decide how far our job extends. Probably, the client will still expect you to set the site up on his servers - in that case, charge them for your time.

    We certainly push to host sites for our clients and in the case of many of our solutions, make it a mandatory aspect of our service. Remember, you are not a hosting company, so you could charge quite highly for hosting.
    Last edited by shadowbox; Mar 21, 2005 at 14:00.


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