Question 10

After the website is finished, will we own copies of the source code and asset files?

When you pay to have something built, it is important to understand what part of it you own outright and whether any underlying software or assets have been licensed by your web professional on your behalf. It’s a good to keep a record of these as well to protect your investment.

Good response

You will own the copyright for the website’s original content and design assets. We retain copyright for the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code we create and assign a license for you to use our code on your website forever. We do this because we use similar coding techniques on many websites and need to be able to reuse portions of code in order to keep everyone’s costs down. You are paying for our expertise, which includes code that we have developed for this project, as well as that which may have evolved over the course of working on previous projects. Should you ever want to make changes to your website, you retain the right to use the source code as you wish.  Any other supplied assets or software, such as royalty-free images or a licensed CMS, will retain the copyright/license as defined by their supplier.

Poor response

We own the website source code, assets and files. There’s nothing to worry about, we’ll keep a record of the licenses for you, so you just need talk to us if you need to make any updates.

Expert Tip

Licensing of website assets is quite common in the case of fonts and graphical elements, but may also extend to the underlying code that makes your site work. Unlike fonts and graphics, which are most often licensed for a fee that either you or your web professional paid to the creator, many websites incorporate proprietary code developed by your web professional for use on multiple projects and/or “open source” code that is licensed to you at no cost by a third party under one or more of a variety of licenses. The main thing to check is that you are not tied to the web professional or agency that built your website and that you can take your website to another web professional or edit the source files as you wish. If you have any compiled programs or assets on your site, such as Flash, make sure the web agency supplies the original source files at the end of the project. Keep in mind, however, that any web professional or agency that backs up their code with a guarantee may not be able to honor that guarantee if you alter the website’s source code.