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Thread: Is this legal?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    74

    Is this legal?

    This isn't exactly on topic, but I think it's fairly close.

    Here's the situation:

    Almost a year ago (August '04) I bought out a web design company in my area, which brought with it roughly 25 businesses with yearly renewal website/hosting/maintenance contracts. Part of the terms was to honor their current yearly renewal at the time of the purchase (i.e. continue to serve them without payment until their time for renewal came up, even if it was 11 months).

    One client was already in the process of getting their site re-designed and registering a new domain when I took over because they weren't happy with their website or the previous company managing it. They have a completely new site with different content and everything. The original site is doing well in search engines, it's on the first page of Google's results for some specific (relevant) keywords. I told them this, and wrote them a letter explaining how they could benefit from at least continuing service by having me re-direct their old domain to their new one & included a printout of a month of statistics. No response.

    Here's my question:

    The site gets a good amount of traffic - probably about 1500 uniques per month or more, and most is from Search Engines. Since I own the domain and they don't want it, can I do whatever I want with it? i.e. my plan is to remove all references to their business from the site and any mention of their area, customers, or anything personal whatsoever. The only thing I will leave is the content of the website that brings the visitors from the search engines, and I'm going to add a forum and Google Ads to the site.

    Is this legal? I own and have complete control of the domain, and they never expressed any interest in this website and their time for renewal has come and gone - so they are out of contract. I'd appreciate your thoughts.
    Steve Lundy - Web Design GT
    Custom & Professional website design services.
    Find Out More!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    1,750
    If you own the domain then well its yours.
    Have the company sent a cancellation form or anything?
    Regards

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    74
    The only thing I meant that I could be doing wrongly here is using their content they wrote for their original website. They currently are not using the same content on the new website, which is why I believed it to be ok, but wasn't sure.
    Steve Lundy - Web Design GT
    Custom & Professional website design services.
    Find Out More!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    1,750
    Its your work? They dont want it? So use it.
    There shouldnt be no problem with that, but im not sure about the law too much.
    Regards

  5. #5
    On the domain side, yeah, you own it. But I think they might be able to sue you if you use their content without their approval unless your contract explicity states that any data stored on or for the domain is retained by you.

    I'm no lawyer by a longshot so FWIW those are my thoughts...

    LH
    If the web closed at midnight, what would YOU do?

  6. #6
    Here's what I think you should do, you can do whatever you want with their domain name since it's technically your company's. But you can take down the site and KEEP a copy of it somewhere just in case they ask for it.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Castle Pines, CO
    Posts
    7,189
    It sounds like you purchased it & the content when you bought the web design company.

    I would tend to agree and say that it is yours.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    191
    Forward it anyhow and show the customer that you are there for them in the long run, this will help secure that customer's business in the future.

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