Does InMotion Let You Own Your Site?

Does InMotion let you own your site?

For a lot of us, especially for website newbies, the question of website ownership may seem absurd. A lot of us would think that since you spent considerable amounts of money and since you paid for the services required to operate the website, you are the owner of your website and to be asked who owns the website sounds ridiculous. However, are you really the owner of your website? You may immediately say yes to this question but such is not always the case. Unless the contract explicitly states that you own your website, technically, you are never its owner.

For a better understanding regarding this discussion, it is important that we do understand the meaning of the term “own” first. Technically, domain ownership is like your being the owner of your home phone number, which you never actually owned but leases it from the phone company.
However, this question is quite tricky as not all hosting companies allow you to own your website. Under InMotion’s Terms of Service/User Agreement and Privacy Policy, Part 4.a.i, the “Customer is the owner or valid licensee of the Customer Content and each element thereof, and Customer has secured all necessary licenses, consents, permissions, waivers and releases for the use of the Customer Content and each element thereof, including without limitation, all trademarks, logos, names and likenesses contained therein, without any obligation by Company to pay any fees, residuals, guild payments or other compensation of any kind to any Person or Entity;” (www.inmotionhosting.com/terms-of-service). This provision means that the client owns the whole content of the website but not the website itself as it is only leased to the client.

Why can’t I own in my website?

Simply put, you cannot own your website in as much as your website is actually made up of many parts, some of which you do own and while others you just lease from the hosting provider. Here is a simple guide of what you do own and you simply lease.

  •  You don’t own the web server.
  •  The web server is the computer that runs the server platform that is hosting your website. Usually, the data center owns the web server and leases it to you. It is obvious that you don’t own your website unless you purchase one for yourself.
  •  You don’t own the Web Server Platform.
  •  Examples of this include the Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP), ASP.NET, Windows IIS+ and Microsoft SQL Server.
  •  You don’t own the Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
  •  You can have your own CMS if you author a source code and that you wrote it yourself. The owner of the CMS is its creator and you are only licensed to use it.
  •  You don’t own the Database Software such as MySQL.
  •  Never owning the database software also means that you don’t own the actual database too but you own the website data and content that is stored in the database provided you author it.
  •  Typically, you don’t own the website Source Code unless you author it yourself.
  •  A source code is a program created in the Web Server Platform language that contains the connectors to other software and is also used to communicate with outside system servers. It is used to generate the HTML/CSS/Java script for the browser to work in your screen.
  •  You don’t own the browser, you are only licensed to use it.
  •  Most surprisingly, you don’t own your domain name.
  •  Now this may come as a surprise but you actually don’t own the domain name although you are its registered domain name owner. You are only leasing it.

What do I get to own then?

Being the “owner” of your website simply means that you get to own the following:

  •  You are the owner of the HTML/CSS/Java script languages, the building blocks of your website and the languages that browsers understand.
  •  You own Visual Design of your website.
  •  This includes the layout and the graphical assets such as colors, typography, photography used in creating the user interface, the readable content of the website and the images and videos it contains.
  •  You own the Text Content of your site.
  •  This includes all the readable, formatted, able to be copied and pasted as well as can be indexed in the search engine website text that can be rendered in your browser. This means you should be the author of the Text Content to make it your own.
  •  You own the photos of your site.
  •  This condition is true, if and only if you took the photos yourself, otherwise, if you just copied it from somewhere, the photo is just licensed to you.

What do I need to understand about the legality of website ownership?

You may be surprised to learn that you are not the Owner of your website. It may sound ridiculous that after having spent time and money for your website, you get to be informed that you don’t actually own it.
The following are the important facts that you need to understand about the legal reality of the ownership of your website. One, you should remember that you can never legally own the web server platform, your domain name, the web platform, the database software, the CMS and even the language that is used to build your website. Two, you would never get to own the server that is hosting your website and that you are only granted the license to use the Intellectual Property of the creator of the website and the platform that is used to build it. However, you do legally own the contents of your website, if and only if, you authored in yourself.

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