Are Websites Copyright Protected or Open-Source?

I am currently studying JAMStack. My plans are to implement it using the Gatsby/Github/Netlify/NetlifyCMS path. I will primarily use it to build websites for charities.

In researching this project, I came across some articles that implied that any website created this way is open-source. Supposedly, it can be copied and used by anyone. Is this true? Is there no copyright protection? This doesn’t seem logical as no business would use JAMStack or Netlify without copyright protection. Thanks.

Hi @Engine44!

First of all, I’m no lawyer. And I don’t pretend to know enought about copyright related issues to definitely answer this question.

But as far as your concern goes, the actual code that is involved with your project doesn’t need to be open-source (as in “freely” available to everyone). Yes, the code is visible to everyone becuase it’s statically running on Netlify and basically “just” a website and thus can be copied. But you still keep the copy-right of your code. And the source of the website can be hosted in a private GitHub repository, so noone can see the raw source of the project. And if you need to do some dynamic stuff you’d need Netlfiy Functions anyway and as far as I know, nobody can see that code because it’s run serverside.

If it helps, I am only interested protecting the website content. I don’t care about protecting the underlying code. I know that Smashing Magazine uses Gatsby/Github/Netifly. They have a ton of content that I assume they want to protect. How do they do it? Thanks.

I see. Well, that’s where I’m definitely not qualified to answer your question. I just know that for example in Switzerland, where I’m from, the content of a website is in principle protected by copyright, no matter where it’s hosted (GitHub, Netlify, etc.).

That may be the answer. The code is open but the content is copyrighted. I hope that’s it.

hi there, nolo is a reputable source for legal advice, generally, here is a nice article about copyright on the net:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/when-do-you-need-copyright-notice-websites-and-where-do-you-place-it.html

You might also take a look at the Netlify terms of use: https://www.netlify.com/legal/terms-of-use/

basically, by hosting your content with us, you do not give up your copyright if you had identified it as your own (see the first article).

Hope this helps!

I’ve just been told that Github offers private repos for free. That solves my issue. Thanks.

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So I attended a local Meetup where we had a local lawyer who does online copyright and other startup work such as term of service here in the USA. Basically all you have to do is add copyright symbols to the website, and that will give you basic copyright rights. So that’s what I would do.
Plus just put something in the README.md that states the code is open source, but the rest of the project is copyrighted.

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Very good Thanks…