Here's the scenario: a client of mine (lets call them Company A) had a website built by someone else (let's call them Company B). They then asked me (Company C) to configure a third party framework to look and feel exactly the same as what Company B built for them.

Would it be legitimate for me to use content (including images, CSS, and even HTML) from the site Company B built for Company A?

It's worth mentioning Company A's name is in the copyright notice in the footer of the site Company B made for Company A.

2 Answers 2


If Company A owns the copyright (this is usually the case in works-for-hire of this sort, and the copyright notice backs this up), then it's perfectly legitimate to use those assets in other projects for Company A. Company A owns the rights to those assets, so can do what they like with them.


IANAL, but it should be okay. Even if Company B really does hold the copyright (and say Company A modified/added the copyright notice without authorization) unless Company A actually stole it, they should at least have the right to use and modify it. If you hire someone to create a work, even if it's not technically a work for hire under copyright law, you certainly should have the ordinary use you hired them to get the benefit of. That would include the right to use and maintain the work. Web sites are always in flux, so modification should be considered part of ordinary use.

Most likely, the copyright notice is correct and your client holds the copyright. But you may want to find a subtle way to confirm with your client that there are no copyright issues that they're aware of. It's possible they hired you specifically because they know there's a problem and then 'forgot' to tell you about the problem.

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