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Web development contract essentials


In a recent column for The Gleaner, a news source serving Jamaica, attorney Damion Blair shared some tips about web development contracts that are pertinent to U.S. and international businesses.

Among the elements of web development contracts Blair identified as important, some - such as defining the scope of work and payment terms - were relevant to contracts generally. Other tips were more specific to web development, including provisions for amendments and revisions, client or third-party modifications and ownership of the site.

Amendments and revisions are particularly important to address in a web development contract, Blair wrote, because content current at the time of the contract negotiation is likely to be out of date by the time the site launches. Therefore, it's shrewd to lay out how many amendments to the site can be made, within what time frame and for what cost.

Client or third-party modifications to the site are likely to be necessary, given that the developer may not be able to perform 100 percent of upkeep on the site, especially in emergency situations. This eventuality can be addressed in a contract, which should lay out what will happen if a third-party's modifications impair the site's functionality and require the developer to repair it. On a related issue, the contracting business and the developer would be wise to determine prior to the start of work which party will own the source code when the project is completed.

Another important aspect of web development is the inclusion of a privacy policy and terms of use agreement. Web designer and businessman Andrea Giannangelo recently told The Next Web Insider that developers who build a site and do not include such a policy put themselves in legal jeopardy and risk a blow to their reputations.