How to prevent your intellectual property from being hijacked

Many business owners lose their domain and website to people they thought were trustworthy rather than to an outside hacker. A common story here is a dispute with a web designer who the company owner hired or a fired employee. Essentially, the relationship goes sour and the domain name’s registration and access to the website and email go along with the fired designer or employee.
Here are ways to protect your intellectual property.

Register your domain and hosting plan yourself.

Most web designers are honest and aren’t out to steal your intellectual property. But when you set up a business bank account, you wouldn’t put it in your accountant’s name. The same holds true for domain names. Ensure the registrant name, administrative contact and all contact information, are yours.
It’s important that everything reflecting ownership of your IP be in your name and no one else’s. The only way to ensure this is to do these steps yourself.

Keep your account information secure

Provide only the hosting control panel and FTP (File Transfer Protocol – what you use to transfer files for your hosting) credentials to your designer – this is all they will need. They don’t need access to your domain or the main account.

Use the technical contact

Optionally, you can designate your web designer as the technical contact within your domain registration. This will give him or her authority to request technical changes be made to the domain. Make sure your web designer is only the technical contact.

If you’re not sure who is listed as the owner of your domain, find out for free by searching on
If your domain is not listed in your name, change it now and update your account password after the changes are made.

Note : An original version of this article appeared in Business in Vancouver on February 19, 2013

Cybele Negris

Cybele Negris is CEO & Co-Founder of Inc., Canada’s original .CA Registrar and one of the country’s leading Internet solutions companies. manages the domain portfolios for many of the country’s biggest brands and global Fortune 500 companies, offering hundreds of domain extensions, web hosting, email, web development and much more. Cybele is also Vice-Chair of the board of Small Business Roundtable of BC and has received many awards including: Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2011, 2012 and 2014), Business in Vancouver Influential Women in Business Award (2010), PROFIT W100 - Canada's Top Women Entrepreneurs (2004 to 2012) and Business in Vancouver Top 40 Under 40 (2003).

See all posts by Cybele

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