Introduction to Web Design


This page will include links to notes and materials to help students complete this module.

'My Website Is Better Than Yours' written by Dr. Nicholas Longo, Founder and CEO, CoffeeCup Software can be downloaded in full here as a pdf file. At 6Mb it is quite heavy but worth the wait. CoffeeCup have made this freely available to students on my web design courses, and it represents one of the best up-to-date and easy to read manuals around at the moment. Yes, CoffeeCup make software and you may feel that they're just promoting it but it isn't written in that way at all and you should bear in mind that the majority of their software is actually available free to use within College anyway!

The law and websites

There are two kinds of legal liability: civil liability and criminal liability. Civil liability may lead to injunctions and damages payments; criminal liability could mean a fine and a criminal record, and possibly worse.

Unfortunately, websites can create both kinds of liability.

Issues of civil liability are more prevalent, although not necessarily less serious. For example, you need to be careful about copying text, images and other material from third parties - if you don't, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a copyright infringement lawsuit. You should also check that your domain name and other branding doesn't infringe another person's trade mark rights.

Intellectual property is just one issue affecting websites. Another big risk is libel. You should be conscious that any derogatory comments you or another person posts on your website could give rise to a defamation claim.

There is also a substantial body of legislation designed to help and protect consumers and others involved in online activity - which places special obligations upon website owners. Into this category we can place accessibility law, data protection law, e-marketing law, and e-commerce law.

Some of these things (e.g. copyright infringement or breaches of data protection law) can give rise to criminal liability. Other areas of criminal law which are relevant to websites include the laws of contempt of court, obscenity and racial hatred.


Disability Discrimination Act 1995


Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988

Criminal law

Contempt of Court


Racial hatred


Data Protection

data Protection Act 1998


Defamation Act 1996

Domain names

Uniform Domain Name Disputes Resolution Policy

E-commerce law

Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002

English Laws of Contract

Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977

Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999

Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000

Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002

E-marketing law

Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003

Trade Marks

Trade Marks Act 1994

'Passing off' is a right under Common Law