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Viridian's picture
66 pencils

Need Opinions on Copyright & Contract Question

Hi folks,

I am a freelance web designer and I make web sites for small businesses and creative folk (painters, photographers and craftspeople). I have been mulling over this question and would appreciate your input:

Regarding the contracts that you have as graphic and/or web designers, do you retain the copyright to the work you create, or do you have a "work for hire" contract where the buyer ends up with the copyright?

If you use a "work for hire" agreement, did you factor surrendering the copyright into the fee you charge?

I realize that this is dealing with United States law, but I am interested in the input from the forum members living elsewhere.

thanks so much! :D

suzy

Mississauga's picture
187 pencils

Up here in the Great White North, the law states the creator automatically maintains ownership of all original content unless specific, agreed, written details are to the contrary. This applies to the graphics, web, arts and photography industries.

Alec

PIMPTRIX's picture
264 pencils

I give all rights to the client. I was hired to do the work for them so they own the work I did for them. I think it's only fair like this.

I have seen many designers that retain the right for the work, but if you think about it, the client paid for that work and paid good $$ to have it custommized for his own needs, in other words he paid to have it done. Therefore he owns the work.

______________________________________________________________________
"Life is a dream in which you don't remember fallig asleep or waking up. Make the dream worth dreaming, don't just sleep in the idea of waking up." - PIMPTRIX

Viridian's picture
66 pencils

Mississauga wrote:
Up here in the Great White North, the law states the creator automatically maintains ownership of all original content unless specific, agreed, written details are to the contrary. This applies to the graphics, web, arts and photography industries.

I'm assuming that the Great White North is Canada, :D although that white stuff is threatening to show up tonight here in Maine. :shock: The laws are the same in the States, and my very informal polling so far has it at a 50/50 split as to what designers choose to do.

Thanks for the info!

Mississauga's picture
187 pencils

I guess the determining factor of ownership would boil down to a negotiation of price. In my short time as a web designer, I made a habit of offering the client their choice of whether or not they had a need to manipulate or edit the content themselves. To surrender my ownership of content meant to add on a reasonable amount for the risk of my design being arbitrarily altered. In some cases, I would insist upon maintaining ownership; particularly sites I felt could act as good PR for my company. These few sites were sold at a very reasonable cost, based on anticipated future returns from new clients.

Alec

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