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Who Owns the Design?

blackteddi
Ace Contributor
Teddi B Member Since: Aug 2, 2015
11 of 32

Thanks Jess. I always thought the same thing--the copyright belongs to the designer unless assigned to the client. Last night I discovered that Upwork was assigning the client ownership. I'm surprised that Petra said that I was putting myself at a "competetive disadvantage compared with other freelancers who do not impose conditions that differ from Upwork's."

 

My terms and conditions are set up so that the client and myself have an understanding of the scope of the project and what we expect from each other. It's to prevent any misunderstanding down the road.

jcullinan
Community Guru
Jess C Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
12 of 32

@Teddi B wrote:

Thanks Jess. I always thought the same thing--the copyright belongs to the designer unless assigned to the client. Last night I discovered that Upwork was assigning the client ownership. I'm surprised that Petra said that I was putting myself at a "competetive disadvantage compared with other freelancers who do not impose conditions that differ from Upwork's."

 

My terms and conditions are set up so that the client and myself have an understanding of the scope of the project and what we expect from each other. It's to prevent any misunderstanding down the road.


I'm sure what Petra meant, and I agree, is that if you present every client with an additional agreement to the standard Upwork contract, they may find that off putting and prefer to work with freelancers who don't attach any strings. And a moderator will have to answer this specifically, but I don't think any side agreement that overrules Upwork's terms of service is going to be binding on a client in any way - when you use this site, you agree to the ToS, period.

blackteddi
Ace Contributor
Teddi B Member Since: Aug 2, 2015
13 of 32

I don't attach "strings" to my terms and conditions. I want to protect myself and my client. I was surprised to learn that Upwork even addressed this matter in their TOS. I believe they are confusing “ownership” with “right to use.”

 

I don’t have a problem granting ownership when I can. If the work is mine—illustrations, photography, and typeface—I can grant ownership.

 

When I purchase (on behalf of the client) an image, typeface, or design element from iStock, Deposit Photo, Letterhead Fonts, etc. the license is transferable to the client. But the client doesn’t own it nor do I. The client is granted the right to use it according to the license agreement from iStock, Deposit Photo, Letterhead fonts, etc.

 

I have images, elements, and fonts, which I purchased for my library. They weren’t purchased for a specific job. I might use these elements multiple times on multiple projects, but I don’t own them, and I can’t transfer a license.

 

Some clients are misguided, thinking they own the design because they paid for it. They may own the design as a whole, but they don’t own the parts. If they request layered files because they’re the “owner” because Upwork said so, they now have access to elements that they don’t have a right to possess, re-use, share, or sell in any way shape or form.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
14 of 32

@Teddi B wrote:

 

 I'm surprised that Petra said that I was putting myself at a "competetive disadvantage compared with other freelancers who do not impose conditions that differ from Upwork's."


 I think Petra is correct, but it shouldn't matter in the least. Your business model is your business model. Obviously, many clients will prefer outright ownership to a licensing agreement they have to understand and remember to abide by. Many will also prefer to ensure that they have perpetual, exclusive rights to the work. 

 

The fact that your standard arrangement outside of Upwork is something different than that shows that there are also many clients who are happy to work on a licensing basis. Those clients are your market.

 

 

a189c93a
Active Member
J L Member Since: Feb 4, 2021
15 of 32

Can you send me a link to where it is stated that the client retains the copywrite to the created work? I can't find it in the User Agreement. 

blackteddi
Ace Contributor
Teddi B Member Since: Aug 2, 2015
16 of 32
Hi,

It's such an old post, Upwork may have changed the agreement. Anyway, your
terms and conditions override Upwork's. But it really comes down to what
you and your client agree to.
srifaat
Active Member
Sherif R Member Since: Aug 15, 2019
17 of 32

Hi,

 

I know this is an old thread, but I've just been offered a project
where a client is asking for me to create video course content which I would
like to retain ownership rights to, while giving rights of use to the client as well.
I understand that this needs to be mutually agreed to with the client. Is it enough if I get the clients
consent on Upwork's messenger or do I need to get the client to sign a document agreeing to this?

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Valeria K Community Manager Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
18 of 32

Hi Sherif,

 

Thanks for asking. Different or additional terms can be stated and agreed to on the platform, in Messages.

~ Valeria
Untitled
mrdanielprice
Community Guru
Daniel P Member Since: Aug 15, 2014
19 of 32
Based on what Vlad had said, it sounds as though any private contract overrides Upwork's "default" contract, in the sense that if the client doesn't sign a personal/private contract that the freelancer provided, then they're assumed to have agreed to the terms and condition laid out in Upwork's contract.
blackteddi
Ace Contributor
Teddi B Member Since: Aug 2, 2015
20 of 32

Thanks Daniel.

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