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Can I give a prospect a cut sample of a previous job on Upwork to see an example of my work?

137c3fc1
Active Member
Amy H Member Since: Nov 27, 2020
11 of 19

Preston, thanks much!

137c3fc1
Active Member
Amy H Member Since: Nov 27, 2020
12 of 19

Will, I am a writer.  The one I am referring to was a heavy edit with a change in tone with humor and conversation, which is what I want to continue to do.  I can cut 2-3 paragraphs without the company name/info seen, showing before and after, and copy onto a Word doc.  In this case, it was just an individual.  I did not sign any non-disclosure.  

 

Amy

feed_my_eyes
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
13 of 19

Amy H wrote:

Will, I am a writer.  The one I am referring to was a heavy edit with a change in tone with humor and conversation, which is what I want to continue to do.  I can cut 2-3 paragraphs without the company name/info seen, showing before and after, and copy onto a Word doc.  In this case, it was just an individual.  I did not sign any non-disclosure.  

 

Amy


Even if you didn't sign a non-disclosure, if the client paid for your work then they own it now, so you always need to ask whether you can use it as a sample or as part of your portfolio. (And if you did sign a non-disclosure, then don't even ask if you can use it.)

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
14 of 19

What was the end use of the text you wrote, Amy?

 

Love letter?

Complaint to customer service?

Advertising copy to use in a national ad campaign?

Ghost-written novel or Broadway play?

Other?

 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
15 of 19

Amy H wrote:

  I did not sign any non-disclosure.  


Unless you have an agreement with the client to the contrary, once the work is paid for, the client owns all rights and you are not allowed to use it. 

 

Whether you signed a non-disclosure or not is irrelevant in this context. The default terms (which apply if you don't have any agreement to the contrary) apply. 

feed_my_eyes
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
16 of 19

Will L wrote:

Amy,

 

The answer to your question is not as clearcut "yes" or "no" as others here would have you believe.

 


If you try to add an item from a previous Upwork project to your portfolio, Upwork themselves will contact the client and ask their permission for its use. If the client refuses, then the freelancer can't use it. So I'd say that it's pretty clearcut.

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
17 of 19

How, Christine, does Upwork check - or know whether they need to check - with all 300+ of my previous Upwork clients to confirm that none of my work samples were from those clients' projects?

 

That sounds like it would be a very cumbersome process for each time any of Upwork's 10s of thousands of freelancers add each new work sample to their portfolios.

feed_my_eyes
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
18 of 19

Will L wrote:

How, Christine, does Upwork check - or know whether they need to check - with all 300+ of my previous Upwork clients to confirm that none of my work samples were from those clients' projects?

 

That sounds like it would be a very cumbersome process for each time any of Upwork's 10s of thousands of freelancers add each new work sample to their portfolios.


If you check off the box that says a portfolio piece was for an Upwork client, then Upwork does email the client to ask approval; it's automated, so probably not that cumbersome. But sure, it's an optional step and probably the client won't find out that you used the piece without telling them. That doesn't alter my point - the client owns the work and they can deny you permission to use it. I've never come across another freelancer who thinks that it isn't a good business practice to check with them first. Anyway, you go ahead and keep asking the OP for the exact circumstances of what she wrote and whether you think that she needs permission or not; meanwhile, she could have just emailed her client by now.

 

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
19 of 19

Amy H.,

 

Contrary to what you've heard from others here, there is such a thing as limited but not precisely defined "fair use" of materials owned by other individuals:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

 

If you are located outside the US, different rules may apply.

 

If it's important enough to you, ask a qualified lawyer. 

 

Good luck!

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