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Copyright

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Active Member
Louise W Member Since: Nov 2, 2015
1 of 38

 

I've been reading through the message board and I'm still a bit confused about something.

 

On Upwork, does copyright automatically move to the client after work has been completed, meaning they own the rights and the freelancer is not permitted to use the materials elsewhre, or on the website, for example? 

 

 

I'm in the UK and I always thought that copyright remained with the freelancer unless a special agreement had taken place (which on Upwork might mean by default via the TOCs). For example, for my work off of Upwork, I use a contract which means I still hold copyright to the work and I define the parameters in which the work can be used or modified, unless I express otherwise - all of which will be agreed up front.

 

Is this contract pointless to use on Upwork if Upwork's TOCs will override it? I find this a bit worrying, particularly with regard to illustration where licensing rights are quite often where the money is made. 

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
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2 of 38

Louise, the copyright belongs to the client who pays for the work. This is the expectation that clients have and this is spelled out in Upwork's ToS, which is the contract you are agreeing to every time you agree to an Upwork contract between a client and a contractor.

 

If you want to modify that agreement, Upwork allows you to do so, but that is something you would have to arrange with the client.

View solution in original post

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Louise W Member Since: Nov 2, 2015
3 of 38

Thanks for your replies. This mainly applies for illustration work as I have specific terms for this - if a client chooses to go with another freelancer who doesn't impose restrictions, that's of course their call.

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Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 38

I just snuck a peek at your portfolio... Beautiful, I love your work!

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Louise W Member Since: Nov 2, 2015
5 of 38

Thank you, Petra! Smiley Happy

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Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
6 of 38

Louise,

 

Good for you! Stick to your terms. It's best, of course, to have them in a set form (as you do) and raise them during negotiation. They can in theory be incorporated by reference or text inclusion in your "contract." Unfortunately, Upwork is mushy about what constitutes a contract, so you may want to go for a separately signed agreement.

 

Best,

Michael

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Kaj Magnus L Member Since: Jan 4, 2016
7 of 38

Hi Preston, I think I found the text in the User Agreement that concerns who-gets-to-own-the-copyright. Namely on this page:

 

https://www.upwork.com/legal/

 

the section "Ownership of Work Product and Intellectual Property".

 

But I want to ask: Is this what you had in mind? Or were you thinking about some other contract or other section?

 

Re this: "If you want to modify that agreement, Upwork allows you to do so" — how does one do that? (I'm a client right now, but still feels like good to know.)

 

Best regards, KajMagnus

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Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
8 of 38

KajMagnus,

You create a contract specifying the terms you want, and record the agreement of both parties, preferably on Upwork. Contractors have been instructed repeatedly in the fora by Upwork staff that contracts between clients and contractors can take precedence over the default contract.

For form's sake, you include a supersession clause, as Upwork does in its default contract. A supersession clause is boilerplate, and the primacy of one over the other can only be determined in—heaven forfend!—a court of law. Meanwhile, you have not agreed by omission that Upwork's supersession clause is binding. 


Best,
Michael

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Vincent B Member Since: Apr 6, 2020
9 of 38

Hello KajMagnus,

 

I just read your reply. I am not sure wether you will see this message as yours is dated 2016 ;-).
I haven't found the section "Ownership of Work Product and Intellectual Property"

Were user agreement changed?

 

Best regards,

 

Vincent

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Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
10 of 38

Vincent B wrote:

Hello KajMagnus,

 

I just read your reply. I am not sure wether you will see this message as yours is dated 2016 ;-).
I haven't found the section "Ownership of Work Product and Intellectual Property"

Were user agreement changed?

 

Best regards,

 

Vincent


You can now find it under 6.4 OWNERSHIP OF WORK PRODUCT AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY 

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