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Realistic pricing

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Active Member
Andy D Member Since: Jul 4, 2015
1 of 26

I feel compelled to mention that the pricing for work on this site is absolutley crazy.

 

For a start the TOS state that once a job is paid for, the client owns the rights to the work outright and the designer retains nothing.  In the real world, when someone designs something, they retain the rights to it unless sold on per an agreement. the rights to a logo are most often worth much more than the cost of the design it's self.

 

There are people out there offering 5€ for logo designs and getting them done by naive designers who are trying to get ahead, not realising they are underselling themselves at great detrement to themselves and the industry as a whole.

I have found numerous instances of this throughout the community boards, people asking about who owns the rights to the completed and paid for work, and I feel its important theat everyone who uses this site re reads the TOS and understands what they are getting into.

I understand this is just opinion, now, but I can't help thinking that sites such as this are destroying the industry.

 

 

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 26

re: "For a start the TOS state that once a job is paid for, the client owns the rights to the work outright and the designer retains nothing.  In the real world, when someone designs something..."

 

Don't really know what Andy is talking about. I think he might be thinking about things that don't pertain to this website.

 

Whether in the "real world" or on Upwork, if a client hired a contractor to create something, the client owns the work outright and the designer retains nothing.

 

That's it. This is not a complicated concept.

 

The copyright for all work that you are hired to produce belongs to the client who hired you to produce it.

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John B Member Since: Jul 4, 2015
3 of 26

@Preston H wrote:

 

The copyright for all work that you are hired to produce belongs to the client who hired you to produce it.


 

 

In the real world this just isn't true.

 

Almost every professional designer/developer retains the rights to their work, secured by a design or development contract. In almost all cases (professionally, not on Upwork) there will always be a clause in the contract that the use of said designs or use of code is limited to the project or task at hand.

 

In almost all cases, reproduction or re-use of the designs/code created is prohibited unless expressly provided by the person(s) who developed it. Same goes for photographers, artists, etc. This isn't new.

 

 

 

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Cairenn R Member Since: Jun 25, 2015
4 of 26

John is correct. 

 

As a former Copyright/Trademark Paralegal, I can tell you that you own the rights the moment of creation. 

 

Unless, you sign an NDA and release your rights, especially for payment, the designs, etc. belong to you. You decide who gets them and for what price. Period. 


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Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 26
re: "As a former Copyright/Trademark Paralegal, I can tell you that you own the rights the moment of creation.

Unless, you sign an NDA and release your rights, especially for payment, the designs, etc. belong to you. You decide who gets them and for what price. Period."

What Cairenn says here is 100% accurate. Including the part about UNLESS you sign a document which releases your rights.

Which is what you do every time you accept an Upwork contract. If you read the Upwork contract (Andy and John obviously read it), you'll see that you specifically release all intellectual property rights to the client once they have paid you.
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Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
6 of 26

Preston, you seem to share a common misunderstanding. All other posts to date correctly describe the retention of rights by the creator until payment is made, and the right of the creator to negotiate which rights are being sold and which are not.

 

As Garnor's post underlines, Upwork's ToS honors these principles (even as it by default hews closely to an absolute transfer of rights). The kind of total ownership of creative work you describe, where all rights belong to the payer from the outset, applies only to "work for hire," which under US law applies only under the condition of employment, not to contracts between professional peers.

 

Best,

Michael

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Garnor M Member Since: Oct 29, 2014
7 of 26

Hi Andy,

You may be seeing some jobs that pay lower than you expect, but you'll also find others with higher budgets. You've summarized the ToS around ownership of work correctly. After receiving payment from a client, you as a freelancer are effectively giving over ownership of the work. If you want different terms around this area with your client, you can negotiate this and append your own terms to the contract.

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Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
8 of 26

I think this is a worthwhile discussion.

 

A number of people have mentioned here that when contractors do work on Upwork, the contractor retains ownership UNTIL the client pays for it.

 

This is my undestanding as well. So I am in complete agreement with all of you who pointed that out.

 

I didn't think I needed to point that out, but I'm glad this point is clear.

 

It appears that everyone who has posted on this thread (including Upwork representative GM) is in agreement with what my main point was, which is that when a contractor works for a client on Upwork, all rights to the work that was done belong to the client (once the work has been paid for, obviously).

 

It seems we agree on that.

 

As far as I can tell, everybody ALSO agrees with what I was THINKING of, but did not state clearly (and maybe did not conceptualize clearly): which is that an employee who produces creative work retains no ownership and no copyright of the intellectual property they produce. (Case in point: Who owns the copyright to the Hulk? Marvel Comics. Not Stan Lee, and not Jack Kirby.)

 

I think there are two points of disagreement here:

 

a) whether or not this is the policy that SHOULD be in place on Upwork.

 

b) whether or not this is the commonplace practice outside of Upwork when it comes to contractor-provided work, or whether Upwork's policy is at odds with the most commonly observed practice.

 

With regards to question (b)... is this how copyright/intellectual property ownership is handled in the "real world"... I HAVE NO IDEA. I have worked as an employee and I have worked as a contractor on Upwork, and many years ago I have as an independent contractor who didn't retain any ownership whatsoever over of the graphic design work I produced for my clients. But that summarizes the types of work experience I have. So I can't speak for how things "usually" happen. I have no point of reference to contest the statements that posters to this forum are making saying that Upwork's policy is unusual, because I have not worked in those contexts.

 

As to question (a)... how SHOULD things be on Upwork? My position is that they should be exactly as they are now.

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Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
9 of 26

@Preston H wrote:

 

I think there are two points of disagreement here:

 

a) whether or not this is the policy that SHOULD be in place on Upwork.

 

b) whether or not this is the commonplace practice outside of Upwork when it comes to contractor-provided work, or whether Upwork's policy is at odds with the most commonly observed practice.

 


Preston,

 

What disagreement? Who is claiming Upwork's policy is unusual? By default, it assigns all rights to the buyer upon payment. It is the creator's lookout to reserve or qualify any transfer of rights, and Upwork is perfectly fine with that. I see unanimity on this point on the part of experienced contractors and Upwork management.

 

Best,

Michael

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Community Guru
John B Member Since: Feb 20, 2009
10 of 26

For the last 5 years or so I have seen hundreds of newbies come to forum and complain about low prices/budgets.

 

I find that most average people just open there mouth and speak without thinking and researching first.

 

Andy D posts his first post but really should have looked around at some of the other contractors profiles first.

 

There may be some low prices, but there is also a huge amount of opportunity on a global scale.  

 

One of my first jobs was at $5.56 per hour, I was so happy to be able to work from home doing something that I love.

 

I've moved up since then...it's called zero to HERO!

 

 

 

 

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