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Realistic pricing

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

re: "One of my first jobs was at $5.56 per hour... I've moved up since then"

 

John is being modest. His posted rate on his public profile is $125/hour (and his clients probably save money on their projects by hiring him rather than some wannabe, and they are getting the better end of the deal).

 

So if some people don't agree with a blanket statement about Upwork's pricing being too "low" or "unrealistic," that's why.

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

re: "There are people out there offering 5€ for logo designs"

 

There many contractors offering 5€ logo designs who should really be getting about half that, based on the quality of their work.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
13 of 26
re: "What disagreement?"

Michael, my understanding of original thread poster Andy's post, and the posts written by John and Cairenn, is that they think Upwork's policy is not the normal way ownership rights and/or copyright work outside of Upwork.

I think all three of them are mistakenly interpolating copyright law (which they understand correctly, as do I) with a specific application as it pertains to Upwork, and they perhaps think that Upwork or myself or both of us are confused about copyright law. Which we are not.

But I can't speak for any of them. I think they have made good points and I would welcome further comments or clarification.

If you are a contractor doing work on Upwork, then you do indeed own all rights to your work until the client pays you for the work. Then the client owns all rights. That is how a fixed-price contract works.

For an hourly rate contract, the client owns all rights to the work. Writing an article while logging hourly time? You have no copyright claim over anything your write while on the client's time. If you type a comma, that comma belongs to the client and they can do whatever they want with it.

Writing a computer program on an hourly contract? All of the source code belongs to the client. To do whatever they want with.

In practice, is a typical Upwork client going to exercise all rights to that code, such as selling it or preventing you from using it elsewhere? No, typically they won't do that.

But these are the default agreements in Upwork's ToS, and the default positions of the contracts that we as contractors enter into when we accept Upwork contracts. These aren't things we talk about very often. But these are the actual agreements we work under all the time.

Which is fine. I think this works fine for millions of contractor/client relationships. Very few people are complaining about these arrangements. (Note that for many contracts, these considerations have little or no practical meaning. Not likely to be an issue for a customer service representative. Or for somebody who installs a fresh MondoDB database installation on your server. Or proofreads your quarterly report to check for grammatical errors.)

Andy and John both seem to clearly understand that this (paid client owns all rights) is how Upwork's policy works, and they both disagree with Upwork's choice to use this standard policy. Upwork moderator GM said that contractors are welcome to modify the standard contract and enter into an agreement with their client which suits them better. In all honesty, if the clients who Andy and John work for are typical of most Upwork clients, then they probably don't care either way about all this. They just want to get their websites working.

On the other hand, there are clients who very intentionally hire contractors to produce intellectual property which they (the clients) plan to license elsewhere and actively exercise rights over in more extensive ways, and clients such as that are more likely to utilize additional contracts with contractors which spell out their intent.

So, as far as I can tell, everybody CAN get what they want.

But getting exactly what you want may require using additional contracts beyond the standard TOS.
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Community Guru
Tony H Member Since: Nov 10, 2011
14 of 26

Tony? is not part of this conversation Smiley Wink

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
15 of 26
re: Tony
Whoops. => Andy
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Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
16 of 26

Thanks, Preston!

 

I vitrually never work hourly contracts, and am unfamiliar with their strictures, particularly on Upwork (vs. Elance).

 

Are not Upwork's provisions for ownership of work produced on hourly jobs, as you describe them, at odds with US copyright law with respect to work for hire, where I understand the bright shining line is employment?

 

In extensive discussions of ownership of intellectual property on Elance, the question of payment method has never come up. I am surprised to hear that Upwork believes it to be relevant.

 

Thanks,

Michael

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
17 of 26
Michael, thank you for asking.

In answer to your question, no, Upwork policy is not at adds with U.S. Copyright law. Employment IS NOT a bright shining line.

U.S. Copyright law clearly stipulates that clients, not contractors, hold the copyright to work which was "work for hire", and that includes all work done by employees on the clock AS WELL AS work which which was commissioned by a client (in other words, the client hired somebody including a contractor or freelancer to do the work), AND for which there is a written agreement that the work belongs to the client (this is the Upwork TOS document governing all work done on the platform) AND the work falls within one of nine specific categories which most Upwork jobs fall into, including a contribution to a collective work, such as a website.

Copyright can also be negotiated to belong to the client through specific contracts even if the work does not fall into the nine categories.

In short, if a client hires a contractor to create a logo for his website or business, the copyright automatically belongs to the client, both according to U.S. Copyright law and according to Upwork policy. (As long as the client paid the contractor.)
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Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
18 of 26

Preston H wrote (with my italics added):

U.S. Copyright law clearly stipulates that clients, not contractors, hold the copyright to work which was "work for hire", and that includes all work done by employees on the clock AS WELL AS work which which was commissioned by a client (in other words, the client hired somebody including a contractor or freelancer to do the work), AND for which there is a written agreement that the work belongs to the client (this is the Upwork TOS document governing all work done on the platform) AND the work falls within one of nine specific categories which most Upwork jobs fall into, including a contribution to a collective work, such as a website....

In short, if a client hires a contractor to create a logo for his website or business, the copyright automatically belongs to the client, both according to U.S. Copyright law and according to Upwork policy. (As long as the client paid the contractor.)

Thanks, Preston!

 

I have invoked the provision you mention in another forum to another creator who claimed absolute ownership; he had discounted his very use of the platform as having entered into such a written agreement.

 

Where we differ is in what seems to me a fatalistic acceptance of Upwork terms, which do not "govern" work done on the platform in the face of superseding contracts between buyer and seller—as Garnor has confirmed in this thread and elsewhere. There is only an "in short" if providers short-circuit their own interests by accepting the default terms without negotiation. In your instance of a logo, a buyer might be less likely to give ground. For written work, a professional provider is likely to be at least as knowledgeable as the best clients about:

  • customary contract arrangements limiting transfer of rights
  • moral rights such as paternity
  • traditional courtesies extended to creators by publishers even when copyright transfer is total.

We are likely to be much more knowledgeable about such matters than a neophyte (web) "publisher." This gives considerable scope for negotiation.

 

I cannot speak to the situation for, say, programmers or designers; again, discussions on Elance have suggested that providers there often exercise limitations on copyright transfer. Elance itself has proposed issuing revocable licenses in the light of the new (on Elance) waiting period for collection of funds after "release" of escrow.

 

Best,

Michael

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Community Guru
Robert James R Member Since: Apr 17, 2015
19 of 26

As far as realistic pricing is concerned, I always bid according to the type of expertise required.

 

I have a price for entry, intermediate, and expert. I never go below my entry level as I know many will definitely do way lower than mine. I try to keep the average hourly rate higher by not bidding lower. Most contractors in my category (writing) often get the job at around $3-5 per hour or perhaps $10 per 1000 words.

 

Clients in my category rarely pay for the skill, often citing during job posts or interviews "how much per 100 words? how long does it take you to write 500 words?", and the occasional and extremely annoying "I'll only pay you 0.01 (or lower) per word so 100 words is $1" 

 

These type of clients are either cheap or thinks writing is easy enough to pay $5 per hour for, regardless of skill level or the type of expertise required. In fact, I think some of them think UpWork is "Cheap Work" or perhaps the older clients who pay $1 per hour thought oDesk is "Low Desk".

 

But who can blame them? Contractors here price themselves at or near minimum. I barely get any job at my expert range, I sometimes get interviewed with my intermediate bids, and I often get hired at my entry level price. To date, Half of my clients who chose to stay with me for more than 3 months are at my entry level price. 

 

Mind you, my entry level price is easily double the usual bids and I'm always hoping that my higher price would make me much more attractive to clients than be used as a means to filter me out.

 

As for the rights to any work, I always give ownership to my clients by default as I was paid to write them. This is similar to back when I was still a full time food scientist.

 

I developed A LOT of major selling products for all the companies I worked with. Most took me more than 6 months to launch/complete but I never got so much as a pat on the back for them because it was my job to produce the said products. They paid for the ingredients, the chemicals, the tests, the panelists, the machines used, and a whole lot of other expenses.

 

This is why my only claim on the products are the fact that my name is written on all research and government documents. If a new food scientist reformulates my products, they can easily remove my name without my permission. I'm not sure if the same rules apply for the art and design category or if you design as a solo-freelancer and not an UpWork freelancer.

 

Going back, if they don't pay me or if I did a test sample they didn't pay for, I'll just post it on my blog. This is why I only do test samples for the health and fitness niche as my blog revolves around it.

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Ace Contributor
Paul M Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
20 of 26

@Robert James R wrote:

If a new food scientist reformulates my products, they can easily remove my name without my permission. I'm not sure if the same rules apply for the art and design category or if you design as a solo-freelancer and not an UpWork freelancer.



Unless things have changed in recent years, under UK law at least, if a derivative work of any kind is produced, and the content of that derivation allows the original work to still be identified, then the original creator has a claim on the derivation and all profits accumulated from it unless agreed otherwise.

 

It doesn't matter how much work the second creator may have put into it, he risks surrendering all rights to the original creator if he hasn't obtained permission or purchased the relevant rights. I suspect the US may have similar laws, given the number of lawsuits in the music industry around sampled/stolen work.

 

 

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