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Dealing with graphic artist


#1

Hello Everybody!

I have a legal question for you today. I am having a graphic artist
make my my logo and business card. The agreement to do the work is
pretty straight forward but it fails to mention the rights to the
artwork that I am going to commision her to do. Any advice on this?

Thanks
Rodney


#2

Rodney -

Before you contact her, decide if you are ever going to expand your
logo useage, such as on TV, make DVDs, make a stamp of it for your
quality mark, etc. If she has not relinquished full rights to you,
then she still owns the copyright on the designs. This doesn’t mean
she will prevent you from using them as agreed (business signs,
business cards), but she may be owed additional design fees if you
use it in novel ways (your logo becomes the basis of a jewelry
design).

One good reason for a graphid designer to not give up their
copyright is to be able to present it in their portfolio as THEIR
work. I knew a woman who worked for Coke and designed a lot of their
late 1990’s logos…she could not publicly claim any of the work was
hers because it all belonged to Coke (she had been their employee).

Clarify with your artist the scope that both you and she understannd
this work to have, and whether or not she expects to maintain the
copyright benefits to it. (Note to you: if this is ‘work for hire’,
the contract should say so, and it would cost more than if she
retains the rights to her designs.)

Better is available at the Graphic Artists’ Guild. They
are online; very often their professional handbook can be found at
larger booksellers, or used copies online. It will make your head
spin, but it very specifically addressed artist ethics, work for
hire, copyright, fair useage, etc.

Good luck!
Kelley Dragon


#3

I would say that once they create it for you, it’s ALL yours. You
should have all rights to it.

Michael
www.radharcknives.com


#4

Hi Rodney

If you pay for the work you own the work and the right to use it
however you wish. The designer has the right to use it as an example
of the work they can produce.

No different to someone asking you to design a piece of jewellery
for them. Once they pay for it they own it.

It is good to get this understanding in writing however.

Simone


#5

Hi Rodney,

Why don’t you just talk to her about it? Seems like the right thing
to do. So many problems and misunderstandings that people have with
other businesses and people can be so easily avoided with nothing
more than a simple conversation.

Dave Phelps


#6

Rodney,

The rights to the artwork definitely needs to be clearly defined in
the agreement. It would be wise to bring this up to her in a “matter
of fact” way. She may or may not charge an extra fee for these
rights. I would think it would be better to do this than to use it
and be sued.

Agreement should read something like…The artwork shall be the
property of the client, your name, and the designer shall provide
artwork in the appropriate file formats…

I have also seen a simple line at the bottom of an invoice that
states, “All rights granted”

Good Luck,
Aimee Domash


#7
I have a legal question for you today. I am having a graphic
artist make my my logo and business card. The agreement to do the
work is pretty straight forward but it fails to mention the rights
to the artwork that I am going to commision her to do. Any advice
on this? 

Modify the agreement. If you don’t, all rights belong to the artist.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#8
No different to someone asking you to design a piece of jewellery
for them. Once they pay for it they own it.

Not really the same at all. A logo, by its very nature, is useless
if you do not have the right to reproduce it. If someone buys a ring
from you, is it their right to turn out copies of it? Of course not.

On the other hand, if they bought the design and the rights, then
they can reproduce it. So in that sense they are the same. That is,
what you buy, you own, what you don’t buy, you don’t own. So it is
important to specify in a written contract exactly what is and is not
being purchased. Everything is negotiable.

Noel


#9

I believe this comes under the heading of work for hire. You will
own the rights. I would get it in writing, though. If the graphics
artist balks, find someone else.

RM


#10

OMG, I have went through this and now my site name is being
jeopordized as well, by the logo persons friend, all friendly
recommendations. Keep your receipts for one, would registar the logo
under a trademark right away


#11

Rodney,

In a nutshell, if you contract someone to create something for you
then you retain the copyright. However, it is best that you spell
this out in the contract so that there can be no confusion about it
later. Again, standard disclaimers apply. You should consult a
competent attorney in your area and get any assistance you need.

However, if you want to understand a little more about the issue,
this is a good read,

As is this two part article.

http://www.publaw.com/work1.html
http://www.publaw.com/work2.html

All the best,
Frank


#12

Rodney,

you need a written agreement that the work product belongs to you and
that you can use it for your business purposes. I’m not an attorney
but I think you should spell out that you are paying for the design
service and that the logo and any other work designed belongs
exclusively to you.

Pat Gebes


#13

Wow that was lots of good The issues here get a little
more complex. I will ask all the questions of my designer once I know
I am asking the right questions. Like additional uses of the logo as
pointed out by Kelly. I am in the US and my designer is in South
Africa. So how that becomes applicable to US copyright laws is a
whole other issue.

I ended up with this designer because I have a friend that is also a
South African and this designer did her logo, cards and website. But
my friend did not ask any of these questions. I am a few years older
than my friend and have been around the block a few more times. So
anyway everything for her stuff looked awesome and the artist was
very quick. Everything looked very professional. I have no belief
that the artist will do me wrong but history tells me to do the
proper steps and protect myself.

This is sort of a global project. Currently the graphic artist will
be making my logo, business card design, letterhead and email banner.
I will be working with her to develop my website as well as my
packaging and any other company graphics needed.

Any more input is always appreciated.

Thanks
Rodney


#14

Hi Rodney,

You need to state that the design and all usage rights will be
exclusively yours, and it should be in writing. It is up to the
designer to charge accordingly. Generally, design houses will figure
in the extent of the usage and financial size of the client when
bidding a job because there is so much more to attend to, and each
usage and right is costed Since I don’t know the size of your
company or your designer, an excellent source of graphic design
industry standard is the Pricing and Ethical Guidelines of the
Graphic Artists Guild. You can find the book at most larger
bookstores such as Borders or Amazon.

Good Luck,
Valerie


#15

Just add a line item into the receipt for work that all images are
copyright Your business name and released to you. If you do
something creative for someone else as an employe and are being
compensated for the work- intellectual rights are the property of
the commissioning company/employer.

-Be fair though- preface the copyright clause with a Right to show
clause so the artist can use the design in his/her portfolio.

-As long as the receipt and invoice have the clausing- and it is
signed by both parties- it shows that at the time the money was
exchanged for works rendered- that both parties were knowledgable and
agreeable to said clausing. (The law looks for compensation for work
and agreed upon terms- the receipt proves it all in one swoop without
redundancy)

-BUT- consult a lawyer. My.02

KDuncan


#16
Once they pay for it they own it. 

Not really the same at all. A logo, by its very nature, is useless
if you do not have the right to reproduce it.

Noel clairifies what has been done before on Orchid, too. Yes, it IS
the same, but everyone needs to understand what “Same” is. When you
buy a ring, you own it but you don’t own the rights. A true analogy
would be that you buy the logo and you own it - the single piece of
paper that the artist gives you. Rights are an entirely different
matter.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#17

If someone approached me to design a logo in jewellery form they
would own the logo after they paid me was my point. They would also
have exclusive rights to their logo and I would have only the right
to use it to showcase my work.

…and again all understandings in words, signed and dated is
always a good thing.

Simone


#18
In a nutshell, if you contract someone to create something for you
then you retain the copyright. 

Not so. Haven’t we had this discussion before? Unless the designer
is a bona fide employee, and you give them a W-2 at the end of the
year and pay all the payroll taxes and such, the copyright is
theirs. It is not a “work for hire” just because you paid for it.

Get the copyright assignment in writing. Expect to pay extra.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#19

Orchidians,

A friend of mine had an argument with a well known Boston
photographer who insisted that his photo of her award winning gold
jewelry was his property. All her friends now avoid this
photographer.

The statement below “artwork shall be the property of the client,
your name,” can be used with photographers also.

Mary A


#20

Hi Rodney,

I’m not a lawyer, but I have worked as a graphic artist for 25
years. I’ve always considered work I’ve done for clients to be theirs
to use however they like. If you feel uncertain, you might draw up a
statement of understanding specifying that you may use the logo for
business cars, stationery, posters, website logo, t-shirts, and any
other way in which you advertise yourself and identify your work as
your own (i.e., a stamp for your jewelry).

I would hope you can trust your artist not to try to prevent you
from using your logo as you wish.

Dale