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Protecting from unauthorized use by a school, when parent's hired me for the work?

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  • Protecting from unauthorized use by a school, when parent's hired me for the work?

    Hey all,

    I searched for any article like this, however found none. I'm figuring that is because of the strange nature of this project.

    I was approached by one of the parent's (whom I know), to design a new logo for an arts program at their high school, which is a public school. The current design was not what any of them wanted and they were looking for something more polished. The intention is to use on hats, t-shirts, decals, the arts program website, etc. & ONLY for the arts program. The school is not the client here, the parent's are. I can foresee the school possibly taking the design and using it for other projects. I've already decided that the design is not allowed to be used on the website, as this would give the school to much ownership, that they don't have. Basically, I'm selling the use of the design at a lower cost due to the parent paying out of pocket themselves. This would be a non-issue if I was selling it directly to the school.

    So, how do I protect the design from the school taking it or using it with out paying(permission)?

    Thanks everyone in advance for the input.


  • #2
    What does your contract spell out on the usage of the logo?
    Logos, generally speaking are the one form of ''art'' that usually becomes the property of the client on completion to do with as they please. They should be able to put it on a website or the south end of a northbound mule if they like.

    I'm not quite sure of the dynamic where the parents can foist their own logo onto a public school art program, but if the logo represents the public school art program, then most definitely the school should be able to use said logo to represent the program in all forms, including the web.

    But if your contract said only the parents can use it, I suppose you can try to limit it. What if the parents want the school to use it?
    Something to consider though, is how much do you value the business you have in this locality and how much good will, or ill, you can generate by standing on some pretty odd logo terms.

    You don't own someone else's logo. The cost of the turning over the rights should be factored into the cost. Discounts are up to you.
    As a designer, your art is a commodity to be sold.
    Think on it some......
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 12-18-2017, 07:22 AM.


    • #3
      Hi Greyosprey and welcome to GDF.

      I agree with PD. Once you hand off a completed logo to a client, they own it and can do whatever they want with it.

      We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
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      • #4
        PrintDriver/ KitchWitch

        Agreed, this is a strange situation. From my understanding the school doesn't care and basically told the parent's to do it themselves.

        I have only ever sold my work to the end user, never a "in between", like this. So, I have never needed a contract per se because the client can do with it as they please.

        PrintDriver, your advise to think on it some more was good. I feel this is the case here, that I should treat the parent's as the end user and it's up to them to deal with the school, if necessary. I think this is a matter of "being ok" with charging less than I would if it was the school, since I'm helping out the parent I know.


        • #5
          So, it sounds like you're primarily upset that you gave the parent a discount you would not have given the school, but now the school is using the work. Unless you're going to tell each client that you expect them to use your work personally, I don't see how to avoid that, besides charging everyone equally.
          Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.


          • #6

            The cost really isn't the primary issue. It is more of the situation, and I could see it happening in the future. It is more the oddity of dealing with someone that is truly not the end user.

            Let me pose this another way... A hair salon rents a chair as space to a Hair Stylist. The Hair Stylist technically is an independent contractor. However, the salon requires them to have business cards made that say the name of the business as well as a logo design. Now the Salon does NOT provide any logo files and does not care if the Stylists has a different logo design done. So the Stylist hires a designer to do the project. Who is the end user, the Stylist or the Salon? What if the Salon likes the new logo design over theirs?

            Maybe it makes since this way a bit more, as this is what got me to thinking how else could a designer be put into a similar situation.

            Do you treat the Stylist as the end user or do you make the Salon pony up the logo files if they even have them, since it is their requirement.


            • #7
              I do understand what you're saying about the true end-user. In my opinion, however, a logo is a product. Once I create that product and my client pays for it, my part is done and I'm on to the next thing. If the stylist hires me and pays in full for the end product, I don't care what she does with it, and I have no voice in what she does with it.
              Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.


              • #8
                Originally posted by GreyOsprey View Post
                Do you treat the Stylist as the end user or do you make the Salon pony up the logo files if they even have them, since it is their requirement.
                I'm in agreement with both KitchWitch and PrintDriver. Your ownership and involvement with the logo ended as soon as your client (the parents) paid for it. At that point they were, and still are, free to do with it as they wish since it's now their property. If they want to give it to the school to use, it's their property, and you, as the creator and former owner, have no say in the matter. You sold your say to the parents who paid you money for it. If they give the logo away, revise it, let others use it, use it in weird ways, sell it or have it stolen, it's really none of your concern because it no longer belongs to you.

                A bit of a contradictory tangent is that without a contract signing over the copyright of the logo, the logo still might technically belong to you. In practice, though, it doesn't. And speaking of contracts, if you want to retain the kind of control you seem to want, that needs to be reflected in a contract. However, no client with any sense would agree to someone else retaining rights to their logo.

                In the hypothetical scenario you painted about the hair stylist, the salon and the designer, the dispute would be between the owner of the logo -- the stylist -- and the salon. The designer's relevance to the problem ended upon payment by the stylist.

                Bottom line: what someone does with their bought-and-paid-for logo is their business, not the designer's.






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