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  • Do I own logo ?

    Hi, I have probabably a debateabul issue. 2 Years ago I hired a Canadian designer to create a cartoon figure for my business in Canada. I registered it as a trademark for my business. On the cartoon there is a number. I wish to change the number. We did not sign a contract, however on the invoice it states in typed letters that full ownership and usage rights transfer fom designer to client once amount due is paid. I paid for the work, and it shows this on the invoice. In your opinions can I make changes to the work without consulting designer? she gave me all the working files on cd. Because of what she typed on the invoice, I believe I can do whatever I want with the work. What do you guys think? Bye the way I do not want to go back to this designer, we left on good terms but I want to try someone else. Thanks

  • #2
    You own it now - I think you can change it, but let's see what the others say.
    It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh


    • #3
      Yep. Absolutely. It's all yours.
      David Scott | Cosmic: Graphic Design & Advertising


      • #4
        Well if what you have said is true then you have covered all the bases. If ownership of the logo was relinquised to you then what you do with it is nobody elses businesses. It is generally a big clue that you own the logo when the designer gives you the working files on disc. If I were a designer wanting to retain the rights to a logo I would keep a firm grip on the working files and only give up rasters.
        "If it sells, its art."


        • #5
          Why would a designer keep the rights to a company logo?

          Does that mean that the company has to get permission to use it each and every time?
          It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh


          • #6
            A logo is owned by the company. Any respectable graphic designer/agency may not give full working files, but will give you the logo in all available formats and at least an editable pdf. (at least that's what I do at our company)

            You own the logo. You have the right to make any changes to it that you want.


            • #7
              Originally posted by budafist
              Why would a designer keep the rights to a company logo?

              Does that mean that the company has to get permission to use it each and every time?
              It is unethical budafist but it does happen. Plenty of small businesses find themselves in this situation where they originally hired a designer to make them a logo and say for example they were a coffee shop they asked them to make some menues aswell. 6 months down the line they want a new menu, they aren't happy with their designers quote/ mock-ups so they go to a new designer but alas... they do not have the working files and their original designer won't give them up without a fight. Small businesses get the bad end of the poo-poo stick all too often.
              "If it sells, its art."


              • #8
                Actually, the menus may or may not be released with original files. Depending on contract, illustrations, photos and usage rights.


                • #9
                  Sorry drazen I should have clarified that better. I meant they wanted a completely new menu, the old menu files are not what this make believe small business want, they just want the logo. And just to make this case study work... the logo is so complicated that it can't just be ripped from an existing menu

                  EDIT: Oh and because this make believe business didn't know what they were doing there was no contract. For small projects a lack of contract is not unusual.
                  "If it sells, its art."


                  • #10
                    I don't know about menus and such but when I create a logo it clearly states in the contract that when I am paid in full the client owns all rights to the logo. The only way I would even charge them anything else is if they came back to me for a change. I usually give them a jpg, pdf and the original Illustrator file.
                    How about a chain pickerel in your bath tub?


                    • #11
                      I fail to understand why designers feel the need to hold files so closely. Yes, there is a copyright involved as soon as the piece is created. Giving up the piece at the end of the job does not mean you can't use ideas or elements in a different design. Look at menus in Chinese restaurants, LOL. If there is no contract and a client is paying you hourly and doing the 1099, whatever you come up with in that hour is theirs, no? Sounds like a good argument to me. Work-for-Hire employment works that way...

                      Business owner or Designer, ALWAYS use a contract, even for the small stuff and spell out who gets the working files.


                      • #12
                        This is so confusing to me, lawnpotter, I hope you don't mind me asking some questions:

                        Several peers have told me that when I design a logo I own the right to the logo and it is my choice to transfer copyright. Because many of my customers cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars for a logo, I charge a fair market price and state in the contract the copyright for said logo is available for purchase.

                        Does anyone else do this? Is this bad practice? How do I explain this to a group of business people telling me it's not right? Input is appreciated.


                        • #13
                          You've gotta be kidding, Firebuff! That's a terrible thing to do!

                          We're talking about a company's LOGO here! That is THEIR identity! Why in the world would you want to hold rights to another company's identity?

                          If you don't give them the copyright, you are not providing the service that any normal person would expect when hiring a Visual Identity designer.

                          Keeping copyrights and allowing usage of your designs is for templates, stock imagery, and other such things. A designer should NEVER retain copyrights for any Visual Identity design. If you create an identity for a company (whether logo, marketing scheme, stationary, etc.), and that is what you are being paid to do, then you are not giving the company what they paid for. They paid for an identity for themselves, not to use somebody else's identity!
                          Ned Yeung, A.C.E.


                          • #14
                            This is why I ask. Many of my peers are stating their artwork (whether it a logo or artwork for a t-shirt) is no different from a photographer's photo. The photographer holds onto the copyright of their photos in most cases right? So how is this different?


                            • #15
                              Simple - your design (if it's good design) is a Company's identity. It is for THEM to implement in their own marketing scheme. If it could be used for ANY business (such as a stock photograph), then it certainly wouldn't be a unique identity, would it?

                              *EDIT: You mentioned, "whether a logo or artwork for a t-shirt"... Those are two VERY different things - like polar opposites, in terms of copyrights. You may retain copyrights for a t-shirt design if you choose. I wouldn't suggest it, but it wouldn't be wrong. You may even choose to charge royalties in place of an upfront bill. Retaining copyrights for a logo is a definite no-no. Could you imagine being charged royalties to use your own logo, or being told when and where you are allowed to use it?
                              Last edited by Ned; 05-16-2007, 09:13 PM.
                              Ned Yeung, A.C.E.


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