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  • Scope of my employment?

    Hi all,

    My boss (the owner) just came up here to my office and asked me to design a few concepts for a logo that is not for this company. It is for a non profit (I'm assuming?) foundation they are starting.

    I am on company time, so I am getting paid for this work. That's not the issue....My question is with copyright. I am not for hire by this foundation, and designing for the foundation wouldn't be within the scope of my employment (I am not a personal designer for Boss1 and Boss2. I am an employee of <Company they own>)...would it? Therefore I would retain the copyright to these logos at least enough to not need their permission to use them in a portfolio?

    Thanks...and I hope all is well with everyone
    “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
    -Louisa May Alcott

  • #2
    <<<NOT A LAWYER.

    If you are an employee of the company, they own the rights to all work you do while in their employ. Regardless of whether that work is for another entity/company/non-profit/bosses daughters prom/bosses friends company picnic, etc. etc.

    Regarding scope of employment, as an employee, designing whatever your boss asks you to, is within scope.

    You do not retain the copyright of any thing you design while an employee.

    You also would not retain the copyright for any logo design, even when working as an independent designer.

    In terms of permission to feature in your portfolio, it is up to the discretion of your employer and their clients to permit the work to be featured in an online portfolio.

    This holds true regardless of whether you are an employee or not. However, when an independent, you can include language in your contract that specifies being able to show the work in your portfolio. But that clause would still need to be accepted by your client, negotiated until both parties are satisfied. In other words, they can say no to your clause.

    I am sure others will chime in with their POV. Nice to see you AL, hope you are hanging in there. Stay smiling!
    Sketching not only helps you work out good ideas, it helps you get past the bad ones.

    Comment


    • #3
      <<<Not a lawyer either!!!

      I do believe that this would, for the most part, fall under the fair use guidelines:

      http://copyright.lib.utexas.edu/copypol2.html
      http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
      http://painting.about.com/cs/artists...rightfaq11.htm

      That should get you started any way.

      You could, and likely should, ask the question of your boss at work...there might have to be a legal conversation if your company has that department.
      "Go ahead, make your logos in PS. We charge extra money to redraw your logo into vector art so it can be printed on promotional product. Cha CHING! " - CCericola

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by AlwaysLearning View Post
        Therefore I would retain the copyright to these logos at least enough to not need their permission to use them in a portfolio?
        As others have said, if you were paid to do them by your employer, you don't own them unless you've got an unusual contractual arrangement with them that says something to the contrary. It's really irrelevant that your employer was using your for private, non-business purposes.

        As for asking permission for displaying something in a personal portfolio, I suppose that, technically, you'd need permission — at least to place it on a publicly accessible website. Personally, however, that technicality has never stopped me. I've never asked permission and never run into an issue. I'm sure there are employers or specific jobs where this might be a problem, though.

        Comment


        • #5
          < — wishes she was a lawyer but still isn't. Apparently you can't just get a piece of paper in the mail saying that you're smart enough to make judgement calls. Sad.

          Alright I will reiterate...
          ANYTHING done on a company computer, on company time, at company's request (that you are working for that is not a freelance job that you personally set up) is their property. Let me say this again, if you are working staff for a company and do a job for them (any job doesn't matter what or for who) then the company keeps all copyright to the work. They can even stop you from posting it to an online portfolio or even saying you worked on it.

          There seems to be a misconception around that as designers we retain all the copyrights to our ideas. This is most certainly not true.

          What <b> says is correct about the permissions for displaying as well. Most aren't jerks but sometimes they are. And other times it's because it's an advertising campaign that hasn't been shown to the public yet or otherwise sensitive information. Ie: If I did the training manual for setting off a nuke I would likely not be allowed to display it. Seems fair. It's their information and property that I designed for and really we don't want every jane/joe on the street able to set off an explosive.
          I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not. ~ Kurt Cobain

          Comment


          • #6
            I am the new guy here, but I have been in this situation in the past. The way it was explained to me was that the non-profit company (a legal entity) was the client of firm and the firm was donating the product. The time I was paid for designing was part of that donation. So, the firm didn’t make a profit, they still held the copyright.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by FusaroDesign View Post
              I am the new guy here, but I have been in this situation in the past. The way it was explained to me was that the non-profit company (a legal entity) was the client of firm and the firm was donating the product. The time I was paid for designing was part of that donation. So, the firm didn’t make a profit, they still held the copyright.
              This doesn't really make sense. If the charity doesn't own the copyright, they would be forever in debt to the firm that holds the copyright. That's not really a donation. That's a loan.
              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

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Buda View Post
                This doesn't really make sense. If the charity doesn't own the copyright, they would be forever in debt to the firm that holds the copyright. That's not really a donation. That's a loan.

                The firm and non-profit were owned by the same guy. You are correct the copyright was given to the non-profit at the end of the project. The point was that I still had to ask permission to use the layout in my portfolio legally.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hm....If the firm and the non-profit are owned by the same person, then I guess it's a bit blurry.

                  What if the guy leaves the non-profit, say he gets a new job and can't devote the same amount of time to the non-profit, and passes the whole organisation to someone else. What would the benefit be of him holding onto the copyright for an organisation he is no longer a part of?
                  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

                  Comment

                   
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