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  • Transferring native files to clients

    I searched a few threads on this, but am still kind of unsure on the legalities of this.

    What if you were to submit native files to the client, then who owns the copyright? Say if someone were to submit a poster design and the client is to apply their own text themselves, the copyright still belongs to the designer, yes? I know it really depends on the contract, but let's assume there was no contract.

    I'm not in any situation, I'm just curious about this (actually a discussion in another forum I'm on...I'm suggesting that the artwork should be submitted flattened and the type from the customer would be applied above it, but someone else thinks it should be editable still).

  • #2
    flattened finished files are the norm to send to a client - with a contract that states the usage.

    Else if you just hand over the files to the client, they assume that they can do anything they want with them. Reproduce for t-shirts\merchandice as well as used for any thing that they want printed - ever. So the original designer is screwed.

    Also consider that if the design includes a photo or design image that does have usage specific restrictions on it - the designer hands over the files and the client makes changes that is against the original usage agreement. Who is going to be liable for that?

    The only time that I give editble work back is if it is specified for me to do so. This is usually a project that such as a catalog that has been "owned" by the client and we are just making changes. (at least for me that is the only instance the client referred to active files.)

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    • #3
      K, I wasn't sure. I thought it was sort of automatic, just a bigger pain in the butt to handle in court.

      It was annoying though because the guy didn't seem phased at all that it is at least unethical, despite it not being illegal.

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      • #4
        At my work we give clients native files if they ask for them. Mind you, I work at a printing company. Bosses here don't care about legalities of copyright. Design isn't as highly rated here as it might at a design company.

        If I supplied artwork flattened, they would ask for it to be editable.
        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

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        • #5
          Transferring native files has nothing to do with copyright! Copyright is on intellectual property, not on files!

          Whatever you contract says about transferrance of copyright, that's what it is. If it says copyright is granted on final payment, then that's when it's granted. Assuming there was no contract, then there's no way the client can legally claim rights to the intellectual property in any way, when it comes down to it. Your copyrights are inherent, theirs should be spelled out on paper.

          All the same, I generally only send EPS, PDF, or TIFF files to the client, depending on the type of work. As well as web-sized files if they need 'em.
          Last edited by Ned; 04-22-2007, 06:44 PM.
          Ned Yeung, A.C.E.
          mediamainline.com
          cyclopsphoto.ca

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          • #6
            It's just like owning an original painting does not grant you copyright to that painting. The artist (designer) retains copyright unless they surrender it to someone else in writing.
            Light a man a fire and he will be warm for a short while. Light a man afire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

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            • #7
              How about a logo? Design is certainly different than paintings.

              I'm sure that my clients would not be pleased letting them know that I will charge them for breach of copyright every time they use the logo I created.
              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

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              • #8
                Copyright and ownership should be transferred to the client in writing every time a logo is created. If it's not, then it's negligence on the designer's part. Of course, the designer is the only one who can revoke that copyright if it's not in writing, so does it really matter if it's not?
                Ned Yeung, A.C.E.
                mediamainline.com
                cyclopsphoto.ca

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                • #9
                  It certainly does matter. What if a designer realises this and revokes the copyright for all logos ever created with no contracts just out of pure spite?
                  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

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by budafist
                    It certainly does matter. What if a designer realises this and revokes the copyright for all logos ever created with no contracts just out of pure spite?


                    I would hate to see that happen! I think that would be an inhumane thing to do.

                    But... People have to know their rights, before they enter into any contract. You should know if you're hiring a logo designer, to ask for copyright in writing. If you don't, it's really your own fault, but I would expect any professional designer would not take advantage of that!
                    Ned Yeung, A.C.E.
                    mediamainline.com
                    cyclopsphoto.ca

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                    • #11
                      No I don't think it would happen, just bringing out an "in theory" situation.

                      What a stirrer...
                      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

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