Categories: Thoughts

I just had to warn you about something I just didn’t believe people in my industry did, until I encountered it first hand. First, let me say that I am not a lawyer and what I’m sharing is strictly opinion and not legal advice.

That said, here’s something you need to be aware of in your contract with a web developer or designer. Every contract is different, but when you hire either of the above professional to produce work for you in the form of script or design,  you are not just paying for their service but you are paying for a unique created piece specific for your business.

Graphic design borders a fine line on tangible or not. When it’s on the web, you can see it, but it isn’t something that can be held. Technically, on printed materials like business cards, it does become tangible. In either case, it is a design element that you paid to be created for you and your business, thus making it your property.

In most contracts we’ve seen, and in our own agency, we maintain the rights to all script and design until the project is completed and paid for. When these terms are met, we relinquish all rights to unique elements produced for the client and provide them with all original art files (In Design, Photoshop etc.)

Here’s why this matters. If a designer does not give you the original art work, several problems can happen down the line.

  • They may claim rights to the art, which limits your use or puts you in an intellectual property legal battle.
  • When you need to make changes to the design or expand in another area, you will be forced to use the same designer even if you prefer not to OR you will incur additional expenses to hire another professional to try and recreate the art work.

Simply put in my humble opinion, is that if you pay for a unique creation, it belongs to you and you should have full possession of it and access to it. You wouldn’t hire a culinary consultant to help you create a signature cake for your restaurant only to have them refuse to give you the recipe and insist on delivering cakes to you on demand. That’s ridiculous.

Don’t let the fuzziness of digital property allow someone to contract you out of what is rightfully yours. For maximum security, consult with your attorney.

Unsure or have questions? Ask a PROFITGEEK, we’re happy to help!

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