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Discussion in 'Logo Design & Brand Identity Forum:' started by Brittany, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. Brittany

    Brittany New Member

    I recently sketched a drawing for a logo and had a friend someone recreate it digitally. It's my concept, but he just made it a little bit fancier. I was wondering what kind of contract is needed? Would it be right for him to own the rights or do I own the rights since I basically designed 90% of it lol. I think I just like the idea of knowing that I came up with such a great idea, but his skill made it happen for me. Is it possible to share rights? I just need understanding on how this works.
  2. bonsdes

    bonsdes Member

    If you hired him as a sub contractor to digitise your logo and add design refinements then once you've paid him you should be the copyright owner….however
    you should firstly put a brief in writing explaining what you need doing, get his quote & agree the fee….you can always draft up your own terms & conditions which
    he must agree to before doing the work. This would clarify that any work done for you will become yours (copyright-wise) once you've paid him.
    In commercial terms, when I do design work for a client and they pay me for that work hey take over the copyright…providing the cheque doesn't bounce!!
    If I design something as a speculative piece and send it to a potential client I make sure I have copyright statements on the designs…in some cases I blind copy
    an email to my accountant as a bit of extra proof incase the prospective client doesn't want to hire me but steals any ideas.
  3. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Whoever paid you to create the logo is the copyright holder. Not you. Not any subcontractor.
  4. Wardy

    Wardy Well-Known Member

    Last time I heard, the creator of a work owns the copyright (unless you created it while employed by a company), even if it's a sketch.
    If you sell the logo to a client, you still own copyright, but you can sell the copyright, and all rights to the image, to them for an extra fee.
  5. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    I think @Wardy is right on this one (unless you're an employee).

    As the creator, you own the rights.
    When I send my invoice I tend to include a transfer of rights to the design to the client on receipt of full payment.
  6. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member


    If you sketch something on a napkin on your own time - then that's your copyright.

    If you create something as part of your employment it's the companies that you work for.

    If it's for a client - then you hold the copyright until it's paid for.
    scotty likes this.
  7. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    As a bit of a off topic, legal add.

    Unless you have a "designs and Inventions" clause in your contract, it can be a little less solid.

    Jus' sayin' like. ;)
  8. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    So.... Say a florist hires a designer to do her branding and sends the designer a rough sketch of what she wants the company logo to look like. After a few concepts the designer presents her with a logo that closely resembles that sketch, who owns the copyright? Is it the florist becuase she did the sketch or the designer because he digitised it?

    p.s. I know I'm making a few gender assumptions about florists and designers but hey ho its my imaginary scenario so there! lol
  9. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    The florist would.

    All importance of a clear contract.
  10. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Only if that's part of the contract the client is paying for... you can in a way do, I've forgotten the term, an allowed usage type contract where you can give them unlimited use of design for say websites for the fee they're paying but that fee (made clear in contract) doesn't include usage on letterheads etc for example without additional fees. Also they client doesn't get the work files unless part of contract either, they ONLY get what is in contract. (in my case imagery/video but no cad files and they can use supplied files however they like)

    Is that the way everyone works, no but it is something I've seen done before.
  11. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    A work is protected automatically from the time it is first written down or recorded in some way, provided that it has resulted from the creator’s skill and effort and is not simply copied from another work.

    Ergo if someone gives you even a brief of an idea in writing...then the copyright is theres. That's the law.

    Any contract that breaches the law would be null.

    If someone asked to create a logo for a barber shop with stripey pole red white with name in a circle with two scissors to make a smiley face...and you sent a contract saying you own the copyright ....well you wouldn't ...they would.

    Whatever about handing over source file and other material. Perhaps even detailed sketches that you did.

    But the logo copyright remains with the original author. Whether it's in writing or in picture form.
  12. Simon Rayson

    Simon Rayson Member

    Please see the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 for full details,

    in most cases copyright last for 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last remaining author of the work dies.

    crown copyright is for 125 years

    if you are employed and asked to undertake work then your employer owns the copyright

    freelance work you as the designer retains copyright unless written into your contact.

    You can however retain the right to display the work for advertising means.

    However with a none disclosure agreement you can not even do this in most cases.
  13. Simon Rayson

    Simon Rayson Member

    if you hire a photographer, they retain the copyright but they can grant you permission to reproduce the works. (this is regular with Wedding photographers)
  14. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Last time I checked - that's different, the client owns the idea, the designer still owns copyright of the produced work. Again it falls down to the contract but in this instance you're being hired to 'draw' their idea so you'd give them the finished design to do as they want.

    My reference, should have been more clear in hindsight, was more along the traditional client giving a brief like I work for x, doing y and I need a logo, design one for me etc. In this case you create the idea and the artwork so have full control over copyright and how the client uses it. As always it would be sorted out via the contract but it does give the option to give them a limited use scenario for £x instead of full ownership for £x times 100 say. It can be something that is beneficial to small new companies just starting out and only need it for limited uses.
  15. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    I guess this is why "Copyright Lawyers" exist?
  16. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    No Levi unless you come up with an idea outside the original idea.

    If they want a fairy holding a candle. And you come up with a tooth shaped fairy... then you hold the copyright.

    However, if you come up with a better fairy and a nicer candle then the copyright belongs with the client.

    If a client wants dog logo and isn't very specific and you draw a dog chasing a stick with fire and shit then you hold the copyright .

    If however a client wants a logo with a dog chasing a stick and fire then the client owns the copyright.
  17. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    Funny you should use "fairy" as an example of copyright.


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