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IP rights contract

Hi everyone,
I've worked with a client for quite a long time, on and off, they develop a facebook game so they needed content pretty much constantly, so we've been doing this for probably more than 4-5 years already. I was invoicing him and he paid me via bank transfer, we put all the details of the work in the invoices so we kept track of the work being done. We also have emails in regards to what was requested, feedbacks, iterations, etc.
However, he never set up a proper contract for this work and now he wants to do it, so that he can own the rights on the graphics (apparently due to someone trying to steal it and use it for a different game - which I've seen happen in the past). He was very good with payments and we kept a great relationship all through the time we worked, so I'd like to help him there, but I will not sign a contract that is back dated. He thinks it's the only way, but I am reluctant to do so. Is there any other way for us to sort it out for him? I certainly don't mind giving him the rights to help him be protected from theft (and own the rights) but at the same time I don't know what's the best way to do this. we're talking about graphics done over a very long period of time...

If anyone has any thoughts or advice, that would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks!


Senior Member
A couple of thoughts. Why not sign a contract that's backdated if you agree with the terms? Also, if you're happy to hand over the rights then the contract doesn't need to be backdated, it just needs to specify what the work is and who it belongs to.
Hi Wac, thanks a lot for your reply. My concern is about dealing with backdated contracts. I don't mind offering him the rights to it, it's only fair, he has paid for the work and it was done to his specifications, plus he was and still is a great client. I am just not 100% sure how to handle this, if there needs to be any special paragraph in it or just the dates showing it was effective when we started, but dated and signed today - and if a backdated contract like this can have any implications for myself.


Well-Known Member
As long as you're happy with signing the rights away then there should be no issue.

A simple contract saying they hold the rights to any work you have/will supply them should suffice.
If you know where you both stand then it can make things simpler.

On the other hand, I've had experience where a "proper" contract hasn't been in place as an employee.

One was at a greetings company I worked at and they brought in a new contract for the staff.
The "designs and inventions" clause stated that the company owned the rights to all the work I did for them which was fair.
...but, it went on to say they owned the rights to everything I designed or made outside the company in my own time. o_O
Basically, they owned everything I made at work or at home.

I flagged this and they said "we'd never enforce that" to which I replied "well delete that part".
They wouldn't so I wouldn't sign.
At the time I worked on my own projects outside of work and also freelance for other clients.

How could I sign such a thing?
Thank you very much, Scotty! Yeah, we'll sort it out with a simple contract, just basically stating that he owns the rights for the gfx and it covers the last couple of projects we did from date x to date y, which he paid with invoices between the dates, add references in, etc.
Cheers folks! Much appreciated.