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Losing a tender

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by gprovan, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. gprovan

    gprovan Member

    Hi All,

    We won the design and print tender for a council based organisation several years ago and have done a huge amount of artwork. Now the tender has come up again and because it's purely about cost, we've lost out.

    The company that won the tender will have to either start from scratch or use our files.

    As you've probably guessed we don't want to hand any artwork over and there wasn't anything in writing stating that they own the artwork.

    We've had a good relationship with the organisation and they're gutted that we've lost it, but unfortunately it's the council's procurement department that makes this decision.

    There's a chance that we might win it back in a year's time, so we don't want to burn any bridges.

    What do you think is the best diplomatic way to go about this if they start asking for things?
  2. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    If they want the original files then they should pay a fee for them.

    It's pretty standard practice.
  3. gprovan

    gprovan Member

    What sort of scale would you suggest, if we went down that route?
  4. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    I tend to work more in Illustration where it costs a lot to buy out the rights to an image and not quite sure where it stands about the original file.
    It's usually a LOT more than the original license to use it.

    Of the top of my head I say around 20%-50% of the original job wouldn't be unrealistic but as you own the rights then you can put your own price tag on it.
    Sounds a lot and I may be well off but you're essentially giving your work and rights away to a company who is getting paid.

    On another topic it was talked about recently.
    Unless it's in a contract to say otherwise, the originator holds the rights to the artwork and the client pays for the usage.
    If they want to use it for something else then they have to pay.
    An example from the other thread:

    Under UK law, the originator of art, design, music and writing is the copyright owner and has intellectual rights – and these can be licensed to the company or person who commissioned the work for various uses. In general the licensed use is the purpose of the original commission – eg design and print of 10k leaflets would mean the sale of a “licence” for exactly that. Further uses of the artwork or its adaptation for another project would be by negotiation, and ownership of the electronic files, the design and all of the component parts remain with the designer. This understanding is basically the same in the UK and in the US and is put succinctly by the American Institute of Graphic Designers:

    “Under U.S. copyright law, the designer is the owner of all files and artwork created for the client, and the client is the owner of the end product (i.e. a printed business cards). Release of electronic files to the client is at the discretion of the designer and is determined by the type of project. Copyright ownership may be transferred to the client for a fee that is based on the uses for which rights are being transferred.”

    This applies for all forms of creative work – most people are familiar with purchasing or commissioning illustration or photography on the basis of a particular use (indeed the cost generally reflects the usage – front cover, long runs etc attract a higher fee).
  5. gprovan

    gprovan Member

    Thanks Scotty.

    Let's see how our strong relationship holds when I start telling them all this ;-)
  6. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe it's cheaper for them to retain you as the supplier? I mean, it would be a shame if the cost of handing over the files (and the associated copyrights) was more than what it would have cost them to just keep you working on it in the first place…
  7. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    Edit. Was writing this as Paul posted.

    I'm totally sure they'll spit their tea all over their screen when they read the e-mail. ;)
    You can guarantee that they'll think you're being salty for not getting the tender.
    They won't have a clue that they don't own the artwork and they should need to pay.
    If they did know then I'm sure you'd have got the gig.

    If they've agreed to give the work to the other party then they're going to have to pay either way.
    1. Pay you for the files.
    2. Pay them to re-create them.

    Clients and even a lot of designers don't seem to get it.
    If they were to pay an architect to design a building.
    Would they expect to get all the plans, cad files, spec's to pass onto another contractor to build more.... for free?

    Is that right?

    The client buys the end product and does not own all the ground work.

    Now. I'm going to sit in a dark room and repeat this to myself. Over and over. ;)
  8. gprovan

    gprovan Member

    The problem here is that the organisation didn't have a choice in who supplied their design and print. It was decided in a council department who only looked at the costs.
    We are a registered supplier to said council and will continue to do work for them, but not for this particular organisation - unless we win it again when the tender comes up in a year.

    Unfortunately, anyone who has had any dealings with councils recently is probably in a similar situation. My sister-in-law works for another council trust and she has to deal with a designer who's not very good, but is very cheap. There seems a lack of joined up thinking at the moment.

    Anyway, we'll probably be having a meeting with them over the next few days to see how we progress from here.

    Thanks for the sounding board. Some interesting things to think about. (y)
  9. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    I've worked for councils in the past and they can be real nightmare clients.
    Red tape, different departments, rubber stamps, design by committee. I could go on....and on.
  10. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    My girlfriend works at a university and has to deal with a designer/design company who constantly forget to give them access to sites, take days to send over files, forget about amends, never return calls and generally just need chasing every day. But hey, they're the cheapest, so finance are happy!

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