...or rather, how to protect intellectual property. My Wife has, within the last few months, engaged herself in the starting up of a Wedding Stationery business. Nothing much to start with - just the part-time creation of personalised hand-made bits and pieces from 'Save the Date's to invitations to table plans etc, basically serving a wedding from start to finish, to earn a bit of stay-at-home pocket money. However, using Facebook and word-of-mouth as her only forms of promotion, the last 6 months have seen this thing blow up out of all her expectations. 600+ likes on Facebook and enquiries coming in on a daily basis. So I suggested that as best as possible (bearing in mind I work pretty much full time as an artworker), I'd step in and help. My levels of dexterity are next to none unless I have a mouse in my hand, so I put together some printed ideas for her to punt about. These were pretty well received too, and now the majority of her business is based on the creation of these items. And this is where she (we) has run into problems... Regarding hand made stuff, you supply a sample for approval and as it's a 3D product, to copy it would be a real effort on the part of the customer. For the printed stuff, that's more difficult to control. Up until now, samples have been provided as PDFs (containing medium res jpegs so no text can be copied), emailed to the customer, watermarked to discourage any wrongdoing. However it has turned out, upon having supplied such a visual to a customer, after they went quiet on us and after subsequent investigation, lo and behold their wedding stationery was sent out with the word 'sample' splashed across it - they'd just used it as a master to copy and print it out themselves, although they'd tried their best to touch it out (obvioulsy got a Nephew with a copy of Microsoft Paint!). So now she's going down the route of asking people for up-front deposits (Â£25) which is then included in part of the overall cost of the job when it's delivered. However, that's not going to stop potential pirates as even Â£25 is very cheap for a set of bespoke invites! I thought of supplying proofs of these invites as photos, as opposed to any kind of flat watermarked items, but that doesn't give any real idea of colours or fine detail. And asking people to stump up the full amount prior to starting a job isn't remotely feasible. And of course, because it's a one-off and personal event (as opposed to being ripped off by a company who pass the work off as their own for monetary gain within the public domain), short of rolling up and declaring the marriage null and void at the altar, how do you prove that after someone says "sorry, not quite what we're after - goodbye", they ARE using the artwork you supplied them with, albeit as a proof? Plus, she want to sell this stuff all over the country, so I'm b*ggered if I'm travelling all the way up to The Midlands to try to get to the bottom of things. So (if you're still with me): How would you tackle the problems of (a) providing a customer with the best quality proofing material possible and (b) still maintaining a level of self-protection to prevent yourself getting ripped off? Your input would be gratefully appreciated. Thank you.