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Threatened by ex-employer to take portfolio work offline

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by Rampaging Roy, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. Rampaging Roy

    Rampaging Roy New Member


    I'd like your advice on something please.

    I've got some work I did for a previous company (some graphics for print and some websites) shown in an online portflio. I'm showing still pictures of the work and linking to some of the online sites, and the guy i used to work for has contacted me saying it must be taken down within 24hrs because it's 'all his'.

    I would say that he wouldn't have a leg to stand on and believe that the law sees past work I've done as part of my CV and it would be my right to use it to gain further work or employment.

    Where it gets perhaps a bit muddier though, is the fact that I'm working with this other guy in a sort of semi-exclusive freelance capacity, and as I'm basically his designer, we've put the images of this work on the portfolio site of this other company.

    In this case, would you advise that we do take it down?

    Thanks for any light you can shed on the legalities etc and advice you can give.
  2. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    I'd say take it down. I agree that you should be able to present work you've done for other companies as a CV/portfolio for the private viewing of a prospective new employer but what you have described sounds like very dodgy ground. Like your old boss, I'd be livid if someone did that to me and I saw sites you'd made, whilst I had paid your wages, on a competitors website as if they were done under that company name. I am 100% behind your ex-boss here.
  3. spottypenguin

    spottypenguin Active Member

    I'd have to agree mate, one thing having your own, private portfolio but displaying it on another company's website is *very* naughty and I would be raging if I were your ex boss
  4. Rampaging Roy

    Rampaging Roy New Member

    You wouldn't be if you knew him, but that's a different story! I was never paid for any of the work I did either. It's irrelevant what kind of person he is though!

    After receiving the message, I thought he probably had a point. It was originally a temporary measure while we got more work in of our own, and I'd completely forgotten about it. I'll take it down now then.

    Thanks so much for your replies!
  5. NUGFX

    NUGFX Member

    id disagree, if you designed the work yourself you are the SOLE copyright holder it does not matter if you done it for a company you worked for. only if it is referanced in the contract summit like "all work you produce for company x is the copyright/ownership of company x and you have no valid ownership." if that is not stated in the contract it is yours. but on the other hand if you are publishing the work on your own website selling yourself then this can b a problem, but not if it just a website to showcase your work. I had a similar situation many many years ago when my ex boss said what i do is company property but nothing was stated in black and white, so therefore i could argue the case i was a freelancer :)
  6. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    I don't believe that "Work for Hire" law in the UK stipulates that 'ownership of materials produced by an employee are the property of the employer' has to be explicitly stated in a contract like you are suggesting NUGFX.

    Where this gets even muddier though is...
    Now that would be an interesting case to see through to the end. You might have some legs to stand on there and, if you want to fight it, get some legal advice (not from a forum, from a solicitor :icon_wink:)

    Would love to hear the views of @MinutemanPress on this one as he employs a few people.

    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member

  8. Edge

    Edge Active Member

    I'd disagree firstly on ethical grounds. If I was paying someone to create work and then he went around drumming up business online in public and essentially competing with me I wouldn't be happy. He's basically used my money to fund his online portfolio. If however I didn't pay him, well now that's different...

    As for the legal grounds, I'd be highly doubtful a court would find in favour of the employee. That said, I'm no lawyer and so unless one of us is we've probably reached a cul-de-sac in terms of debate.
  9. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    If the guy was employed with a contract then it did probably state that any work done is 'owned' by the employer. If he worked for the employer for more than 13 weeks the employer has to issue a contract. If he was freelance and not paid for the work done then it is his. I think it depends on his status at the time.
  10. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    I think it's only right to do people the courtesy of asking if they mind you using stuff you've created for them before you publish it to promote yourself: people only really refuse if they have sound commercial reasons (in which case: fine) or if they want to be obstructive which, if the objection is baseless, pretty much means that the courtesy gloves are off and - if it's something that really matters to you - the courtesy of asking if you can turns into the courtesy of informing them that you are.

    Why weren't you paid for it? Were you expecting to be paid but weren't or is it something you agreed to do gratis? What was the general basis of your relationship with the guy when you completed the work? Was it work created for a third party under his banner or was it created specifically to promote his business? Is all of the material freely available in the public domain or is any of it restricted or otherwise commercially sensitive?

    Generally, I think you just sort of know when you're in the right when it comes to this sort of thing but, when it gets tricky, you need to be sure of your position and honest in the way you act.

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