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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.
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Not sure whether this is better under business law but here

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Not sure whether this is better under business law but here goes...

I have been doing freelance computer renderings and animation for years. Everything I do, I put my logo on it, not too big, but down in the lower right hand corner. Usually this is fine, and the client does not even mention it.

One in a while, and recently today I am at risk of losing a big job, because when I mentioned that my work will be branded with my logo they were just flat out amazed and upset. I can see their point, a little. If they want to show THEIR client, they don't want my logo on it all. BUT, I still stick to my guns and say, its my animation, I own it, take it or leave it.

I have heard about "work-for-hire" but I have never specifically be engaged in this. I have heard that commissioned work is implied to be the property of the person that pays for it, unless stated otherwise. Here's the thing. I DON'T USE CONTRACTS. Don't agree with them. I have only signed NDA's when absolutely forced to, and I HATE them. Every time I sign a contract I lose out on something in the future.

All I want to do is do my work, put my logo on it, and have it satisfy the client and hopefully other people will see it and look me up and call me. Is that so terribly ?

QUESTIONS:
1) If I create a computer rendering for a company, WITHOUT A CONTRACT OR ANY KIND OF PREVIOUS DISCUSSION about it, who owns it, them or me ?
2) It is bad etiquette for me to want my logo on every piece of work I send out ?
3) Should I charge more to clients that don't want a logo on their work ?
4) Can I always legally display it on my website, regardless of the above answers for self promotion purposes only ?
2)

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

To ensure I do not miss anything, I will answer each question in order listed.

1) If I create a computer rendering for a company, WITHOUT A CONTRACT OR ANY KIND OF PREVIOUS DISCUSSION about it, who owns it, them or me ?
Depends on whether you are an employee or a contractor. An employee works for the employer so the employer owns all rights. In a contractor situation, the contractor retains the rights to the item because that is the default position in law.

2) It is bad etiquette for me to want my logo on every piece of work I send out ?
Not really, it is a means of identifying your own work and creating a copyright for your items. Most graphic designers, creators, or other intellectual property professionals do just that as a means of protecting their work. It is akin to a painter signing their painting even if that painting is commissioned to someone else.

3) Should I charge more to clients that don't want a logo on their work ?
That is really not a legal question, it is simply your own choice. But typically if they want full rights to the work, and simply leave you the residual rights under fair use, most creators charge more since they are giving up their own property almost in full to the other party.

4) Can I always legally display it on my website, regardless of the above answers for self promotion purposes only ?
Yes, you can--it would completely be covered under "fair use", which permits you to use your own work as a means of advertising or informing others, but not to use it for a commercial purpose.

Good luck.

Dimitry K., Esq. and other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Just a couple of things. 1) No, I have never been hired as an employee. Always as a freelance contractor.


 


2) QUESTION: On the jobs I have had to sign an NDA, ( and I know it generally depends on what is specifically in the NDA ) can I still display the work on my own website just for self promotion ?

Thank you for your follow-up. Glad to assist further.

1. That is very good to hear, then your rights are retained by you.

2. For NDA work, displaying what you created would violate the NDA (as you are directly disclosing what is covered under the non-disclosure). Doing so would violate the NDA and could permit the holder of the NDA to file suit against you for damages.

Good luck.

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