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Category: Intellectual Property Law
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Hi, If design agency outsource a logo project to a freelance

Resolved Question:

Hi,

If design agency outsource a logo project to a freelance designer and still work/it is involved in the design process along side with the freelance designer and give directions so that project can be completed (direction, thinking, etc...).

Which copyrights are considered that are transferred to the agency with the final payment?

1. Are all copyrights (ownership, right to publish, ...) transferred to the agency?
2. Can freelance designer publish the work online - on design portals as his work?
3. Can agency claim "Copyright Infringement" if designer publish the work online and can request the online website provider to take it down under DMCA?

Thanks
Tim
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello...you asked:

1. Are all copyrights (ownership, right to publish, ...) transferred to the agency?

A: Under U.S. law (17 U.S.C. 101), unless there is a written agreement under which the work of the freelancer is agreed to be a "work made for hire," no copyright is transferred. The work belongs to the freelancer.

However, there is a legal concept called an implied license, which will permit the agency to use the work of the freelancer for the purposes which were reasonably implied by their work agreement. This usually means that the work can be resold or licensed to third parties and modified by the original agency, but no third party licensee can further modify or license the work to others.

2. Can freelance designer publish the work online - on design portals as his work?

A: Yes. Because no copyright has been transferred, the agency' rights are nonexclusive, so the freelancer can continue to use the work independent of the agency.

3. Can agency claim "Copyright Infringement" if designer publish the work online and can request the online website provider to take it down under DMCA?

A: The agency can "claim" copyright infringement. But without the written agreement that the work is a "work made for hire," the agency would ultimately lose if the dispute must be resolved in a court.

Hope this helps.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 34082
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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