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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Law
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Hi, I have just finished employment at a Satined Glass Firm

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Hi, I have just finished employment at a Satined Glass Firm to start work in the same field as self employed. I have set up a portfolio page with images of the work I have done - the majority of which were for private commissions while working at my last firm.
I have been asked by my past employer to remove all pictures that show work from my time with them as he says "they retain intellectual property rights to all work carried out" there.

What can I do here? I designed & or made each piece, without these I have no portfolio & he knows this. If I have referenced that each window was made with/by/for them can he really ask me to remove them??

Thanks in advance, Natalie Lines

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. As far as the law stands, if you were an employee and created these works in the course of your employment, your employer would automatically become the copyright owner and retain intellectual property rights over the work in question. So strictly speaking you could be acting in breach of copyright if you use photos of copyrighted work without the copyright owner's permission as using copyrighted work in a photo will amount to reproducing it.


 


However you could argue that you have certain 'moral rights' in the work in question because you were its original creator. These rights are separate to any economic rights you have in the work, which means that even if the employer retains copyright in an economic sense, you could retain moral rights in the work in question.


 


The most relevant economic right here is the right to be attributed as the author of the work in question. So you could argue that your moral rights allow you to be identified as the creator of the works in question, as long as you are not in any way infringing the economic copyright of these works.

JACUSTOMER-on3vulcv- :

Ok, I am also setting up a website for my buisness with images separate to my past employment. Is there anything to stop me getting in touch with some past clients & asking for a picture

JACUSTOMER-on3vulcv- :

sorry.. didnt mean to send that then!!

JACUSTOMER-on3vulcv- :

to continue... asking for a past testimony? Picture review... ?? something that can reference my past work with the other Company (& I will reference that the work was undertaken with them) that isnt me using said images as advertisement somehow??

JACUSTOMER-on3vulcv- :

does that make sense???

Ben Jones :

yes I understand - there is nothing stopping you from contacting them and asking for a photo, but how you use it will again depend on who owns the copyright and if they allow you to use it or not, so the rights will very much be the same as in the situation above

JACUSTOMER-on3vulcv- :

Ok, last question!! the images of the windows are his fine. how does it stand for personal images of me working onsite on these projects?? as long as the glass isn't directly on show?? For instance we did a large project in Japan.. images of me that were taken by me or other colleagues whilst making/installing surely can not be his property swell??

Ben Jones :

who took the images?

Ben Jones :

Just need to go into a quick meeting, back shortly

JACUSTOMER-on3vulcv- :

a colleague/friend who worked with me at the time...

Ben Jones :

The copyright to the images would belong to the person who took them so you would need to seek their permission first before you can use them

Customer:

.... so I can say what I like about the work & show images (with permission yes) from each trip &/or site visit as long as the glass isn't on show? Ie - a post dated blog maybe??

Ben Jones :

you are statig factual information about your experience in a company and you cannot be prevented from doing so unless you had some specific contractual restrictions which said you could not be associated with this company

Customer:

thank you Mr Jones, thats all very helpful

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