Terms and Conditions and copyright

If you work in any kind of creative discipline, there may be good reason to provide Terms and Conditions and copyright terms to your clients from the outset of any new work agreement.

Often in cases of non-payment, ownership of the completed work comes under dispute, and if you did not spell out precisely who owns the supplied materials, you could be in for a shock if the case ends up in court.

copywright terms


You don’t want For example, if you supply part of the project for client approval before continuing, and they do not approve the rest of the work, is it clear who owns the portion already delivered?

If they never pay you anything for it, but you never issued clear terms demanding part-payment for work done on incomplete projects, you might find you are unable to legally use that material elsewhere, or to prevent the client from using it in their own future projects.

Equally, if you are receiving a named credit for your work, it is sensible to issue Ts & Cs preventing the client from making changes to it that you might not be happy with, or using it outside of the original remit.

to make a name for yourself, only to find that your very first projects are suddenly mass-produced by a

Ultimately, Terms and Conditions and copyright notices are about achieving the same outcomes: protecting yourself and your work former customer who was given full ownership of your early work.

against mistreatment, whether it is malicious or by well-meaning but misguided clients.

Make sure you understand what copyright you can retain and enforce, and what rights you are giving to your customer – can they modify your work, or use it in a different format than the one supplied? If they do, can they still associate it with your name?

A useful part of the legislation to remember here is the section covering Moral Rights; these are separate from copyright, and they apply no matter what (unless you choose not to enforce them).

Moral Rights include things like the right not to be identified as the author or creator of a work that is not actually your own – which might seem obvious, but is more of a grey area in derivative works and so on.

Terms and Conditions and copyright agreements in particular help to reassert these rights and make sure the client is aware of them, as well as clearing up any such grey areas from the very beginning of your agreement.

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