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What Happens if You Don’t Secure Copyright From Designers, Developers and Others Before Engaging Them to do Work

What Happens if You Don’t Secure Copyright From Designers, Developers and Others Before Engaging Them to do Work

February 14, 2020

The 7 Costly Mistakes People Make When Turning their Big Idea into a Business, or when Branding or Rebranding Anything

During branding, designs will be created for your brand, including your logo.

You should not enter into agreements to have designs or websites or software built to launch your idea without first considering what the IP implications of that agreement will be. Will you own the asset you’re paying to have created for you?

Don’t assume you will own the copyright in something just because you’re paying for it. The law quite clearly says that the creator of a work is the copyright owner. This is the position in most common law countries, if not universally worldwide.

The fact that you’re paying for the work simply entitles you to use the work (for example, your logo) in your own business. It doesn’t give you the copyright in it.

Bear in mind that the way copyright and other IP rights work is that you can own something like a book, say, without owning the copyright in it. In the same way, you can own your logo, or website, or software, without owning the copyright in it.

When you don’t own the copyright to something you own, it means you can’t sell the rights in that work to others. For example, you wouldn’t be able to exploit software by giving licences of it to other businesses. Only the creator of the work would have such a right. So, think about IP rights like copyright BEFORE you commission an agency or another third party to do work for you.

IP is a property right just like land. As with physical property, there are formal legal rules governing their transfer. You will have a more valuable business if you own the IP rights in the works you have produced for you.

When it comes to subcontracting, the best policy is better safe than sorry. This does not mean that you should assume an attitude of suspicion. It just means not leaving loopholes in key aspects of the transaction, such as IP. Whether you are a website owner hiring a web designer, subcontracting a content writer, an author hiring an editor or cover designer, hiring an artist for images and sketches, a logo designer, ad banner creators, etcetera, you should always outline ownership in writing before you use that third party. A benefit of working with us to find tune your brand strategy before turning to visual design work is that BrandTuned gives you the right documents to use when working with creatives, if you choose to work with your own designer afterwards rather than using our creatives for your visual identity.