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View Full Version : Copyright.



NancyJ
09-10-2005, 08:50 PM
I was just wondering if anyone had an experience with copyright laws (specifically UK, but I think there is little difference worldwide). If a client pays a company to design and build a website for them, who owns the copyright, the company that did the work, the individual employees or the client that paid for it?
I know with photography if a client commisions a photo (unless they sign a release) the copyright belongs to the client and not the photographer or model so I was wondering if the same applies to websites, does the ownership pass to the client since the client commisioned the work and paid for it.

Basically my ex-boss is trying to get my to take down my online portfolio since everything on it I did while I was 'semi- employed' by his company. He claims they 'own' everything on my portfolio and that I cant use it. (which is complete crap, I already spoke to a lawyer about it, I worked full time+ for 5 months on a temporary basis for the company and never signed any confidentiality agreement) I noticed that they put their copyright sign on every site whereas the company I currently work for but the copyright sign to the client not themselves.

If he wants to get all legal about it I'm fully prepared to go to court over the matter but I thought if the clients are the legal owners of the site then I might as well just contact them and get their consent to use them in my portfolio - I dont see any of them complaining - its free advertising.

JamieR
09-10-2005, 08:57 PM
I think under national law the work is the copyright of the person who has paid for the work to be done. If so, clients wouldn't be able to display "copyright of *clients company* MMV or whatever.

NancyJ
09-10-2005, 09:07 PM
I think under national law the work is the copyright of the person who has paid for the work to be done. If so, clients wouldn't be able to display "copyright of *clients company* MMV or whatever.
If the copyright belongs to the person who paid for the work to be done (the client) then why wouldnt the client be about to display 'copyright clients company' ?

rrhodes
09-11-2005, 02:48 AM
If your previous company puts their copyright on companies' sites that hire them to make websites for them, and they don't allow the client to mark it with their copyright, then they are not respectable. If I was the client, I would be furious.

They have copyright to the websites. They don't have copyright to your website that has a hyperlink to their website. They can't prevent you from listing what you have worked on (without a confidentiality agreement prior signed). As long as you don't make screen shots of the client websites and include that in your site, you should be OK. List them, link to them, state that you designed them.

What jerks.

missing-score
09-11-2005, 03:42 AM
Yeah, I agree... While they most likley own copyright to the work that has been done, they cannot prevent you linking to it from your website unless an agreement has been signed. Thats just bad if they are expecting you to take down things from your portfolio.

NancyJ
09-11-2005, 09:44 AM
If your previous company puts their copyright on companies' sites that hire them to make websites for them, and they don't allow the client to mark it with their copyright, then they are not respectable. If I was the client, I would be furious.

They have copyright to the websites. They don't have copyright to your website that has a hyperlink to their website. They can't prevent you from listing what you have worked on (without a confidentiality agreement prior signed). As long as you don't make screen shots of the client websites and include that in your site, you should be OK. List them, link to them, state that you designed them.

What jerks.

I spoke to my dad again and they cant prevent me from using screeenshots either since the work is publically available on the web and I did take the screenshots while I was employed by the company, I took them at home from my own PC bygoing to the website. I also dont remember signing anything that handed over copyright to his company of any work that I did, according to my dad he'd have a hard time proving that he owned the copyright anyway since none of the work was his idea and he didnt do any of it.

rmedek
09-11-2005, 10:14 AM
If you did the work as "work-for-hire" then the client generally owns all copyrights after payment is settled. If you worked for a web company part time as an independent contractor, they would own your work after they paid you and their clients would own the work after they paid the company.

That is, generally...usually it's best to have all this in writing somewhere. The best thing I've found to add to my contracts is a clause saying that I reserve the right to use material I've worked on in portfolios and resumes, including all graphics and logos.

Anyhoo, you'd probably win in court, but what a pain in the *** these guys are.

JamieR
09-11-2005, 10:16 AM
If the copyright belongs to the person who paid for the work to be done (the client) then why wouldnt the client be about to display 'copyright clients company' ?

Sorry...what I mean is:

If the client pays for the work to be done by a designer, then I think they have the copyright. If they didn't have the copyright, they wouldn't be able to display "website and all contents is copyright of *company name*"

felgall
09-11-2005, 11:35 PM
In general the person who does the work owns the copyright unless there is a contract that states otherwise.

A person working for a company will have an employment contract that grants the copyright to the company.

If you pay a company to produce something for you you need to make sure that the contract specifies who owns the copyright in what. Most contracts cover this information and it would normally depend on the price being paid and whether the company expected to be able to reuse the developed code.

missing-score
09-11-2005, 11:43 PM
Surely though, if the person who does the work owns the copyright, then after designing a site for someone, you could force it to be removed (as you own the copyright)?

JamieR
09-11-2005, 11:54 PM
We seem to have different ideas here - does anyone know of any actual law documents stating who owns the copyright? Hazel has already stated that she has consulted a lawyer.

IMO, it's extremley bad if the client doesn't receive the copyright for the work that they have paid a lot of money for. The company are merely providing a service of which the clients requirements are met and then the work is paid for so sureley the client must own the copyright seeing as they have paid for it.

rhia
09-12-2005, 12:44 AM
According to most places I've looked since this post was made, It should be stated in the contract - in cases where it is not, copyright for original works lies with the client for whom the design/graphic/whatever was created.

bazz
09-12-2005, 04:46 PM
Interesting that this is just the point at which I am at too.



We seem to have different ideas here - does anyone know of any actual law documents stating who owns the copyright?


copyright is the Intellectual Property of the author, full stop/period.

What I have been told by my specialist IP solicitor is that the copyright is mine unless I sign it over to someone, something which, he says, I'd be mad to do.

Never sign over your copyright or you'll become the proverbial 'pigs back'.

As for your specific case Nancy, it would be wrong of me to suggest that I know but, if you were employed by the company to do the work then you are effectively, their property during the hours they employ you.

You should seek advice as it's an area where poeple are exploited every day, without realising it. My guy is expensive so I can't just ring him up for an answer for you.

I'm in the UK.

Bazz

felgall
09-12-2005, 11:13 PM
Copyright belongs to the AUTHOR unless they assign it to someone else.

If you get a web site (or anything else) created for you then you need a CONTRACT that assigns the copyright to you as part of what you are paying for.

Tynan
09-13-2005, 11:15 AM
I think you're over cooking this, what presumably is not in dispute is who designed the website originally, that's all this person wants to be able to say surely? link to it and perhaps use a screenshot?

And to try and restrict the use of a freely and publicly available website is nonsense surely

Tell them to do one, I can't even see it getting to court, where is a law being broken?

bazz
09-13-2005, 01:05 PM
erm, not sure who you are refrrring to when you say, 'that's all this person wants to be able to say surely?'

The law being discusssed is that of Copyright law. Who owns it right now, is not clear (in these threads at least), and so, it is an important issue for NancyJ now and potentially for many people around here.



And to try and restrict the use of a freely and publicly available website is nonsense surely


I agree with you, Tyanan, that to restrict the use of a publicly available web site is nonsense but only with regard to the visitor's use of it.

The time effort and skill/experience put into the coding or design of a site, should not be hi-jackable by another who simply, wants to poach lumps of code which they haven't written. Neither should the design abilities that were put into buttons and graphics be open for world wide use. These are the issues where Copyright law becomes important.

Bazz

NancyJ
09-13-2005, 02:39 PM
The copyright issue was only so that I could effectively 'go over his head' and ask the client for permission but it doesnt matter, the fact that I say I worked on them on my website isnt a copyright issue. I'm not using any copyrighted material since theres no law against taking a screenshot of someones website and putting it on mine. I'm not claiming copyright over any of the material (I only coded it anyway) I'm just saying that I created it, which I did, regardless of who I was working for at the time.
As far as I can tell he's backed down, he said he was confirming receipt of my email and that he was disappointed with the content and my attitude in general.
I told him to look at his own attitude first and that he should have considered asking nicely if he wanted me to take it down rather than demanding I take it down and trying to threaten me lol.

Tynan
09-13-2005, 03:05 PM
bazz, maybe I've skimmed this thread but I got the impression that Mancy wants to say that she worked on the sites and show some screenshots and links to the sites, the doubtlessly worthy discussions regarding copyright law were only confusing the matter and worse had the potential to confuse Nancy it seemed to me

anyway, comon sense and reality seems to have prevailed, nothing as annoying as people (politicians of late especially) brandishing legaility around to stifle debate, free speech, and so on, in the full knowledhe that they being misleading if not outright lying

bazz
09-13-2005, 08:07 PM
Tynan, yup it seems you were right but I got a copyright-specific feel from Nancy's first post.

Anyway it seems she's got sorted, which is the main thing. And I shan't get into a discussion here about politics coz I try not to waste much time on numpties :D

(They, that is - not you ;) )

Bazz

Tynan
09-14-2005, 12:00 PM
good man, ta

Vapor
09-15-2005, 06:05 PM
I am in the process of learning copyright information. I suggest reading about that information here (http://www.copyright.gov).

bazz
09-15-2005, 09:18 PM
This might save a bit of reading?

WHO CAN CLAIM COPYRIGHT

Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.

In the case of works made for hire, the employer and not the employee is considered to be the author. Section 101 of the copyright law defines a "work made for hire" as:

* (1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or
* (2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as:
o a contribution to a collective work
o a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work
o a translation
o a supplementary work
o a compilation
o an instructional text
o a test
o answer material for a test
o an atlas

if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire....

The authors of a joint work are co-owners of the copyright in the work, unless there is an agreement to the contrary.

Copyright in each separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work is distinct from copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially with the author of the contribution.

Bazz



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