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August 19, 2009 at 11:13 pm #25813
Hello all. My name is Matt I live in Pennsylvania and I am in the process of setting up to do some part time freelance web design. There are many many many questions that come with this but sites like this and others have been very helpful.
The reason I am writing is there are a few questions I can not get great or straight answers for. The main three are as follows:
1. As mentioned I work full time and wanted to do this part time to start out with, intentions would be to eventually got to full time freelance, but is or will the part time thing hurt me and how do I present that to potential clients?
2. Copyright??? I go to sites and some other designers I see the copyright on the bottom of the page, others I do not. Is this a huge concern and if so what is the best way or option to get this set up?
3. This is the one that is riding on me, CONTRACTS. I have researched online and some places I see a sample contract it is 12 pages long. Other places, I see to set one up and it is extremely basic and only one page in length. I have talked to a few fellow designers and one told me, oh I just create a proposal and we, designer / client, use that for the contract. I want to be safe and make sure myself and my family will be covered and safe. Is there a happy medium?
I have several other questions that I am working through but these seem to be the biggest that are slowing me down and weighing on me. I still need to create my site, but as I try to do that I keep thinking about the contract aspect of it and since it is an area I am not at all familiar with, it slows me down. I am wanting to start this but like most I do not want to start putting money out the door before I have any coming in, unless this is the one area I need to.
Any and all help is appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time, sorry if I am long winded but I wanted to make sure I am getting everything out so I know what direction I need to go next.August 19, 2009 at 11:56 pm #62441MattMember
You have automatic copyright on anything that can be considered a form of expression. These are works of art and written articles; these are covered under automatic copyright.
Should you rely on automatic copyright? Absolutely not.
It’s very difficult in court to prove that a source article is your own, and without incremental archives of your site to the Library of Congress, you have no hard proof that you are the originator.
Be aware what is in need of a "Copyright", what is in need of a "Trademark", and what is in need of a "Patent". A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, etc. that distinguishes you from everybody else. A patent would be used if you were to create a new tool that is completely new and works completely different than anything else. Say you created a web-app that was able to optimize web-pages by taking their external images and converting them into in-line SVG that’s re-embedded into the page. You would file a Patent request for it.
I would go into #3, but it’s a very touchy subject that really depends on you, yourself.August 20, 2009 at 2:38 pm #62474TheDocMember
Here are some AI files to help you get started on some proposal and quote stuff. I can’t remember where I found them, but they are good templates.August 20, 2009 at 8:15 pm #62491
Thanks Matt and TheDoc. I will look through the zip file you sent over. As for the copyright, is this something that I should discuss with future clients. I know I have seen some sites with copyrights on them and that could be for the logo or the name they currently have. Or should I just not mention it at all and leave it up to them?
This has been a huge help. ThanksAugust 20, 2009 at 9:08 pm #62492MattMember"mattxy" wrote:Thanks Matt and TheDoc. I will look through the zip file you sent over. As for the copyright, is this something that I should discuss with future clients. I know I have seen some sites with copyrights on them and that could be for the logo or the name they currently have. Or should I just not mention it at all and leave it up to them?
This has been a huge help. Thanks
If they have a plan of disbanding you in the future, consider writing up a part in the contract of transferring copyright ownership (for a hefty fee, by the way, so you’ll either keep your job or get a large sum from the transaction). Remember that both parties must sign a written contract for copyright transfers to be valid. After 28 years, the party that is currently the contractual owner of the copyright must file the renew. If something pertaining to copyright that involves you goes to court, the contract serves as a legal binding document stating that you are not the current owner and that all further inquiries must go to the current contractual owner.
As for discussing copyright, if you and your client do not discuss or do not have a written document of copyright ownership, you automatically receive the copyright. This is known as "implied copyright". I would keep the copyright under your name, if you can, and set a fee for transferring the copyright ownership. While this may seem weaselly, you did do the work, and it can still reside under your name. I’ve been doing this, and charging a $200 (though, I’ve gone as high as $1500, depending on the client) for transfer of copyright ownership in the contract at the initial billing.
Finally, all logos, names, etc. fall under Trademark and take it from me. Let the CLIENT file them. They are not something you want to handle if a legal issue arose. Besides that, save some money and just let the client pay the fees to register it, and make sure that you wouldn’t have to pay transfer fees in the future (this entire paragraph also applies to patents, btw). Though, I doubt a client would even think of letting you own the trademark. Copyright is one thing, but a trademark is like your own personal name and you wouldn’t want somebody else to own that, would you?August 20, 2009 at 11:38 pm #62497
Thanks Matt for more very helpful information. I really appreciate it.June 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm #103456heatherMember
Hi, I have a similar issue. Been building sites for friends and myself for a while for fun, but someone has a real job for me but wants a proposal with estimated costs. Any idea where I can get a proposal template? Thanks!
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