The forums ran from 2008-2020 and are now closed and viewable here as an archive.

Home Forums Other What do you guys think about clients wanting the rights to your work?

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #158890

    I’ve got two clients right now who say they want the “rights to my work.”

    My gut reaction: That will never happen. I am the author. I retain full rights and ownership of my photos, artwork and code to be used however I see fit in the future.

    Am I off base here?


    rights to my work

    Make sure you get clarification as to what that mean to them.

    It might simply mean they want to be able to edit code, make changes in the future without your permission.

    When I do photography, I have to release copyright in order for my clients to have print rights.

    You should define what that means to you as well, what kind of things you allow client to do with your work, ect.


    I have no problems with it. The client pays for the web site and after I’m done with it, they own everything I hand over to them. I don’t really have any sense (or desire) of ownership over that type of work, but I understand that other people might have that with their work.

    Then again, I don’t use any art that belongs to me (photos or anything) that I’d like to use for other projects as well.


    ** I retain full rights and ownership of my photos, artwork and code to be used *

    If you took the photos then they are yours, if you didn’t then you probably don’t have the rights you think you do.

    Artwork? You mean the design?…but they paid you to create it, didn’t they? Seems to me they should have some rights.

    As for code..that’s like saying I have the rights to English because I used it to write a book. Sure I have the rights to that single representation of a code mass, even unique sections but at what point does that breakdown?

    As far as I know, it’s pretty standard for rights to transfer to the client on completion. All you get is bragging rights, the satisfaction of a job well done and another notch on your portfolio belt.

    Relax and don’t sweat the small stuff.


    It should be clear in the contract that you would have signed.

    If it wasn’t in the contract, make sure it is next time.

    I state in mine that once the project is completed the design and code is theirs to do whatever they want with. It would be super weird for me to hold onto the rights of a design that I made for a client, doesn’t really make any sense.


    it depends on what you mean by “rights.” I’ve had clients who thought that meant I couldn’t use the same code for other projects. Like @TheDoc says, make sure it’s clear in your contract.


    It is always best to consult with a lawyer with these questions. Are we talking about international clients?

    It’s important for designers to license their artwork, in my opinion — some even offer a buyout option if that client wants full rights. This seems to differ from the development industry where giving up the rights after completion (also stated above) is quite common.

    Be aware that not all code (i.e. CSS) is protected under copyright and is in fact highly debated in the courts (I’m speaking for the US specifically). Photos are automatically protected and clients cannot use them unless you give permission.


    You own the rights to your work. So, that being said, you then “license” those rights on a per-use basis. The pricing you negotiate for those rights to whomever wants to license what you’re offering is based on usage. So, what type of usage do they want? For a web site, for an email template? To use in a web banner or as a supplement in affiliate web advertising? The variables are endless. Never ever GIVE work away for exposure or at anytime sell your work for “all rights”. Look up info on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act…..very very important!

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • The forum ‘Other’ is closed to new topics and replies.