Working With Freelancers: Ownership And Use Of The Work Product – Intellectual Property


Working with Freelancers: Ownership and Use of the Work Product

September 07, 2020

Logan & Partner

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  • Under copyright laws in the EU, Switzerland and the UK, the freelancer owns the copyright in the work product they create for you.
  • There is no automatic transfer of ownership to you just because you pay the freelancer to create the work product for you.
  • To transfer the copyright, the freelancer must assign (transfer) the copyright to you in writing and sign it.
  • A good way to do this is to have a written contract for services between you and the freelancer that includes a clause to transfer ownership of the work product and associated copyright to you.
  • If you’re working with a freelancer on a platform like Upwork or Fiverr, check their terms and conditions to see if you own the work product and associated copyright.
  • Even if the platform terms state that you as the customer own the work product and the copyright, ask the freelancer to confirm this in writing, e.g. B. by sending you an email.
  • For certain work products, e.g. B. Voice overs, photos, videos, you may have to pay additional fees for commercial use. Here you do not own the work product, but receive a limited right to use it for certain purposes. You should check that these purposes cover your intended use.
  • The freelancer may want to reuse certain elements of the work product with other clients, e.g. B. Pre-existing generic items that were not created specifically for you and that do not contain confidential material.
  • In such event, you should state in your written contract that the freelancer retains ownership of such items, but that you, the customer, have a non-exclusive right to use them for your business purposes.
  • Such a license should be royalty-free, meaning you don’t have to pay extra money to use these items. Also, the license should be perpetual, meaning you can use it for as long as you want.

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. A professional should be obtained about your particular circumstances.

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