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Question for Yellow Page Advertisers

 4:00 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

When you publish an advertisement in the yellow pages, who owns it? The advertiser, the yellow pages, the creative agency who designs it?

Anyone know? I would think the advertiser who pays for it to be designed would own it, but there's some question as to if the YP takes ownership of the ad once its published.



 4:16 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Most YP publishers claim copywrite to the contents of their printed book.

If the YP ad was designed by the YP publisher they also typically claim that as their own as well.


 4:17 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

contents of their printed book

Thanks Frequent. I understand that.

My question was just about the individual ads for individual businesses.

If I'm Joe and I own Joe's Towing, and I pay to have my ad designed, can I use that ad freely?


 4:26 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you have your ad for Joe's Towing designed by the YP company they may claim ownership of that ad and restrict it's use in, say for instance another competing YP or the newspaper.

In this case they will typically ask you to tell the other YP to contact them to arrange a file transfer, and then charge the other YP a set fee for the use of the ad they designed.

This is understandable (IMO) since they may have reworked that ad a dozen times before the advertiser was satisfied.

This represents a lot of man-hours and they will try to recover this $.

But also keep in mind, they want to keep their customer happy and paying for many years to come so when push comes to shove they will likely give it up.


 4:34 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks Frequent - that's helpful.

Any idea about ads that are not designed by a YP publisher?


 5:42 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you have your ads designed by a professional graphic designer you can generally expect to have ownership of the final product.

This does not include "source" items. Say, for instance, they create an image for you using a montage of 5 different photo images that they provide. You only own the final output image and have no rights to the other five individual "source" images.

They, however, can freely use those "source" images in designs for other clients, but they can't give your final design to another client.

Keep in mind, that this info is purely based on my limited experience. What parts of a design you do and do not "own" should be outlined in whatever contract you sign with the designer.


 5:46 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm meeting with SBC YP rep tomorrow for placement of ads not designed by them. I'll pose your question (i guess I'm interested too), but I'm certain she'll need to research it to get an answer.

On an similar subject, how are rights normally dealt with between advertiser and 3rd party design house?


 11:34 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Jake, such rights cannot be surrendered unless done so expressly, in writing, by the person signing the rights away. Emphasis on signing.

Read the listing agreement. Absent such a grant of specific rights the transfer or loss of rights ain't happening.

P.S. Kindly look for my sticky from a few days ago.


 11:38 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nice summary of copyright law:



 7:48 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I used to work for a YP ad agency, and I believe we held the rights to our ads that we created for the corporations.

We used specific methodology in creating in these ads and used proven techniques to get better results and that was part of our UVP, so it may have been a slightly different circumstance than if we were just a freelance graphic designer.


 7:03 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Consistent with webwork's post, an SBC rep today confirmed that I retain rights to use artwork I furnish (for publication in their book) anywhere I wish.


 4:16 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Awesome RossWal, thanks!

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