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Who owns a web page design?

The designer? or the client?

     
5:25 pm on Jun 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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If someone hires you to design their site, and you bring to it your unique graphic/coding skills, do you own rights to the interface/layout design?

Here is the hypothetical...

Suppose you get a commission for a 15 page site, and you submit the home page (only) for approval, with all the graphics, navigation, etc worked out. Then the person says they are unhappy and has their neighbor finish the job - USING YOUR DESIGN.

If that person paid you for the homepage part of the job - but not for the other 14 pages - can the neighbor just take it and complete the project using your submitted concept? Or is that design uniquely your's and therefore is not transferable?

For example, is it necessary to actually spell out in the contract who owns what?

Opinions are welcomed, but would especially appreciate any reference to actual statutes/precedence.

11:35 pm on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Reno,
My company solves this problem by having the client pay a rather large chunk of the negotiated price up front, generally at least 25%. This ensures that the client either will pay the remaining portion at intravals thru the project or they opt out after the intial design phase. Either way we get paid for the work done. As far as copyright we retain a 2.5% ownership of all image and logo work that we do, and that is forever.
11:50 pm on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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There's been good coverage so far for cases where the client opts out or moves on, but what kind of protections or provisions do you make in the event that YOU should want to opt out and discontinue working with a particular client or project?
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