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Avoiding Copyright Issues with Your Business Logo and Website

Avoiding Copyright Issues

There are many small businesses that actually do not own the copyrights to their business logo and website. This is a common issue for those who hire someone else to design their logo and website. Copyright attorney Briana Robertson gives legal tips on Avoiding Copyright Issues with Your Business Logo and Website.

When new entrepreneurs begin the process of opening a business they typically do not know how to create their own logo and website. They want the design of each to give their business a professional look. This leads them to hire someone else to do the work for them, this could be a friend, a marketing company, or a freelance designer. The problem with hiring someone else to do this for you is that you may not actually own the rights to your logo and website. This is because of the law of copyright, which states that the person who creates the work or product is the one who actually owns the copyright to that work. This means whoever is creating the website, creating advertising, flyers, or the company logo is the one who owns the copyright to that work, not the one who is paying for it. This means that they can dictate how the website, logo, or any other created designs can be used because they own the copyright to these items. In addition, they could request a royalty from any funds that you receive from their work. They could ask for a portion of your funds received because they own the copyright to the creative work you used to generate them. For these reasons, if you decide to hire a digital marketing company or anyone else to design and create your website or other creative work, you will likely find that there are stipulations within the contract. Within these stipulations you may find it says, you have to stay with their company for a year and after a year they will release the copyright for you to do with it what you please. However, if you do not stay for a year with that company or person then you will no longer own your website and will have to start over from scratch. This is completely legal for them to do because they own the copyright to that work. There was a contract with clear stipulations and therefore there is nothing you could do about it. How do you avoid copyright issues for your business logo, website, or creative designs? The simplest way to avoid copyright issues is to have a copyright assignment agreement or a work-for-hire agreement. Typically, you will want to have this completed prior to any work being started. A work-for-hire agreement essentially says that the company or individual is working for your company in a specified capacity, such as website design, logo design, marketing materials, etc. It states that any intellectual property rights that the hired company or individual may have automatically transfer from the hired company/individual to the hiring company/individual. When getting a work-for-hire agreement prior to any work beginning will avoid any future copyright issues. A copyright assignment agreement is created after work has begun. Essentially this agreement is to transfer over the rights for any creative work they may have already created for you. It is to sign over full ownership of the works to you and allows you to use the work in whatever way you choose for your business. Nothing is worse than hiring someone to create these types of work and finding out that you cannot use them because of a copyright issue. Whenever you’re looking to hire a marketing company or individual to help create your ads, flyers, website, logo, and so on you need to be sure that you protect yourself with a work-for-hire contract or copyright assignment agreement. This will ensure you have ownership of the marketing materials created for your business and you will be able to use them as you see fit. Essentially you want to be sure you own the rights to all creative works you have hired the company or individual to create for you.

One last important note is to be sure you are signing the copyright contracts or agreements in your business name. After all, it is actually your business and not you that you want to own the creative works completed by the hired party. This is exceptionally true for an LLC business. You will want your business to be the one that holds ownership of all these creative works. A benefit of having your business hold the ownership and rights to the creative works is that you can then copyright the works for your business so no one else is able to use them for their own gain. For example, if you hire someone to create a logo for you and your business holds ownership of the rights then you can also trademark your logo to ensure no one else uses the logo. The Law Office of Briana Robertson wants to help you make sure your business is legally protected and stays legally protected and this includes that you hold full ownership of all items pertaining to your business.

If you or someone you know are new to business ownership and need advice and direction on how to legally protect it reach out to Entrepreneurship Attorney Briana Robertson by scheduling a consultation today.

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