Web design contracts

LeeGolding
LeeGolding used Ask the Experts™
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I'm a self employed web designer / developer.

Should I let my clients have the original design files including Photoshop and Fireworks files?

I understand this is not normal practice, but I have a potential client that won't agree to the quote unless he can have access to these additional files.

When the site is completed all copyrights will be transferred to him of course. He is arguing the this includes design files.

I don't think he should have them as he may use them to create new websites off the same template without my knowledge.

First complete answer gets the points.

Thanks,

Lee.
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Commented:
Well I ran into this problem once before myself. It's really up to you whether or not it is worth giving up your code, but when I did do it because the client insisted on it I charged a processing fee for providing the code and wrote a contract that disallowed him or any entities under his control to use it for profit or even non-profit use with out my consent. The source of page from a design perspective is always available to them so you really aren't losing out on too much. What you do lose out on is the server-side code. It is important to some businesses to know what they will be running on their servers. For example my client wanted to make certain there was no code that would 'break' my app once in a while so i could collect more support money. Either way, it is common for code to be made available at an extra cost to the client, but only if the contract is worth the time and the price is right. Others may say that all code should be open-source, but ya know.. it can't always be that way.

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the info from a code point of view.

But I was thinking from a design point of view and whether giving a client the copyright to the design gives them a right to have the source Photoshop and Fireworks design files. If they did, there is the risk of them selling the design concept on to it's customers!! Something I don't want after the hard work I put into creating it.

I guess I could write a agreement claus (I use a agreement that they have to agree to by replying to the email), that gives them the copyright, but they can't rebrand it and use the design to sell it to it's customers.

Lee.
Commented:
Oh I see. Well I have also run into this problem with the same client oddly enough. So I sold it to them as a logo and allowed to only use it with certain colors and I charge a fair amount of all the templated work in photoshop. With the flash movie for the introduction they wanted the same thing, but the price I was asking was more than they were willing to pay for it, but you're right a lot of work goes into these types of things and selling it off is a hard thing to do. They ended up buying the 'logos' with the design files, but not the design files for the movie. You can register the logo online with a trademark and everything. When they seem the extra cost that you have to pass on to them maybe they will change their mind about wanting those things, but it is your intellectual property and you are the person who spent those hours in front of the computer to make it easy to replicate, so price it what its worth.
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Commented:
And a contract is necessary to prevent the reuse of it, that is what they are for... everytime you install software there is a terms and conditions box you click for this exact reason.
If they get the compyright when they sign-off the site, but I put in a clause in the inital agreement that they can't sell on the design concept (layout, navigation, colour scheme) to any customers to be used for profit or non profit purposes, does this stop them legally selling the design on as their own?

Thanks,

Lee.
See it works this way. first of all, the template that you developed was developed for HIM and is not a standardized product. he has paid you to develop the template. in this case he owns all the source files as well as the template and he is free to distribute it as he deems fit. obviously he cannot stop you from selling it to another client or to recreate it.

both you and your client do not hold exclusive copyright to the design if not agreed beforehand.
its best to give him the source. had it been a standardized product, then he would have been bound by its user terms and conditions. but since he has paid for it, its his property.

Author

Commented:
Anyone else have any opinions on this please?

Lee.

Author

Commented:
Sorry these answers are not helpful to me. But thank you for your time regardless.

Lee.

Commented:
It would have been kinda hard for anyone to say anything because you never said what is wrong with the above answers...

If you want it deleted - please follow the link in my previous comment.

Author

Commented:
The answers began as script and coding copyright related. I was only interested in design copyrights. I guess a question like this has several possible opinions, therefore I can't accept any particular answer.

Commented:
hahaha!!!

@ I guess a question like this has several possible opinions, therefore I can't accept any particular answer.
I've seen some designers who sell the whole package.  It's not a big deal to them, because they still get called back to do more artwork.

I'm a coder.  When I code, I always sell everything including sources (if there are sources) and some development tools used to produce the site.  If they wish to resell it, that's fine with me.  (Some code is public domain and other is LGPL... so they can't sell those that well.)  The idea is to charge accordingly.  The stuff I wish to prevent them from "controlling", instead of making it hard to use, I just make it "free".  This negates the "capital" value of the code, leaving only the expenses of maintaining the code -- that is labor.

I'm not sure that would apply to art, because it's relatively easy for other artists to use your artwork to produce duplicates or modified versions.

A possible workaround for artwork is to sell your artwork concept separate from the actual work.  Create a simple "clip art" or "template" from it.   So, you can resell your work, and also reduce its value to your clients -- but at the same time, if they wish to have an exclusive on it, charge them a more.  Then, charge separately for adapting the artwork for different situations.

You can also lease the copyright to the client, and allow them to resell everything but the source.  Add a non-compete clause so only they will retail the work, and you won't compete with them.  Let them "use it up" and the rights go back to you eventually.
Commented:
I've been on both sides of this discussion, the coder/designer and the client purchasing a site design.  As a client I expect access to the design files as I want to be able to modify my site on my own without having to go back to the web developer for every little thing.  however, I understand that I will pay more for this right.

As a coder, I want to get paid for my work and possibly for more work in the future.  However, the fact of the matter is, the client paid me for my time.  As long as I didn't charge some kind of discounted rate, then why shouldn't they get all the 'products of my time'.  If you treat the client right they will come back for more work later.  Again, as a coder, you'll never keep a client by holding a license or some obtuse contract over their head.  you're going to get repeat clients from doing good work and treating them fairly.

Protecting yourself from them selling your work as their own is something else however.  You definitely need to have something in there saying they either Can or Cannot resell this work as their own, or they must include/don't have to include your credits on the page, etc.  Again, if they want full rights for it they pay a higher rate, but as long as they pay for the time / materials, why shouldn't they get them?

Just to be clear, I'm talking about coding/web design here that is customer specific.  not a product you are building for one client, but could possibly sell to many other clients with little to no work.  In that case then you will most likely want to hang on to your source, but offer them a significant price discount.

Commented:
Zippit,

This question is 30+ months old.. I doubt that the asker still needs help :)
When u give the file they may help you.
or some more suggestion can be get form them
.

Commented:
Can we close this question?

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