Who owns freelance work and how much is it worth?

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  08 August 2014
Who owns freelance work and how much is it worth?

Hey Everyone,

I tried searching for answers to this, but nothing quite fits my situation. I'd love to know all your thoughts on this.

I'm a modeler and sculptor mostly doing work for 3D printing. let's say that a client comes to me with a concept drawing that is based on their own copyrighted image and they want it modeled exactly and prepped for printing. I'm wondering what kind of rights or ownership I should expect to have over the printed model or digital file. Is there an ownership that I would have over the 3D model that could be separated from the concept?

Obviously if I'm designing something new I would have owner ship of everything and could charge more or negotiate a royalty agreement or something, but if I'm just executing their concept do I actually own any resulting models?

Or what if I were to design a new sculpture based on a copyrighted character for the owner of that character? I wouldn't own the character, but would I own the pose or sculpture or interpretation?

And how does one calculate the value of the various levels of ownership that I might have?

Any input you all could give would be very helpful!

Ten out of ten for style,
Minus several million for good thinking.
  08 August 2014
You always own the work that you do, the contract determines what the client can do with it. The usual case is that you provide renders and keep ownership of the source files yourself. For 3D printing it might be complicated though since you actually have to provide a printable 3D file for them to use. You could place a restriction in the contract for what they can use it for, but that might be difficult for you to enforce.
I would price things based off the assumption that you are selling them a file. Since it's not going to be designed for other things like rendering, then they'd still have to do more work to get it ready for that point.
The Z-Axis
  08 August 2014
I would think you'd own whatever your contract says you own. Any ownership or rights issues should be spelled out carefully in your contracts. Just guessing here, but if someone comes to you with a copyrighted character/object and all you do is model it for 3d printing, why would that entitle you to any ownership of said character?

  08 August 2014
The rules I go by are: You own everything you design and create and nothing you copy or replicate. Not so long ago certain big car manufacturers prohibited the sale of replications of their products. All rules may be broken depending on how long you are able to stay in court. This isnt always true but big industry will always win if it is profitable to do so. The stuff you designed to sell to your clients is yours forever, you just dont claim on the rights because mostly you want happy customers and more business. If you are looking for a scale to charge by you can only research set rates provided by your local guild. Other than that its the same answer to all questions about 'how much do I charge' the people and circumstance vary so wildly that there usually isnt a useful answer to be found beyond general personal principle.

This keeps coming back but I am amazed that people that copy a design regardless of the difficulty of doing that feel they somehow own rights to that copy and may sell and make claims on it.
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
Characters, Games, Toys
  08 August 2014
Originally Posted by Kanga: The rules I go by are: You own everything you design and create and nothing you copy or replicate.

Great motto to keep your head straight. You'll see this a lot in the automotive and aviation industries. If you model or paint something based on someone else's IP (Intellectual Property), they can have a serious impact on your distribution and any revenue generating activities in which you may partake. After all, you would be making money off their IP.

For the original author of this thread, you would own the rights to your asset, but you may not own the right to sell it to others or derivative works based on the original IP.

For those of you that are actually serious about what you would and would not own, you should seek out connections with IP attorneys. In the end, that is who will be fighting it out for you and/or against you if the poop hits the fan and issues cannot be resolved between the two creators
  09 September 2014
At the end of the day, the guy is paying you to create something for him to own - so whatever you charge should be based on that.

Normally for CGI work I let them have the output, but the files I use to create them are mine.

If he's paying you to make a mould for a toy or whatever he's not interested in you having royalties; I would find an artist that passes everything over to my ownership otherwise it'd be a legal minefield down the way.

If you want to design a character, design a character - if you're designing a character to spec for some job its not really your thing is it?
www.jd3d.co.uk - I'm available for freelance work.
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