Client asks for files

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Old 10 October 2012   #16
Originally Posted by deepshade: Client has just (out of the blue) asked for all C4D files. ie 2 Projects from a couple of years ago. I know they have C4D, but not the capability to make best use of it. That said - they would then have the 'finished articles'. Wasn't part of the initial discussion or agreement.....

....Your thoughts appreciated...


No files should be delivered if you agreed to deliver final product only in terms of images or animations - not the techniques and methods you used to create them. If they insist, and you want to keep the client, provide them with simplified versions, meaning no materials, settings or similar.

Cheers
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Old 11 November 2012   #17
When faced with this type of situation I usually try to please the client and offer them the files for between 40%-60% the cost of the project. At the time of project kickoff this is ALOT easier AND it jacks the sticker price up so they usually dont go for it. Even in my contract I refer to the job as a final output still or animation, timing, file format, and delivery medium. but nothing about geometry or textures. This is a soft sell and some would say misleading, but on the other side of the table i got that all the time. Thats why i have the contract in the first place. If the client ever does try to come back and ask for files I show the contract and say "we never agreed to that."

But even if you give them the files, we all know how easy it is to throw a hidden monkey wrench in there if you really needed to.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #18
Thanks again for feedback.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #19
Hi there,

I am a bit surprised that the response to this thread is so one sided. of corse you can try to get a bit money for the open files but: If a customer doesnt want to work with you he will not work with you. if the customer wants to break up, he will. You will not get him back by trying to force him to stick with you. the only quesion is: what will this do to your reputation. If you are cool and give away the open files maybe for a smal fee, it will not harm you reputation. but if you fight against your former customer.... it certainly can do. So its one time money against reputation.

I am not saying, give it away for free, but i think it is not that simple.

best regards
Jops
 
Old 11 November 2012   #20
Hi Deepshade,
I see it like a photoshoot... You hand over the images yes. But if they then said 'can you leave your lights and camera set up so I can take a few of my own shots in your setup' that would be wrong. Handing over the model is one thing but handing over your materials and lighting know-how so they could make a further series of shots isn't right.

I don't bother with contracts myself. I just give them a scene file buy-out fee if they ask. So if a job was charged at $1000 and then they wanted to produce more images themselves they could buy the scene files for say $750 and make as much stuff as they like.
Everybody's happy.

A builder doesn't hand over his cement mixer.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #21
I have lived through the worst case of giving the client your files....

about 10 years ago I had a friend build a interactive cd-rom for a FILM manufacturing company Demoing there new pre-press system. For us a bunch of freelancers working together it was a HUGE win for us. a $2500 turned into a $20,000. Then the client asked for the build files to "update model numbers and system specs". Turns out they hired 20 people internally and said "make this for ALL OF OUR PRODUCTS". They had every right to do that. BUT we where directly contacted by one of THEIR contractors to help decipher some of our code. Turns out they dropped somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000 DUPLICATING what we did, with OUR work files. Thats money that was taked right out of OUR pockets becouse we played nice and sold the source files for $750.

The silver linning was their project was a disaster from the start. The client came back to us to remake everything they could not....

Then the 2 project managers fired all of us (their 'friends') and hired 5 freelancers and worked on that job for the next 3 years. but thats another story....


Moral(s) of this story:
1. Dont feel bad for getting payed
2. Dont think the OTHER guy is NOT looking to screw you.
3. Dont work with FRIENDS
4. DONT DRINK WHILE POSTING ON A FORUM....ya FAIL

yep.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #22
Originally Posted by ryanduff: Moral(s) of this story:
1. Dont feel bad for getting payed
2. Dont think the OTHER guy is NOT looking to screw you.
3. Dont work with FRIENDS
4. DONT DRINK WHILE POSTING ON A FORUM....ya FAIL


Three out of four has proven to be quite true in my experience, and I don't drink.

Regarding another post about reputation: I would also be cautious about building a reputation for yourself as being a 'walkover'. When I first started out on my own, I used to bend over backwards for my clients at their every whim and fancy. Then in a meeting one day, my client introduced me to another party like this, "...and here's Andrew, he's cheap and fast!"
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Old 11 November 2012   #23
Thumbs up

One other thing tO watch out for:

I was about to sign a contract recently when a producer friend spotted a clause stating that any 'know-how' developed during the project would become the client's property.

My friend explained that this would include the new workflow I had developed for the project (which I had done as part of the pitch, and not part of the commissioned job.) The client would effectively own this process. Though I can't imagine how they would implement it.

So watch out for the 'know-how' trap!

W
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@WillMacNeil_VFX
 
Old 11 November 2012   #24
UK law specifically states that the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for any work belong to the Contractor, unless the contractor is hired to work in the client's office, (because then he's considered somewhat of an employee), or when a contract is signed that surrenders those rights.
I have had this argument with many clients, and I have sold source files very expensively sometimes. I have been called a "thief" and a "blackmailer". But I don't give a crap. Anyone that put's you in that situation, isn't worth it.
A good excuse to get the client off your back is to tell them that the 3D file contains many things that are not your own property. Textures you bought from a library, CANNOT be given to 3rd parties. The same with plugins. Any Xpresso you wrote, is the equivalent of a 3rd party plugin, you don't have to surrender it.
as a last resort, as previously stated, make the files unusable. Heavy subdivision, baked materials, baked animations. One last thing is to tell them that you are "willing" to give the files, but it will take you 3 days to strip out the 3rd party elements you can't give away. Charge them for that as well.

One funny story is with a company featured on This Website (I don't want the name to be visible). They actually asked me "and why don't you give us the Vray plugin?"... they where serious...
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Old 11 November 2012   #25
This is one of the reasons I work with terms and conditions before doing any job. The client is forced to agree with them and it's all very normal and respectable terms. You can have a look at my "small print" here http://www.mayonnaise.tv/82591/terms-conditions. Feel free to copy. Better save then sorry when working in this world.
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Old 11 November 2012   #26
Thanks again folks. Its all useful.

Decision - the assets that are down to proprietary knowledge are not going anywhere.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #27
Originally Posted by Kokosing: One other thing tO watch out for:

I was about to sign a contract recently when a producer friend spotted a clause stating that any 'know-how' developed during the project would become the client's property.

My friend explained that this would include the new workflow I had developed for the project (which I had done as part of the pitch, and not part of the commissioned job.) The client would effectively own this process. Though I can't imagine how they would implement it.

So watch out for the 'know-how' trap!

W


what is written in contracts and what is actually legally valid are two things. i highly doubt the comapany can enforce these claims set in their contracts, especially in the eu. the definition of design patterns is actually quite limited in the eu, but this doesn't keep bigger companies from trying to subvert these rules. prominent example : the german/european telecommunication company Telekom acutally tried to claim the color mangenta as a specific brand pattern of them (2000-2004). in the end they failed.

ontopic : i do not think simply saying 'no you can't' is a very smart choice. explaining why the request is inappropriate and offering solutions is a much smarter choice, regardless whether the request was intentionally done to take advantage of you or was made out of inexperience.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #28
There is lots of valuable information in this thread. Better to have a clear plan in place before someone asks for any source files and a well defined contract. If the client can't understand your valid business reasons, then they probably will be of little value to you in the future.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #29
two stories from me not much harm but still valuable lessons:

Story 1:

I did some animation work of a huge property some years ago, the company did hire us as freelancers because there expertise was in real live models. They thought they would cut time for us and demanded the architecture models from the Archviz company which of course played the time card and crippled the files and chraged a lot off money (I could have earned for low poly re-modelling). I did mention several times that I need to remodel a lot of stuff anyway and why do all the hustle with the Archviz company. I am way faster in modelling low poly stuff. Anyway we waited 4 weeks for the files and i did remodel 50% to do the animations. Losse, loose, loose on all three ends somehow.

Story 2:

I asked for a small scene file just because I wanted to be consistent in presentation of our products and I asked nicely with the opportunity to opt out for the Visualization Company. But I guess even though I asked nice, our marketing was playing hardball. I got the files, but i need to do a lot of rework. So sometimes its the people and the way supplier's are treated by the money and marketing guys.

my two cents
kind regards
mogh
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Old 11 November 2012   #30
Just my 2 ... Contracts, briefs, handshakes, friends, agencies, etc.,
matter not, as those without integrity and honor will do their evil
no matter what.

Greed is more rampant and evident than ever before, all under the
guise of "doing business" ... "nothing personal" they say, as they dare
you to file suit against them. ( Just remember, that winning a judgement
does not guarantee payment.)


After 3 decades in this business, going from T-Squares and ruling pens
to i5 / i7 computers and terabyte HDs, has shown me that sometimes you
win ... and sometimes you lose ... but at what price ... time will tell.
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David

iMac 3.06 ghz Intel Core 2 Duo / 16 GB / OS 10.9.5 / C4D StudioR12 / CS6

R.I.P. 11.02.11 ... my dear friend .
 
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