Who owns the Copyright?

A lot of clients ask me about copyright. It can be confusing and some designers treat copyright differently than others.

So let me walk you through a very simple scenario. You have a logo designed and you pay for it, so you own it, right? Well, not exactly. What you paid for was the right to use the artwork as your logo, but not for the copyright. Copyright law states that the creator of artwork, in this case, a logo, owns the copyright in it unless and until they transfer it in writing. To obtain those rights, you have to have a document which makes it either work for hire or which transfers all rights, title and interest in the work.

OK, OK I know this doesn’t sound right but that is the way the law is written. However, a designer can easily transfer the copyright to their client, and they should, with a simple “copyright transfer agreement.” This is something you should talk about with your designer if you don’t have one. If you are a client of Creative Intuition we include in our terms and conditions an automatic copyright transfer to our clients. So no need to worry if you are a client of ours, you own the copyright on work we’ve done for you.

However, fonts and photos are copyrighted and not to the designer but to the company that created them. These are not transferable. So if you have a corporate font in your logo that you want to use in other documents just go to MyFonts.com and purchase the one you need. For photographs, make sure that the designer has licensed the usage properly so that you can use the photo in a brochure as well as on your website or other marketing material. The photo will have to be licensed for each use separately.

This is just a simple example of copyright for a logo, if you want to learn more visit the US Copyright Office website. Speaking of web sites the copyright for a website is different. Click Here for a helpful article pertaining to web site copyright.


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