Q. As a freelance illustrator, I sometimes get contracts from my clients who say that work is “work for rent”. What is “working for rent”? If I sign, do I lose all my rights to my work? The main reason for a lease work is to make the ownership of creative work explicit. For patents, the inventor owns the property, according to the U.S. PATENT and trademark OFFICE (USPTO). But in most companies, employees who work on patents have to cede ownership of the patent to the company they work for. For independent contractors, signing a Work for Hire Agreement will soothe your client`s mind and assure them that they have the work they paid for. But now, when you look at it, you see four words that you were told were bad news: “The job is done for rent.” You`ve heard that it`s a big no, the copyright equivalent, to sign your firstborn. If you are asked to sign a work made for a rental contract, you may first ask yourself if the situation complies with the legal requirements to qualify as acting work. Often for graphic designers, the answer is probably no. As mentioned above, many contracts have old “boilerplate” of work for the rental language that is no longer viable.
You can explain to your client that the work done for the rental language may not be valid and it would be better to use a legally flawless language relevant to the specific intentions of the client to the use of the artwork. Then you have a discussion about the client`s intentions and negotiate licensing provisions to grant rights to your work that corresponds to those intentions. License all rights for a limited time. If your client insists that he or she needs full rights to your work instead of a user fee regime, you negotiate for these rights to be provided for a limited time. The period should rationally reflect the potential customer market for your work. At the end of that period, all the rights would fall on you. Since the work of employees automatically belongs to their employee, many companies will argue that an independent contractor, such as an independent, should be treated as his or her employee for the purpose of hiring. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has decided that the question of whether an independent contractor qualifies as an employee depends on a rigorous test. (Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730 (1989)).
In this test, the courts must consider several factors in assessing a client`s degree of control over the work of the independent contractor.