Intellectual Property & Freelancers

The web makes it easy to steal images, words and even designs, but in reality, the web also makes it easy to catch plagiarizers. Let’s say a student steals a paper online. By simply typing in a sentence or two of a research paper into a search engine, a teacher or professor could catch a plagiarizer.

Plagiarizing is of course stealing work without giving someone credit.

For freelance writers and designers, this idea gets tricky because of money and contracts. A freelance designer might have a graphic they created online somewhere without their credit, but they were paid in lieu of this credit.

The history of intellectual property and the rights of freelancers is important to know for those in the field of emerging media, especially freelance writers and freelance web designers.

For freelancers, the issue of intellectual property is really up to the contract and those involved. If someone designed an ad or a logo for a client, who does that really belong to? It’s a toss up. In fact, different resources state different facts, so two parties could easily fight over who owns what aspects. It is always better to have a statement explaining a company’s thoughts behind  intellectual property before beginning work for them. This can help prevent headaches, unnecessary arguments and even lawsuits if done properly.

Social media can even create intellectual property issues. For example, with Facebook, even if you “quit” your page, your personal information is still kept and truly never goes away.

What is your opinion on intellectual property? Is it right for a designer to own their work even if they have been paid for it?


About nicolehagy

I am a marketing professional living in Northeast Ohio. I enjoy playing tennis, learning new things and traveling.
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3 Responses to Intellectual Property & Freelancers

  1. Lisa Sands says:

    Nicole, it seems to me that in most cases the person who creates the work (such as a copy writer or designer) does not own the work, but the company for whom they work does. In my experience this has been the case, but the creator can always claim credit for the work, they can not repurpose it.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hi Nicole –

    I would say that a designer owns their own work even if they were paid for it. But, there should be some sort of contract laid out explaining what the expectations are of each party. I think if something is used in error, as long as there is discontinued use once it has been discovered to be a problem, that should suffice.

  3. Pingback: Benefits of Hiring Freelancers | Emerging Media & Market Ramblings

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