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Do you sell Logos or Graphics? Then here is the skinny on what you should know


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I see a lot of discussion on this issue here within the Forum and figured I’d contribute a little topic to help clear up some Myths.

Let’s take a sample gig.

" I will design you a logo for $5 "

Now, sellers, here is what you should know.

  • The buyer owns all rights to your image/design.
  • The buyer can use it however they want.
  • The buyer can sell it or license it.
  • Having a disclaimer saying otherwise DOES NOT matter.

    Why is this? I’ll explain.

    Once you design a logo to someone’s specifications and money changes hands it becomes theirs. You can NOT stipulate how they use it or what they do with it. You effectively become a sub contractor. Picture this. If I designed the logo that ‘Coca-Cola’ uses I could not sue them now for altering, re-selling or doing what they want with it. Why? Because it was designed for them to use.

    Now, here’s where all the confusion comes in.

    If you have a gig that says…

    " I will let you pick/use a Logo from my portfolio for $5 "

    Then, you still own the rights and are simply licensing some of your work for a set cause.

    I keep seeing discussions on people getting mad their designs/graphics are being re-sold or used for… well… whatever the buyer wants. The truth is that once you actually create something to someone elses specifications it becomes theirs, not yours. It doesn’t matter what kind of disclaimer you write on the gig.

    So. Points to take home…

  • If you design a logo for someone else it’s theirs to do with what they will. You’ve become a subcontractor working towards someone elses blueprint.

  • If you let someone CHOOSE a logo from pre-existing ones you have created you still own the rights.

    If you are uneasy about this than you shouldn’t be selling your art.

    Feel free to discuss or debate but the law is the law and none of use can change it. Questions or scenarios are great. I’ll try and answer what I can.

    ( I should also note that although I’m not a lawyer, my real life job focuses on this type of thing and intellectual property right cases are rampant. So I do have a understanding of this system… somewhat )
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Yeah what you say is correct, I design basic logos for clients outside of fiverr (i’m not good enough to do it in Fiverr) but I know in the future I will be outsourcing for my clients to have professional logo’s and Fiverr will be the place.

I’d be more than happy to have a business relationship with a trusworthy and reliable seller that makes logo’s and I would bulk order, but I wouldn’t wan’t a discount I would actually pay MORE than a normal sale per logo, so that I get priority in revisions so that my clients are 100% satisfied.

If you are a seller that is interested in that drop me a line 🙂

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Hey @bigbadbilly

Some great information in your post however a few thing which are not correct, each country will have it’s own laws on copyright the law in the UK stipulates in the Copyright Designs and Patents act that:

Copyright will automatically belong to the creator of the work, unless they:

1: Are creating this work as part of normal employment - in which case copyright will belong to the employer. Note: The employer really means the employer (i.e. the company that pays the PAYE/NI contributions provides the P60/P45, etc) - freelance work does not count.

2: Have agreed as part of the contract or terms of service to hand over ownership of copyright. (which fiverr do automatically unless stipulated)

Fiverr follows the U.S. Copyright Act which follows the same set of rules othat copyright is assigned to the creator unless is is waived the Fiverr TOS automatically apply’s this waiver unless it is stipulated in the gig description.

From the TOS:

Ownership and limitations: unless clearly stated otherwise in the Gig description text

, when the work is delivered, the buyer is granted all intellectual property rights, including but not limited to, copyrights for the work delivered from the seller and the seller waives any and all moral rights therein. For removal of doubt, in custom created work (such as art work, design work, report generation etc.), the delivered service shall be the exclusive property of buyer. The seller expressly agrees to assign to buyer the copyright in any delivered services that do not meet the requirements of a work-for-hire under the U.S. Copyright Act. Additionally, independent of the U.S. Copyright Act, the seller agrees that unless he indicated otherwise in the Gig description, once the order is completed the seller assigns along with it to the buyer, to the fullest extent possible under the law, all of its rights, title and interest, if any, in and to the delivered service and waives any and all moral rights in connection therewith.

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Hey Ozzieuk. Excellent post. (As always).

Anyhow. The Fiverr TOS is a protection for them, but basically just their “House rules” and wouldn’t apply in court. Disclaimer or not.

But, you are totally right about each Country having slightly conflicting rules. For example, here in Canada I can mail myself a copy of something, not open it and that would be considered a Copywritten document since it would be stamped by the post office and dated. (So long as it’s un-opened)

But, with US law here’s where things get a little… sticky.

Graphics, design all fall into the realm of Entertainment law. Which is slightly different than the normal ball of wax. This is also the realm of protected intellectual property rights and so on.

In this field most designers are freelance. About 70% of them. These are also the same people who freelance advertising for say… large companies. Think about Logos and images on Billboards, TV… etc, etc. Most of these artists/designers are hired on a 'Campaign and then thrown back into the business to seek new employment.

So, this was one of the reasons Entertainment law is slightly different and has some slightly altered rules. Altered because of the industry they seek to protect.

Anyhow. That’s the explanation. And now back to the original post, which is: “As long as the design is created according to the contractors design specifications, then all property rights are bestowed upon the contractor.”.

  • It’s a bit confusing because of the difference between licensing and creation. -

    Licensing is renting out pre-existing intellectual property.

    Contracting is being paid a sum to create property for someone else.

    As for Fiverr being the ‘Middleman’, this is recognized and Fiverr would simply be treated as “The Witness” to the sale.

    Sorry guys. This isn’t my idea of the rules, this is the way it is.

    So. How do I know all this stuff? I mentioned that I am involved in a business that is full of these kind of court cases. I work in the film industry. The cornerstone of which is intellectual property rights. Every day someones suing someone over images, sound and scripts.
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I went through a very simliar case a few months back. I work on occasion as a freelance photographer and did a shoot of some cute cats which belonged to a friend of mine. A limited licence was granted to a specific company for them to use on their pet product packaging and they paid their licence fee for the first year and for a specific amount of print runs, the second year came round and they flat refused and claimed fair use. It ended up in a litigation battle in the end they tried to prove copyright but me holding the Digital Negatives as creator gave me precedent, but yeah different rules for different schools.

One of the issues I can see here on Fiverr is the use of licensed media that either a seller has bought or just grabbed online for use in works, a lot of these logo designers / graphics designers use these templates in their work and really don’t have the right to assign copyright to a third party but none the less they do so anyway and do not inform the buyer “Ouch” a lot of these from Graphic River as you’ll know, I have seen a few peeved sellers over there in their community. But it is a very complex matter, there should be clear processes here when creating works such as assigning the work to the buyer by way of check box / agreement that way everybody receives a bit of clarity.

Cute Cat 🙂

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@ozzieuk - Ya. It is complex. And that must have sucked for you. LOL

The only thing I can think is that photo’s, because they’re of real things… maybe… have slightly different rules than sketches, computer graphics and text design. Since you have the negatives and it’s a photograph… I don’t know. I just know in regards to graphic design. I see a lot of litigation involving independent film logo’s. Example being say… The title graphic logo, etc, etc. And most times it’s thrown out of court or doesn’t reach court because of the reasons I stated above.

Again, different smaller laws comprise the larger blanket laws.

(I also have to re-state I am not a lawyer. Just going by what I see all the time via cases.)

Ha ha. It would be cool to have an actual Entertainment lawyer join the forum and tell us how it is. Both for Canadian and US law).

Nice pic BTW.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was passing by and just had to write something on this article… I was having some work created for me on Freelancer a few months ago, ( php script) and the guy who I hired said to me, once he finished the work, he owns the rights to the script and had the right to sell it even though I invented the idea?? Crazy hey… But there are plans and protections you can put into place before you hire one of these jokers… A small contract of ownership and deed to your own work should cover you from any problems. regarding Logo design, Well this is another headache, I hired another joker to create me a unique logo once, only to discover he had sold the same logo to about 50 other businesses… Mmm… Maybe not… If you are thinking of selling a logo design service on fiverr. I recommend you create your own logos from scratch or use an open graphic source psd logo website like: http://mintlogos.com stating to your customer everything…

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