From Freelance/Austin, Emily Morris reviews some of the challenges freelancers face regarding who owns intellectual property. Emily reviews different contracts that freelancers might encounter including:
Independent Contractor Agreements
Independent contractor agreements apply to a variety of project-based professional relationships, including service providers who perform actual work for your clients (ex: another writer you hire to draft an article for a client under your company’s name) and those you hire to do a specific job, but who won’t act as an extension of your company by performing work for your clients (ex: a web designer you hire to build your company’s website).
If you’re the one doing the hiring (principal), you want to make clear that any creations that come about in the course of the project your contractor (agent) is working on belong to you. For instance, if you outsource a graphic designer to create a logo for one of your clients, you need to clarify who ultimately owns the logo once it’s complete – your company, the designer, or the client. You may want to offer the client the ability to use the logo however they want in the course of their business, but only after paying your fee in full. You may also want to preserve the ability for you and the designer to feature the completed logo in a portfolio of your work.
If you are the contractor, study the agreement to determine whether your creations on behalf of the principal will be owned by you or the principal. If they will be owned by the principal, check whether you will be able to use the creations in your portfolio as examples of past work. Verify that any other work that you do outside of this relationship belongs to you and not to the principal or their clients.