OWN THE CONTENT YOU OUTSOURCE!
There are countless benefits to outsourcing creation of content for your business, from illustrations and videos for your landing pages that you can have someone do for you on FIVERR.COM – to your logos and marketing materials that you order with professional agencies and studios.
One problem with outsourcing is that unless you have a contract in writing with whoever creates content for you, you will not be the owner of such content. All you end up with is a limited non-exclusive license to use what you paid for.
There are situations when the extra effort to take care of the legalese is just not worth it. This is the case when:
- There is nothing unique about the content or the content is so personal to you that no one else would care to use it;
- You would be OK with your competitors using content that is similar, if not identical, to the content you just paid for;
- You don’t regard the content as an asset that you might want to sell as part of your business at some point.
If none of this applies, you should make sure that you have everything in writing. This addresses three major issues:
- ownership: who will be the legal owner of the intellectual property (IP) in the content you’ve just bought;
- warranties: you want to make sure that if your contractor infringed someone else’s rights and you are sued, that you can go after the contractor;
- derivative works: you want to be clear that you won’t need to use the same contractor if you want to make a few tweaks here and there or if you want to use materials from your website in your offline advertisement. Likewise, you want to make sure that your contractor cannot make a few tweaks and sell your logo and other content to your competitors.
It’s always easier to agree with your contractors on IP issues before any money changes hands.
Unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s never a good idea to use sample agreements you may find on the web. If the project is important to you, always consult an experienced intellectual property lawyer.
For those who prefer to do it themselves in the hope that “everything’s going to be fine if we just use this form”, at least pay attention to the following:
- Always have your agreements in writing (in hardcopy or at least electronically);
- Make sure the contract properly identifies the other party (is it an individual or a company? the party’s full name and address? if the other party is an individual, consider taking a copy of their ID);
- Make sure you own the right to what you are paying for;
- Make sure the contractor undertakes not to create copies of your content for others;
- Make sure the contractor undertakes not to use third party materials (including images, scripts and fonts) unless you OK each such use;
- Make sure the contract contains a provision that will allow you to recover your losses from the contractor if you are sued by a third party whose materials the contractor used without your approval;
- If you are entering into a contract with a company, make sure the company indemnifies you if you are sued by the company’s own disgruntled employees or contractors;
- Make sure you have the right to make modifications to the content without having to hire the same contractor;
- Make sure you have the right to use materials used in the website in your offline marketing materials without having to hire the same contractor, and vice versa.
- Make sure to settle the issue of whether you are required to identify the name of the contractor in association with the content.
Good luck building your businesses.
Copyright & Trademarks Lawyer