Contracts, Copyrights & Web-Related Services

    January 8, 2007

What’s the deal with contracts, copyrights and Web-Related Services?

You’d think the answer to this question would be simple-always sign a contract, period- but it isn’t.

While this question applies over a broad spectrum of fields, it is especially ambiguous in the freelance world. This series of articles is geared towards individuals or companies looking to hire service providers like web designers, copywriters and internet marketers on a contract or freelance basis.

Too often, there seems to be a strange reluctance between service providers and clients to sign a contract. Why? Only they can answer that question. Maybe they don’t want to be locked in, or feel like they’re obligated (which is a little silly, considering the situation). Maybe they really trust the person and feel like a contract isn’t needed, or perhaps they want to keep things open. Maybe one person feels like its an insult to the integrity of the other to request a contract. There are any number of reasons, but the bottom line is that a contract is completely necessary; furthermore, it is in the best interests of both parties to negotiate an agreement.

A contract is simply a way of outlining everything you’re going to be doing, who gets to keep the copyright, for how long and ______ fill in the blank. A contract for copyright is especially integral, as this is often a huge point of dispute between service providers and clients.

I’m going to be writing two installments: one for clients looking for work and one for services providers. I’ll provide links to places with templates and examples, and generally talk about best practice when it comes to contract and copyrights for buyers and sellers. A shorter third installment will talk about the benefits of a written contract to all parties involved.

I imagine that anyone who’s ever contracted out for services has dealt with this issue at least once. On the web, it seems to come up a lot with services like web and graphic design, copywriting and many other mediums where copyrighted materials are involved.

More on the copyrights and contracts series:




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About the Author

Aurora Brown is the editor and head copywriter for Social Media Systems online marketing company and specializes in producing powerful, accessible content for the web. She co-authors the 3net Search Engine Marketing Blog and is working on her first novel.