Sep 30

Are You Stealing Your Logo?

This is a straight-shooting message about intellectual property rights by Maria Marsala, reprinted with permission.  She says it perfectly, so we’ll let her do her thing.  Enjoy!

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Are You Stealing Your Logo?
by Maria Marsala, Elevating Your Business

It’s scary to me, the number of business owners who don’t know much about the laws regarding the work that other contractors are doing for them.

Do you know, for instance, that you do not own much of the work others do for you!  I’m referring to copywriters, graphic artists, web designers, photographers, etc., those who create things for you, your business or even a non-profit organization “own the rights to them.”  Yes, the logo they create for you, they own.  Didn’t realize that?  Even a contract a lawyer creates for you – you can’t just give to a friend to use!  Read on.

It’s the law.  Read more about a recent lawsuit won by a photographer who recently won $1.32 million in a copyright-infringement lawsuit.

What you can do if you create such work.  All my clients want long-standing clients.  So as part of the initial consultation, they tell every client about this law.  Some even give them an article on the subject during the initial contact.

Why?  Because a majority of the business owners don’t know anything about this and the size of the business doesn’t matter (see below).

Include this in your contract.  Offer to sell clients the rights by charging an additional fee if the client wants the “rights.”

What can business owners do?  Know the laws around the work that others are doing for you.  Not knowing won’t get you off the hook.  Ask the questions “Will I own the rights to use this?” and “Can I change this and use it any way I want including allowing someone else to use it?”  If you don’t own the rights, and someone creates a logo for your website, you can’t put that logo on your stationary or change it — size, colors etc. – unless you own the rights.

Even large companies don’t know all about the laws.  A multi-million mega dollar training/coaching company that I worked for a few years ago had the best photos and graphics in their eNewsletter.  After contacting them to learn their source, I learned that they were stealing the photos from all over the Internet!  I told them so and unsubscribed from the newsletter.

© 2007 Maria Marsala, a former Wall Street Fortune 300 executive, is a business therapist, author and speaker.  She helps small business owners earn more, work smarter, create profit by producing services/informational products, and live great lives.  Receive  FREE Business Tools.