8 replies
I'm in the UK. I've been awarded a very large copywriting project, which will involve me using at least one other writer to write multiple web pages (the client knows this). The client's lawyers want me to sign an agreement saying that I own the IPR until full payment has been made, at which point the copyright passes over to them.

I have no problem transferring the copyright after payment (which is standard practice). However, I've never been asked to do an agreement like this before, and the implication seems to me that this is more about protecting themselves from copyright infringement. That is if someone decides what's been written is too close to something of theirs, I'm the one who gets sued.

Now, I'm not going to just copy and paste someone else's work. But I'm going to be relying on what the client supplies me and I don't know where they're getting it from. I'm also going to be relying on what another copywriter produces for a large chunk of the project. Copyright is also a grey area - just how much of someone else's information do you have to change for it to be considered your own?

Surely if I'm doing work direct for the end client, it's up to them to be satisfied with what they put on their website? (If it was via a third party like a web designer it might be different.)

I've certainly never been asked to sign an agreement like this before. I'd be interested to hear suggestions/experience from other UK copywriters, or indeed from those from other countries.
#copyright #copywriting #ipr
  • Hi Ideaswise,

    I've done plenty of copy writing in the UK and worldwide and have never been asked to sign such an agreement. It is you that should have the client sign YOUR agreement.

    My advice would be to run away from this as fast as you can, before you are deafened by the alarm bells.

    Because it sounds to me like you're going to be involved in this for ever more, in endless discussion with lawyers and 'committees'. There are plenty of other copy writing jobs out there, without all that hassle. So, don't be dazzled by the fact this is a BIG project, cuz I feel it will turn into a BIG headache for you.

    Good luck!

    Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author Ideaswise
    Thanks Paul. It's certainly got me thinking. Anyone else have any comments?
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  • Profile picture of the author DanielleLynnCopy
    Hi Idea,

    I'm with Paul in that if I get any warning bells ringing in the negotiations, I immediately thank them for their time and move on.

    I can't advise you on whether or not to take the project, but I would seriously suggest considering what it will be like to work with people who put up this much red tape at the start.

    Good luck!
    Danielle
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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    Why don't you ask them to include a clause exluding the information they supply?

    The reason being they can't honestly give you info to use and then expect you to not use it.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    These guys are lawyers... you can't find them. They won't give you anything unless they know it fully protects them.

    As Paul said, they should be signing your agreement.

    I'd walk away if I were you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ideaswise
      In the end I turned them down. Too much risk and worry. And I'm glad I did - other work coming in (much of which I would have had to turn down had I taken on the big one).
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  • Profile picture of the author GlobalMedia
    Nice to see that you have taken the correct decision ultimately. This post was surely a useful one as it made us aware of one of the professional tactic which companies are using these days in order to sue us (ofcourse, if we sign the agreement).
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