Contracts for Creatives | Legal glossary

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Basic Legal Glossary

What does that mean again?

Just in case you need a quick refresher on what a term we use in this guide actually means for your business, we've compiled a list below.

legal rights: That which is deemed just, morally good, proper, or fitting by any governing body.

Intellectual Property: creations of the mind for which exclusive rights are recognized. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs.

Intellectual Property Rights: The right of a person or company to exclusively use its own ideas, plans, and other intangible assets without competition, at least for a certain period of time. Examples of intellectual property include copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. Intellectual property rights may be enforced by court through a lawsuit. The idea behind the protection of intellectual property is to encourage innovation without fear that a competitor may steal the idea and/or take credit for it.

creative work: a tangible manifestation of creative effort such as literature, music, paintings, and software. Creative works have in common a degree of arbitrariness, such that it is improbable that two people would independently create the same work. Creative works are part of property rights.

Ownership: the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land/real estate or intellectual property. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties. The concept of ownership has existed for thousands of years and in all cultures. Over the millennia, however, and across cultures what is considered eligible to be property and how that property is regarded culturally is very different.

exclusive usage rights: the right maintained by any person to use any property (intellectual or otherwise) without fear of competition or usage by another party.

Copyright: a set of exclusive rights granted by the law of a jurisdiction to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work.

Berne Copyright Convention: an international agreement governing copyright, which was first accepted in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886. For extensive details on the Berne Convention, click here.

copyright symbol: Before 1989, all published works in the US had to contain a copyright notice, the © symbol followed by the publication date and copyright owner’s name, to be protected by copyright. This is no longer the case and use of a copyright notice is now optional in the US, though they are still used. In all countries that are members of the Berne Convention, copyright is automatic and need not be obtained through official registration with any government office.

copyright violator: one who breaks or disregards copyright law.

Attorney: A person legally appointed by another to act as his or her agent in the transaction of business, specifically one qualified and licensed to act for plaintiffs and defendants in legal proceedings.

legal advisor (lawyer): A person, who through a regular program of study, is learned in legal matters and has been licensed to practice his or her profession.

Trademark: a distinctive design, picture, emblem, logo or wording (or combination) affixed to goods for sale to identify the manufacturer as the source of the product and to distinguish them from goods sold or made by others. Words that merely name the maker (but without particular lettering) or a generic name for the product are not trademarks.

Work-For-Hire: a work created by an employee as part of his or her job, or a work created on behalf of a client where all parties agree in writing
to the WFH designation. It is an exception to the general rule that the person who actually creates a work is the legally recognized author of that work. According to copyright law in the United States and certain other copyright jurisdictions, if a work is “made for hire”, the employer—not the employee—is considered the legal author. In some countries, this is known as corporate authorship. The incorporated entity serving as an employer may be a corporation or other legal entity, an organization, or an individual.

Independent contractor: a person, business, or corporation that provides goods or services to another entity under terms specified in a contract or within a verbal agreement. Unlike an employee, an independent contractor does not work regularly for an employer but works as and when required, during which time he or she may be subject to the Law of Agency. Independent contractors are usually paid on a freelance basis. Contractors often work through a limited company or franchise, which they themselves own, or may work through an umbrella company.

Freelancer: somebody who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer long term.

Moral right: Specific rights retained by the author of a copyrighted work to maintain the integrity of a work. For example, gives the author the right to be named as the creator of the work even after the copyright to it has been sold.

Preliminary work: Work that you carry out as part of your planning to help you clarify what you want to do and how to go about it. By carrying out a trial experiment/investigation, this will help plan for your main experiment/investigation and will show any faults in your method.

Deliverable: The final assets and resources you and your client agree will be delivered once a project is completed. Usually, sending a client deliverables signifies the completion of the contract term.

Third party content: Content not created by you or your client.

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