Part 1

What are my rights?

As a creative, you have inherent rights. So does the person you're working with.

The first step in creating successful contracts is to understand your rights as a creative professional.

That’s right; even without signing a contract, you have legal rights that protect your work from being stolen, copied, or used without permission.

These are called intellectual rights.

Intellectual copyright law essentially protects your ideas and the physical execution of those ideas from being stolen. At its most basic definition, it protects anything valuable that comes from your intellect, hence the name.

Even without a contract, you have rights that keep your work from being stolen, copied, or used without permission.

So when you design a logo, write a blog post, or draft a marketing plan for yourself, the law is very clear about who owns that resource.

You do.

But when you’re designing a logo or web site, writing an essay, or doing any other creative work for a client, things can get sticky.

Do you own the creative work? Can you use it whenever and wherever you’d like?

Or does your client own all rights and permissions to the use and display the work?

The answer is: that’s why you need a contract.

Contracts (even simple ones) help define ownership on intellectual property. They define ownership, dates, expectations and much more.

In Part 7 of this guide, take advantage of one more bonus I’ve included: a few contract templates you can modify and adjust to your needs. These templates will help you act on all of the information we cover in this book and ensure your intellectual property is protected and owned by the right person upon completion.

Never let your client (or anyone else) tell you that because they pay you for your work, that they have complete ownership and exclusive usage rights to your designs, written work, or creative production.

Payment does not necessarily equal ownership transfer.

In the upcoming chapters we’ll discuss what legal rights you have as a creative professional, why drafting a contract is vital for your creative business, and how to make the most of your contract.

What is copyright?