The Importance of the IP Clause in WFH Contracts
Do you have someone creating content for you? A writer, designer, video producer, or developer? If so, you want to be sure that ownership of that content is very clear. I see a lot of small businesses make mistakes around this issue – including a big mistake I made early on in running my own business.
Unless you have a specific IP clause in your contract that assigns the rights to you instead, you don’t own the rights to the content. It doesn’t matter if the work is done on your behalf. It doesn’t matter if you’ve paid them. It doesn’t matter if you have a verbal agreement.
Your content is a business asset. Ownership of any of your business assets has to be very clear. Episode 112 is about the risks of not having an IP clause in your work-for-hire contracts.
Under U.S. copyright law, any work created is automatically covered under an All Rights Reserved license, for the life of the creator plus 70 years – whether they want those rights or not. Here’s one of my favorite resources for the legal issues around digital content: Web Site Legal Issues by Daniel A. Tysver, published by BitLaw.
I’ve been talking about contracts over the past few episodes – especially in making them fair to both sides. Here are the links I mentioned in the episode:
- Contracts Are Not a Trap – Make It Low-Risk and High-Upside
- Don’t Force Dependency – The Customer Is Always Free to Go
Clear ownership of your assets is really key – especially if you ever intend to sell your business. I invited Jock Purtle, CEO and Founder of DigitalExits, to write a guest post on the topic: How an Exit Strategy Can Help Build Your Business Now.
DISCLAIMER: This episode and associated content are intended for informational purposes only. They should not be construed as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney.