View Full Version : Signing over copyrights of model (s) and/or images

02-11-2010, 09:24 PM
Here's a thought provoking question!

Is it standard procedure to sign over the copyright (s) of a model (s) and/or an image (s) that one has built and/or photographed/drawn as part of a freelance assignment?

If so, or not, how would you suggest this kind of thing be stated in the contract?

All feedback is appreciated in advance.

02-11-2010, 09:56 PM
If you were hired to design something or model an existing design. Then the work is paid for as being a "commissioned" work. ESPECIALLY if you are freelance. You wouldn't have modeled it otherwise, would you? Many companies may require a Non Disclosure Agreement which further states you can't talk about or show your work in any fashion. This could be until a certain date or in perpetuity.

Also large corporations (such as Disney) claim that any idea/design you come up with while working for them is property of the company. And there is a clause to that effect in the employment contract.

02-11-2010, 10:07 PM
As Dexter said, it really depends on the contract you have with them.

Thus far I've learnt a number of things while doing freelance, and for this exact situation:

Depends on whether they commission the work and submission of the model. If it's just a rendered image or video of the model, well, that's all they get.

I had one instance where I was tasked with creating models, as a sub-contractor, and then that next artist (the one with the contract for the big dudes), was only commissioned to create a rendered video. No assets to be supplied. If they were needed, he would scale up the cost. That is what I generally do if it's something rather tedious and difficult to do - Scale the price accordingly.

jin choung
02-11-2010, 10:26 PM
generally it's understood that anything that you make for the job (final render, all assets to generate final render) belong to the client.

that's what they are paying you for.


02-11-2010, 10:37 PM
Does this include photo images that one has personally taken to use for texturing?

02-11-2010, 10:55 PM
Like Jin said ... and that goes for just about anything you do under contract that produces tangible goods.

I don't have the pleasure of doing what you guys do professionally, but in similar fashion I am an artist in logic.. (a.k.a. programmer geek). I don't think there has been a time during my freelance career that I have been able to keep the rights to the code and / or applications I have written. It will usually be written in the contract as "upon acceptance yadda yadda...becomes the intellectual property of the client..." or similar verbiage.

Does this include photo images that one has personally taken to use for texturing?
I would think not. They are paying for the completed project. Not it's components and/or tools used to produce it. But then again - it all comes down to what is written and agreed upon within in the contract.

jin choung
02-11-2010, 11:11 PM
Does this include photo images that one has personally taken to use for texturing?

They need it as part of the asset pkg - otherwise the texture would be missing. But if the photo was not shot specifically for the work, the licensing agreement would be similar to commercial stock texture packages.

Because you buy their pkg means you get to use it. It does not mean that the texture ceases to belong to the original vendor and they lose the right to sell it.

Similarly, you must give them leave to use your texture but ALL rights don't end up in their hands.

So if you buy the stock texture pkg, they can still sell to others. But if you specifically hired them to develop a texture, that would be your property en toto.

Usually, this is not an issue because rarely is a photo used as is without modification (frequently heavy). And of course, that heavily modified texture belongs to the client in it's entirety - but the source images in your library that you pasted together to make it belongs to you.

As others have said, it comes down to the contract but usually this is how things fly and for freelance, things can be pretty informal in which case this understanding should be assumed.


02-11-2010, 11:31 PM
same here as megalodon,

the client generally gets the final product (rendered movie, stills, flash swfs or whatever)
they very rarley get the parts required to recreate the project. (although they are more likly to get working flash files)

we have inhouse, rigs, textures, pipelines, assets and code librarys that have evolved over years that get reused and tweaked enlessly. not to mention any stock assets used. sharing the "working files" has been done in the past but becomes VERY expensive for the client.

02-12-2010, 02:53 AM
For us in archviz, clients pay for the image, not the model files. If they want the model files - and I have had clients say they want them - then it will cost them LOTS more for that. And since I use textures I bought from others, these cannot be provided since the I am essentially only using these textures for their final renderings - the same with any assets such as interior tables and chairs, etc.

As others have said here, it depends on your contract or what you/your client discussed before the job began.

Good Luck!

Same here, unless specifically requested the client gets what they ask for when I quote, usually just the rendered product. I retain all rights to use the assets bought or created however I want and can use the finished animations and illustrations for self promotion indefinitely unless the client requests otherwise.

If the client wants exclusive rights to any models or other assets created for the project I'll charge significantly more for them and often freeze/triangulate the meshes to make them harder to edit. Once they have the project files they're unlikely to need me anymore so I want to get as much as I can to cover the loss of business and/or make them more likely to need more work from me in future.

It's a bit different when specifically required to create models for the client, when working for another studio for example, but I still try to retain as many rights as possible. I find that it's rare that a client will question the terms of service, I doubt that many actually read it, so I always try to retain as much control over the assets I produce as possible.