Let's assume I am approached by a client to design and create a piece of work. There is some back and forth on the design of the work and after a few meetings the final design is arrived at. Of course there is input from the client in this design ( they need to like it). I have artistic license in the process also and I put forth the constraints and criteria necessary in the design..

 

Ok, I am commisioned to create the work described above.

 

I assume I own the copyright to this design, since I am the creator?

 

Now what if someone else ( another client) sees this work as part of my portfolio and wants something similar, I am clearly the owner of the copyright and thus can create a "similar" work,or not? A "similar" work would be a derivative work but since I am the copyright owner I am perfectly entitled to do this... Unless the client who commisioned me to create the work has any rights to the design??

 

I sort of understand the concept of a limited series and a unique one-off of a work,

but how do these terms even apply in the context of this dilemna?

 

 

Norman

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Unless the client has stipulated in a written contract, that you sign and agree to, that copyright to the work is granted to them, you, as the creator of the original design, concept etc. retain all copyrights to the work. As such, you may do what you want with it.
I totally agree with 2Roses. In fact as often as possible I try to maximize my commissioned efforts by using some aspect of the design in my limited production work. The design belongs to me. In addition to 2Roses excellent summary of the issues, I will add that if you do agree to grant the client copyright to your work you should be compensated accordingly.
Photographers have been wrestling this issue for a while now. The copyright info contained in the ASMP (American Society of Magazine Photographers) website will help you get the right point of view. The info is presented from a photographers' perspective but the facts pertain to any creative product/ process. I like to visit the site occasionally just to be reminded that I am in a business relationship with the client, not one of submissive servitude. here's the webpage with copyright info:
http://asmp.org/tutorials/copyright-primer.html

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