“Standard contracts may not offer enough protection”, says Own My IP’s Craig Olugbode
A new online service, launching today, looks set to lessen the complexities – and potential legal issues – surrounding IP ownership and transfer between creative agencies, freelancers and their clients. For many agencies, where IP transfer is not a de facto part of a contract – or where contracts don’t exist at all – it can be tricky and costly to prove ownership. Own My IP is launching to remove any doubt.
Own My IP, is a new online system which allows either party – buyer or creator – to request the assignment of or assign the copyright for creative work. It works by facilitating an email exchange containing an agreement, and listing the creative work, website, designs etc., the rights of which are transferred between an agency and a brand. The result is a formalised and transparent way to track IP transfer and ownership.
The risks of not securing IP ownership are clear; the single biggest risk to a business, in IP terms, is not owning the rights to their own brand (logo, visuals, packaging, website, copy, even product design). Proof of ownership is not always clearly defined; copyright assignment is often not transferred formally from creator to client which can result in content being re-used or repurposed later by other brands.
Alastair MacColl, Chief Executive of Business & Enterprise Group, a national business service group, comments: "Many of the businesses we support and work with are SMEs who will use agencies to help them do things like build a website, design a logo, or create packaging. They need to know that they own the rights to these things. SMEs are unlikely to have long detailed contracts to protect them, and so need a simple way to prove that they own the rights to their own IP. If they don’t, they could be putting the business at risk."
Craig Olugbode, MD, Own My IP believes the changing face of creative service provision could leave people open to ambiguity: “Many of the bigger agencies have clauses within their contracts which they believe covers IP ownership. In many cases they’re right but in an industry where many more brands are using freelancers or small design agencies, IP transfer and ownership is not always straightforward. Brands and agencies will benefit from a service that demystifies the process.”
Standard Contracts May Not Be Enough
Many agencies and brands believe that their standard contracts are fulsome enough to protect their intellectual property but, as Craig Olugbode, MD Own My IP states, this is often not the case: “What many agencies find is the terminology written into standard engagement contracts is not specific enough about the types of IP being created and the process of transference. The reality is that standard contracts aren’t always enough to ensure IP is protected.”
He continues: “We’re also finding that brands use freelancers more than ever before which means they may not always be as protected as if they were when using a bigger agency. In some cases, contracts are not as detailed and, sometimes, non-existent. Clearly, putting in place a formal contract should be a standard procedure in any engagement but we’re finding the reality is often somewhat different.”
In the event of any dispute, it is extremely helpful to have clear proof of ownership, and evidence that copyright to your creative work have been assigned by an agency to a client, or by a freelancer to an agency/client. Own My IP has been designed to expedite this:
How Own My IP works:
1. The agency transfers the rights to a piece of work to the brand (or a freelancer transfers rights to an agency. Either party can initiate this: the brand can request the transfer, or the creator of the work (agency or freelancer) can transfer rights without a request. The creator of the work can include notes in the agreement to specify terms of the transfer
2. The recipient of the rights accepts the transfer, and agrees ownership of the rights.
3. Both sides have access to the transfer agreement, which is stored within the system to help protect against disputes over copyright
The agreement is paid for by whichever party initiates the process, using pre-paid credits. The whole process is simple to use and affordable, and provides clarity on rights ownership between two parties.
Notes for editors:
For more information, interviews or images please contact:
Kate Hartley / Caroline Tarbett – Carrot Communications/Fierce PR
07714065233 / 07914 014145
About Own My IP
Own My IP is an online system which allows either party, buyer or creator, to request the assignment of or assign the intellectual property rights to creative work. It works by facilitating an email exchange containing an agreement and details of the creative work for example website, design or written copy, the rights of which are transferred between an agency and a brand. Own My IP was founded in 2012 having received first round investment from Tech Angels, Ground Six Ltd. For more information, visit www.ownmyip.com
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