I want to sell my design – what do I do now?
This is a very common question and it is relatively straightforward to answer.
Before I do that, I’m going to make you a Copyright expert with one small paragraph –
“Copyright is the right to copy. It is a right that allows creative people to benefit financially from their work for an agreed amount of time in an agreed location for an agreed amount of money. Copyright must only be granted or assigned in writing”
If you can adopt that approach to everything you create then you will benefit more than you ever did before.
But as we all know the world we live in is not that simple. There are numerous, different scenarios that conspire on a daily basis to deny us a quiet life; and the design world (along with the music industry) is one of the worst offenders.
There are all sorts of things going on that are accepted as “common knowledge” or “conventional thinking” that can create confusion. So here is a scenario or two that might ring a bell with you.
Tom worked for an ad agency. He got fed up working in the same place and decided to branch out on his own – to be his own boss. He still does some work for the old ad agency and they still pay him for the work. Part of that payment includes the Copyright.
Tom needs to get real!
There are two payments at stake here. The first is for “the sweat of the brow”, the job, the task, whatever that may be. The second payment is for the Copyright. What do they want to use the work for, for how long, where about and how much per use? The more useful the work/logo/design and the more effective it is, the better it is for everyone. Tom though, does not decide on how much the payment will be. He agrees a payment with the agency and it will be based on usage. So, logo to be used on headed paper, flyers and a poster campaign for 2 years at 1p per paper and 50p per poster. Slogan to be used in TV ad campaign, £200 per screening or whatever amount is agreed.
For an example of how to do it properly check out the Smiley™ Corporation.
Here was a man with essentially one idea – a yellow smiley face – and the business generates £6.5m per year in royalties from that one image…and has done so for a number of years!
I’m sure you’ve all read the horror stories; the Nike Logo sold for $150, competitions where children get a years supply of crisps for what turns out to be a new corporate brand and so on.
The whole point about logos and designs of any kind is this:-
You never know who’s problem you are going to solve.
You might think your newly created logo is “ok” or “not bad” but it’s the market that decides and if the market likes it and it gets pushed, then it takes off and just like an author writing a book, the more people that buy, the more you are rewarded. At last that’s what should happen.
Copyright is a mechanism that was created to reward creative people for their own lifetime, plus the lifetime of their children! Yet in our experience it’s too often given away and we get called upon to try and restore the damage when it’s too late.
No matter what you do, protect your creative work and ideas. You never know what will take off. You can use our system once to protect your whole back portfolio and then once a month or once a quarter use the system to protect all your new work.
Whatever you do, do something because this issue will only get bigger.
If you need an ally in the IP world you can call on us and we’ll point you in the right direction.
In the UK call local rate 0845 053 1789
Use our contact form in the Contact Us section
To view our downloadable pdf document which detail the process of protecting design copyright, click here.