• Advice

Know your (copy)rights

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As someone who (hopefully) owns the brain you make stuff with, you automatically own the copyright to anything that you create. However, registering your intellectual property with the U.S. Copyright Office will make it easier for you to get monetary compensation in the case of infringement.

In case it wasn’t obvious, we aren’t lawyers (sorry Dad). So please consult a copyright law professional if you find that you need further clarification.

Do I even need to copyright my work?

If you find that someone has stolen your work, you can sue them for copyright infringement as long as you can prove that you were the original creator.

If you’re doing work for a client, you retain the copyright on your work even if you have a contract. UNLESS the terms of that contract transfers copyright to your client, which in many cases, it does. This is one of the most important parts of creating a great contract that protects you.

There are two ways you can work with a client. One, you retain all rights and grant them limited rights to use your work. Two, you transfer all rights to the client (often called “work for hire”).

Written a novel or short story? For writers, typically it’s safe to not copyright your work until you have a publisher, who will then copyright it in your name. A big part of the negotiating process will be determining which specific publishing rights you grant, and you’ll reserve all rights not granted. Agents will help you when signing a book contract to make sure you don’t grant all rights for forever to the publisher.

Where to look

The most important thing about publishing and copyright law in general, is to be informed and read your contract carefully! If you want more information about how put copyright protection in your freelance contracts, go here.

For more information about field specific copyright, check out these resources:


Graphic Designers





Web designers


As with anything else you create, in terms of photography copyright, you automatically own the rights to any photograph you have taken. Unless you are a monkey, in which case, even if you pressed the shutter you can’t own the photo (because you are a monkey). However, the human whose shutter you pressed doesn’t own the photo either, because he isn’t you, you beautiful selfie-taking monkey.

NoFilter #Blessed #WokeUpLikeThis

Freelancers, have you ever copyrighted your work, or done work made for hire?