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I'm working on my first freelance project and I have question regarding a copyright issue.

In a sample website design I showed to my client, there is a list of his past clients with their logos on it (I got the logo from Google image search). I told him that if he want to use their logos, he should ask for their permission and files. But now he asked me to use those logos on the actual live website. When I asked if he got the permission, he said just leave it to him.

My questions:

  1. Who actually should ask for permission & files, me or the client?
  2. If I use those logos, can I protect myself by laying a clause in the completion invoice (since the contract is signed already before the project started) that the client will hold any responsibilities in regards to the logos' copyright?

Thank you

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FYI to prevent future issues this should be outlined in the contract. Not a lawyer but if you knowingly use copyrighted material without the consent could make you liable and all material should be obtained and provided by the client unless you plan to spend the time obtaining the content. –  Gramps Feb 21 at 16:35
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Thank you for your reply. It's my first time writing contract for freelance work so i miss this one out. But i will definitely make sure to include it in the future. –  user20081 Feb 23 at 3:21
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3 Answers

If you already signed a contract which does not cover you for copyright issues, you can try one of two things:

1) Present the client with a contract rider, or addendum. This rider will have the copyright language which should have been there in the first place which states that the client either owns the copyright to or has received permission to use whatever the elements of the site are, and will hold you blameless if those copyrights are violated.

2) Ask that you receive copies of the written permissions from the logo owners to use the logos as the client wants to use them.

In either case, explain that for both financial and ethical reasons, you cannot and will not put the logos on the site without one of those two things happening. Either the client proves that permission was given in writing for each and every logo, or the client absolves you in writing of any responsibility for the logos going up without permission.

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Thanks for the reply. Will do that for sure. –  user20081 Feb 23 at 3:26
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First off it is a good thing that you brought it to his attention on the matter. I would say that the client would need to retrieve the copyright permission from his past clients. It's his responsibility to do such things. The website is his, you are just designing the look and feel of it. You should have it written in some form or contract that you mentioned it or that the your client is responsible or copyright issues pertaining to his website. That way if he does not obtain permission and still uses the logos and likeness of said companies, he can't come after you. Clients are always a pain and hope this helps with this client and any future clients you take on.

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Thank you for the reply. I didn't think about this when i write the contract. Only after I started designing that I realize I didn't put it in the contract and I wasn't sure if I can make a revision for the contract. I will keep this in mind for future projects. –  user20081 Feb 23 at 3:42
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You should outline this in the contract you and him signed. If it wasn't there, draft one up now, with language that states that any use of copyrighted materials is the sole responsibility of client and you as vendor are freed of any liability.

Let him know that you will gladly finish this request but need this document signed first.

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Thanks for replying. I will draft contract rider like @Lauren Ipsum said and make sure he signed it if he insist on using the logos. –  user20081 Feb 23 at 3:38
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