A client with whom I have a good relationship has used the source files I sent them to make major design changes and then sent them back to me, asking me to edit some items within the new file.

I usually provide source files because working internationally, there are often printer issues. This is the first time I have had this problem!

I have no written contract, although I am sure they think they own all of my work (most of my contracts are work for hire and I have not been empowered to protest) and I don't want to blow the relationship. However, I don't want them to follow this workflow again.

Should I ask for a fee now for the right to alter? Say double the cost of the job?

They might refuse and then tell me to make all the changes they wanted, which makes it all seem ridiculous.

Should I say "next time"? That will probably be the end of the relationship.

I see no winning scenario here, except my gut says, "no way!"

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  • Did they give a final approval for the source file you sent them? Why not act like this is a new project? – AndrewH Mar 22 '18 at 16:45
  • That is an interesting idea, AndrewH. They had not given final approval, so its a bit sticky. Also, doesn't that validate the idea that they can just do whatever they want with the source files? – Charlie Mar 22 '18 at 16:49
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    If you don't want them to "do whatever they want with the source files", why did you give them the files? – Scott Mar 22 '18 at 16:52
  • Well Scott, I explained why in my question. It does require some trust, but I've never had any problems before. In the future i will change my practice, but that doesn't solve the immediate problem. – Charlie Mar 22 '18 at 16:55
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    Okay, I guess I just don't understand completely. If I were in this scenario... I'd charge an hourly rate to make the changes they are requesting. That's all. But, here, I never give away source files without a contract. If the contract is work-for-hire, then rates reflect that. If it's not, then source files are separate fee above and beyond any design work. With no contract, and you giving away the files, it's not surprising the client feels they own all rights. And perhaps they do. (There's no way I could understand everything which transpired.) – Scott Mar 22 '18 at 16:59