I have few questions regarding the copyright of the vector images I create.

  1. Can an individual (not a Company) hire me as a "Work-For-Hire" Agreement?

  2. If it's written in the Agreement that any work I make shall be transferred in his propriety (along with the copyright), can he later sell, comercialize and do whatever he wants with the graphics?

  3. I assume I'm not allowed to re-use the graphics I make since they are under work-for-hire agreement?

Thank you!

3 Answers 3


In a "work for hire" situation, what you create belongs to the employer and you have expressly given up your claim of copyright. Whatever restrictions the employer wants to place on the work is up to them.

It is much like if you built physical "widgets" in a factory:

  • The company can sell or give away the widgets however they feel
  • You do not own the widgets you made at work that day. Taking one home with you (without the company's permission) would be theft.

Having said all that, you have the right to not agree to a "work for hire" situation, but you'll likely not work for that company.

  1. Absolutely, an individual can hire you in a work-for-hire arrangement.

  2. This is pretty a pretty standard feature of work-for-hire: because you basically become the employee of the other person or company, anything you create under that arrangement becomes the property of the employer and they can do whatever they want with it. It might not even have to be stipulated in the contract; it might even be implicit given that it's a work-for-hire agreement.

  3. The work would be owned by the employer, so this wouldn't be within your rights under the contract, but I suppose you could always try to negotiate the arrangement to allow this.

  • Ok. That is interesting. Now, to put it the other way around (I didn't knew this before). I can create a standard Work For Hire Agreement, give it to a freelancer, pay him and keep the copyright of everything he creates. Thank you very much!
    – L. Harry
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 19:33
  • IF he or she agrees, that is. Don't forget that if you make a contract too stiff, it will scare people away!
    – Bob
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 19:45
  • @L.Harry Yes, but remember that will cost you extra. There are also practical issues with this kind of approach. Remeber that a contract needs to be mutually beneficial, otherwise it will not work. If you push too much then you will end up with nothing.
    – joojaa
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 19:57

Yes but depends. If you want to, if not simply say no.

Here are 3 examples of diferent cases:

1) You design a logo. Yes. The client can do whatever he wants with the logo.

2) He wants to use some cartoon character of yours. In that case you are only licencing one type of usage, of one paricular situation for some amount of time. You should not renounce the usage of the character. It can be exclusive usage or non exclusive usage.

(Imagine the relase of a "Bisney" movie where the character "Nikey Mouse" might apear on a cereal box during the promotional campain. The rights for the usage of the mouse on the cereal box is for limited time only, and only in some types of cereals.)

3) People look for you for your work, let us say ilustration in a phisical medium. You can sell the original, but you can still use a photo on your portafolio because it is your work.

In any case you should have a contract on what he can do or not, in what circumstances, for how long. Try to include one point that you can use the final work on your portafolio for example.

So yes, but depends.

  • Thanks Rafael. Actually I have nothing against it, the money is worth it. Is just that I had no idea that an individual (not owning a company) can hire me under this agreement and gets the copyright on the work :).
    – L. Harry
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 19:43
  • Be careful in the cases of character design, that you already have developed.
    – Rafael
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 19:45
  • If you are kind to give me some details in this manner, I would really, really appreciate it. What do you mean by that?
    – L. Harry
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 19:54
  • See Point 2, I added another example.
    – Rafael
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 22:48

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