What information do I need to declare when transferring copyright?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Jim
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What information do I need to declare when transferring copyright?

Post by Jim » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:59 pm

I'm a creative professional - I make things like logos, illustrations, and videos.

For the first time in my 20-year career, I have a client wanting to own the copyright for the animated video I've made him.

I told him I am happy to give him copyright for the video, but now he's saying that he also needs a list of all the software I've used to make the video. Apparently he was advised by the FSB that any legal copyright form needs to contain a list of all the software involved.

I find that quite intrusive. I don't really see that as any of the client's business. Surely it has no relevance to the copyright of the final video, any more than the type of pencil I used to draw the characters - or the light bulb I used to see the sketch pad?

Do I need to declare what software I've used, just to transfer copyright of the final video over to my client?

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AndyJ
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Re: What information do I need to declare when transferring copyright?

Post by AndyJ » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:21 pm

Hi Jim,

Yes you are right. You are under no obligation to list the software in order to satisfactorily transfer ownership of the copyright. All that is needed is a relatively simple document which names you as the creator and first owner of the copyright, and the client as the assignee of the copyright, a brief description of the work or its title, together with your signature and date. The client's signature is optional. Some people will tell you that you need to use a deed of assignment, but that isn't necessary for a simple piece of commissioned work, especially if you include the words "for consideration received ..." etc.

I think the bit about software is intended to act as an indemnity for the client, in case you had used some illegal or unlicensed software. However, that is an entirely separate issue. The client would not ordinarily be liable for any illegal use of software assuming that he had not encouraged or authorised you to do so, and it is highly unlikely that there could ever grounds for claiming that the finished video somehow infringed because of the use of dodgy software. If you did something along those lines, it would be a straightforward breach of the terms of an end-user licence which is a matter of contract law. Since the client would not be a party to the licence (or presumed licence) agreement, he wouldn't be affected by a dispute of that nature. In fact it would be more usual for a client to ask to be indemnified against any actual subject matter you might have included in the video which was not you own creation, such as a backing track or clip art etc, where he might become liable for secondary copyright infringement.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

Jim
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Re: What information do I need to declare when transferring copyright?

Post by Jim » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:12 pm

Andy,

Thank you SO MUCH! That was such a helpful and comprehensive answer! I can't tell you how grateful I am. If you need any graphics or design, do let me know.

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