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Disclaimer of online Portfolio works

Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:06 pm
by reanimation
When publishing work online, as part of a portfolio/self advertising, of artwork/design/concepts, which were created whilst employed at a previous company/firm, is there an official way to construct a disclaimer/copyright so viewers(or anyone) is aware of ownership and who distributed it etc?

I'm assuming I still need some form of copyright cover to display it even though I'm the author?
Can the disclaimer cover examples of work that were created in a collaborative environment... Say a team?

To give you some scope, I'm in the process of making an online portfolio and under each image, I figured I'd need some form of protection for the image, me as an author/creator, the company I worked for and the owner/client of the works...

Anyway, this is what I've written so far:

Piece shown as part of my online portfolio of past works.
I am the original author but the image was created/distributed whilst employed at a previous company.
The image's ownership is that of whom contracted the creation of the drawing.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:55 pm
by AndyJ
Hi reanimation,
If I have this correctly you wish to display work you created but which was done while you were employed by a company, and some or all of the work was actually commissioned by clients of the company.
If that is correct then as you indicate, the company is the owner of the copyright in the artwork, but you are its author. To be strictly legal, you need permission from your former employer to display your artwork where the public can see it, but because of the contractual relationship between the company and its clients, this might not be as straightforward as it seems. For example the client will have a licence from the company to use the work in certain ways. If this licence was either an exclusive one or a sole use licence, then the company may be prevented from allowing you to also use the artwork. An exclusive licence means that only the licensee may use the work, either for a specified time or in a specified territory, while a sole licence means that the copyright owner (the company) may use the work but cannot issue another licence in addition to the client (again often for a specific time or in a limited territory).
Presuming that you can obtain permission from the company, then the sort of copyright notice ought to be specified by them, but could be something like:
Artist: Reanimation. © The Company 2013, all rights reserved.
If the work is the result of a collaboration, you could either list all the names of the artists, or if the group had some collective name, use that. The client of the company would not need to be named if they are only a licensee. Only if the client acquired the copyright as part of the commission, would you need to consider them, as they would then replace the company as the people from whom you need to get permission.
A copyright notice is not legally required, but where anything is placed on the internet it is highly advisable as a deterrent to those who routinely take and reuse work which is not theirs.

Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:52 pm
by reanimation
Hello, thanks so much for the in-depth reply.

That seems like a lot of effort, but completely justifiable.

The company I did the illustrations for is no-longer active and I did the illustrations over 7 years ago. Upon leaving, my boss (owner and director of the company) gave me verbal permission to use the work as part of a portfolio.

If ownership and copyright is that strict, I may not bother creating an online portfolio.

I've seen a lot of examples online where people say in a dedicated copyright disclaimer that their sites(portfolio) past work is from previous firms, but never have I seen anything that name the owners or company they worked for...

Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:34 am
by AndyJ
Hi reanimation,
As I mentioned, there is no legal requirement for a copyright notice, so if you are happy that you have permission, just go ahead and use the images with a credit to yourself as the artist/creator of the work. That way you achieve some of the deterrent effect I spoke of, and if anyone wants to get permission to use any of your work, at least they have a contact to follow up. At that stage you can explain that you are not the copyright owner, but that you can create something similar for them, which I assume is the purpose of your online portfolio.

Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:20 pm
by reanimation
Ok, thanks for the information Andy. Much appreciated.