Resources Legal Guides & Contracts Our Standard Form of Agreement and Designer Independent Contractor Agreement helps you create customized terms and conditions for different types of design engagements. The accompanying collection of articles explore related contract issues. Contracts AIGA Standard Form of Agreement for Design Services The AIGA Standard Form of Agreement for Design Services does not take a one-size-fits-all approach, and it is not an extensive pre-printed document where you simply fill in the blanks. Instead, this agreement acknowledges that most design firms develop their own custom proposal document for each project and are looking for an appropriate set of terms and conditions to attach to it. Designer Independent Contractor Agreement Use an agreement like this when subcontracting with design firms and ad agencies. You should not use this form when you are selling services directly to a business client. For that, you should prepare a fixed-fee proposal and use the legal terms and conditions that are contained in the AIGA Standard Form of Agreement for Design Services. Contract Articles Article How Contracts Work This article explains the key ingredients that create a binding legal agreement between a designer and a client, and it describes how a court might later interpret that contract in a lawsuit. Article The State of our Contracts Are designers taking the business side of design seriously enough? Stone takes a serious look at 60 designers to address how they feel about agreements and contracts with clients. Article Agreements Between Designers and Vendors Learn more about the business implications of working with independent contractors (freelancers). Article Get Paid on Time: 3 Steps to a Better Design Contract At some point you will experience the pain and annoyance of not getting paid on time. Often, the root cause of the problem is contractual in nature. AIGA Blue Ridge member and lawyer Matthew S. Johnston has some recommendations. Article Why In-House Designers Need Contracts Too Defining the business relationships that in-house designers have with their companies is an often ignored but absolutely essential exercise for in-house groups. Andy Epstein explains why. Legal Guides Guide Download Copyright Copyright defines the ownership of work created by a designer. Read this guide if you are interested in controlling whether or not a work may be copied or if you need to obtain client-appropriate licenses of copyright from suppliers such as photographers, illustrators, and authors. Guide Download Copyright for Compilations Compilations are defined as a selection and arrangement of materials or data. Copyright for the compilation will be separate from any copyrights that apply to the content itself. Read this guide if you are interested in controlling whether the selection and arrangement you have created may be copied. Guide Download Trademark and Trade Dress A trademark is any name, phrase, or symbol that functions as a brand—that is—it tells the public that there is a particular source or manufacturer for products or services. Trade dress is a subset of trademark law and encompasses a wider scope of branding materials for goods or services, rather than a single symbol. Read this guide to understand trademark and trade dress protection. Guide Download Independent Contracting Many designers work as independent contractors, also referred to as freelancers. This guide provides an overview of the legal and tax basics for those who identify as independent contractors. Guide Download Employment Law for Design Firms (part 1) Employment laws, sometimes referred to as “labor” laws, operate to protect the rights of individual workers and employers, and to promote productive, safe workplaces. This guide covers the hiring process and important compensation issues. Guide Download Employment Law for Design Firms (part 2) This guide covers employment-related documentation, anti-discrimination laws, guidelines for leaves and accommodations, as well as laws covering employee benefits. Guide Patents The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rewards designers with two types of patents: utility patents and design patents—provided that your invention meets all of the relevant criteria, and you go through the application process. Read this guide to understand the benefits to patenting your work. Guide Trade Secrets Many design firms use nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) to preserve trade secrets. But simply calling information a trade secret will not make it so. This guide provides designers with the information needed to understand and protect trade secrets. Guide Defamation, Privacy & Publicity Advertising agencies, publishers, and broadcast companies produce a steady stream of messages for the general public. The rapid expansion of digital communications means that any company distributing information via email or the internet could face legal risks. This guide explains what companies and individuals need to know about the legal implications of defamation, privacy, and publicity. Legal Articles Legal Article What Every Designer Needs to Know About Copyright Law Unfortunately it's more than you think... Legal Article How You Can Stay Protected in the Big Bad World of Professional Design Californian intellectual property lawyer Leslie Burns answers questions and offers educational suggestions on a number of legal issues relating to design professionals Legal Article Ripping Off the Resistance The most defining images of the Women’s March are being co-opted by corporations and copied with print-on-demand services. Legal Article Have a Question About Copyright or Work For Hire? Creative Attorney Katie Lane Has Got You Covered What are your rights as a freelance creative? How can you better stand up for yourself when invoices aren’t getting paid? Katie Lane shared all her top lawyer secrets with us. Legal Article This is What Happens When You Rip Off a Designer Milton Glaser + Mirko Ilic speak out on their stolen work. Legal Article The Fight for Freelance Protections in Germany is About More Than Just Regulations It will take freelance creatives banding together with freelancers from other industries to see meaningful change. Legal Article The Copy Left Is Not Right A new “rights movement” is taking shape around the issue of creators’ rights. In theory, its goal is to benefit the general public. But if successful, it will affect the careers and legacies of freelancers everywhere. Legal Article Don’t Be a Victim of Copying Truly creative work is hard won and represents the synthesis of deep personal exploration, knowledge, skill and experience. It’s no wonder then that designers who find their work copied are angry. Legal Article The Orphan Work You Save Could Be Your Own This president's address was delivered at the School of Visual Arts class of 2008 commencement ceremony, held at Radio City Music Hall in New York on May 16. Legal Article Intellectual Property A basic introduction to design and marketing’s core issues—copyrights, trademarks and trade dress, utility patents and design patents—as well as trade secrets and moral and intellectual property rights. Legal Article Legalities Legalities℠ is a column for AIGA|SF by OW&E member Linda Joy Kattwinkel, who is herself a visual artist and former graphic artist. In the column, Linda Joy specifically answers questions raised by visual artists, but many of the issues are equally applicable to those who create or utilize works in all creative disciplines. Legal Article Does A Designer Have to Turn Over Source Files When A Client Asks For Them? It is not unusual for a designer and his or her client to get into a dispute over who owns and can use the source files generated during a project. AIGA Los Angeles examines why clients ask this, and how you should respond when it happens. Legal Article Intellectual Property: What Does “Work for Hire” Mean for Designers? AIGA’s legal counsel answers your questions on intellectual property. Legal Article Rights, Wrongs and the Law: An Interview with Frank Martinez, Esq. A conversation between Steven Heller and Frank Martinez about the difficulties around reproduction rights and fair use. Legal Article Publishing in the Age of Digital Piracy What’s a publisher to do when copyright violators run amok online? Crawford ponders the value of e-books and how to stop renegades bearing scanners. External Resources U.S. Small Business Administration Freelancers Union Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Up Next Design POV Research Related reading, videos and opportunities Talk Finance for Freelancers and Small Businesses Shel Perkins Talk October 17, 2016 Copyright Law for Graphic Design Is it true that copyright does not protect graphic design?