April 2017
To Own or Not to Own

Jeffrey Spear - President - Studio Spear

Jeff Spear

It's a problem. Marketers set out to update their brand touchpoints only to discover that they do not have the master files. It seems owning final artworks, as well as maintaining copyright, is all too frequently overlooked.


It all starts when companies fail to have original files transferred into their possession when projects are completed. It gets even worse when they sever relationships with service providers due to unresolved contractual differences and/or a less than amicable parting of the ways. Ultimately, brand owners are learning that, depending on the emotional status of terminated relationships, incumbent firms have not, or will not provide copies of original files.

No matter what artwork a vendor has produced for your organization, make sure you have the ability to retain and archive original digital files, are provided all of the essential component parts (fonts, linked artworks, functional code, etc.) and that you own the copyrights outright as part of a "work for hire" or similar agreement.

While re-creating artwork on a business card is relatively inexpensive, there is no reason to do so when copying and transferring digital files takes seconds. When it comes to label and packaging designs, re-creating files is considerably more complex and time consuming. This is especially true for websites. Depending on how the site was developed, there may be proprietary operating code that belongs to a third party that cannot be transferred. Quite simply, and without comprehensive ownership of your marketing materials, you could find yourself struggling to maintain operational efficiency.

If you have not done so already, ask your vendors for back-up copies of anything and everything they produce on your behalf. And each time you make changes and updates to content, be sure to obtain and archive the updated files. The difference between access to digital files on a short-term basis and owning them outright could have a profound impact on your marketing program.

At Studio Spear, we assign copyright and transfer fully archived digital files to our client once all financial obligations have been met. Additionally, we maintain digital archives of our own so that, should the client lose track of files, we can provide them at a moment's notice. Finally, we advocate and recommend ongoing back-up methodologies as part of our ongoing account service activities. The last thing we want is for our valued clients to be stuck on the water without a paddle, rudder or boat.

To learn more about creating back-up systems, confirming ownership of final artworks, creating "work for hire" agreements and archiving digital files, click here. You can also contact Jeff Spear toll-free: 866 787 8761 or email: jeff@studiospear.com.


If the time has come to overhaul, update and re-invigorate your brand image, or you'd like to change up your marketing program, please call 904 685 2135 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email: jeff@studiospear.com.

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