The owner of a dev agency asked for help navigating a client situation—who owns what the agency creates?
Agency deliverables are typically “work for hire.” That means that as soon as the client pays (in full), the client becomes the sole owner of the work. I require this from my freelancers, as it means I don’t have to worry about ownership disputes later.
For design work, clients typically own the final product—but not necessarily the intermediary pieces, including the editable files. It’s all negotiable—it depends on what you and your clients negotiate during the scoping process. If things deteriorate later, you may be glad to send everything to a client you don’t like, just to get rid of them!
For development work, I believe agency clients shouldn’t pay a licensing fee to their agency for custom software that’s been developed. But you may need to include a licensing clause (from agency to client, or from client to agency) to protect yourself in other ways. [Read more…]