The parameters of a copyright license or assignment may be intricate to address the various rights included in each work, and how each right might be dissected and divvied up. When someone creates material for another, whether it is an artistic work, software or written material, not every right needs to be treated the same way. Some rights may be retained by the original artist and licensed to the customer, such as those where the creator had already developed some portion of the work, or wanted to retain some core aspects of the work, such as a particular software routine or design element. Some rights may be assigned to the customer, such as those that relate to the core purpose for which the customer hired the creator to develop a product specifically for the customer. Rights that are assigned to the customer might be licensed back to the developer for use in a portfolio, or to use with other customers that do not compete with the original hiring party. Licenses can also be limited or customized by territory, duration, fields of use, types of sales outlet or other parameters relevant to the situation. In any type of arrangement related to copyrightable work, consider what items are essential for the customer to have and what the developer may need. There is often no cookie-cutter agreement because the nature of each relationship may be different.
Ned T. Himmelrich
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