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    Do I own these site designs?


    I am very curious about something. A guy hires me to develop 3 unique web sites, and 5 color scheme versions of each, so in total, 15 web site templates for a particular industry, lets say Chiropractic. He then turns around and sells them like hotcakes, over 1,500 copies of these sites at $1,200 a pop plus 100 dollars a month maintenance. He made a killing needless to say, whereas I made about 20 grand. I am not sure as I respect his business saavy. Here is my question though. Our entire process was void of any contracts, written or verbal. So, do I have the right to sell these templates, either in the same industry or modified to accommodate another industry?
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    We need more lawyers here for questions like this.

    I'm not one of course, but I'd say that without any kind of contract, you've both got about the same rights to the designs. From my experience, though, if a company hires you do do "x", then "x" is owned by the company when you're done unless contracts say otherwise.

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    I am not a lawyer, so this is only an opinion.

    If there was a contract and you have sold your designs to the other party, along with all rights, then you had no case.

    Since there is no contract, while it does not stop the other party exploiting your designs, it does not stop you from exploiting them either.

    However, the issue of copyright and goodwill does come into question.

    First it has to be established who owns the copyright. It is not enough to say that I own it since I designed it. It has to be proven in a court of law.

    Secondly and more importantly, the other party can and will argue that even though you may have the copyright to the material, they have created the market for the material where none existed before for that particular and specific design.

    In other words, while a poet has copyright of a poem, it is the publishing company who creates the market by advertising and publishing the poem.

    My advice to you, make another set which can be based on the previous work with some changes and publish them yourself. You would gain more this way that going down the legal route.

    At the end of the day, litigation would only make lawyers rich.

    Good luck
    AZ

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    so these were just templates? like what main page and then subpages? did they include anything special as for as code and stuff? if not, man i got a killer idea...
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    You acted as an independent contractor.
    I'd compare it to making a cartoon character to sell to a designer and him using it on tee-shirts. You really don't have a right to sell it again.

    I'd agree with the guy who posted before this, change the layouts just enough to make them unique and sell them.
    -Tim
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    Nothing too special, but a nice discussion forum in the site, what is your "killer idea"?
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