I usually treat this issue with a NDA and a larger fee as for just the simple result.
I completely agree with everything said so far... Turning over source files isgenerally a bad idea. However, to play devil's advocate, if the customer is an rpg gamer and wants the originals in order to update them as changes occur throughout the campaign, I can understand the desire. Some types of changes would be extremely difficult and/or time consuming to make to a flattened image.
If you do decide to give over the originals just be sure to cover yourself (NDA, your name removed from product, no commercial brushes, etc). An increased fee would certainly be in order as well if source files weren't included in the original bid.
For those of us who are not lawyers is there a simple NDA contract somewhere out here that might be used by your typical artist or is it something one must go see a lawyer for?
Last edited by Jaxilon; 12-11-2010 at 08:59 AM. Reason: shouldn't write first thing in the AM.
I think we have one bloodsuc.......er...... I mean Lawyer around here somewhere. Not sure about pro-bono work or type of law and stuff, but........
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There is a book called Business and Legal Forms for Graphic Designers by Tad Crawford and Eva Doman Bruck that contains a number of boilerplate contracts that might be of interest to you. There is usually no need to consult a lawyer for simple contracts unless you need something absolutely bulletproof. A court will usually evaluate a contract the way a reasonable person would and consider intent in drafting to decide whether or not there's been a breach.
Although I wonder at the necessity of a NDA to protect techniques. Are you really doing something so amazing and revolutionary that disclosing it will hurt your business? The only reason to force a client not to disclose your source file is because it contains something that makes hiring you far better than hiring anybody else.
Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
I've certainly come up with some useful techniques during my learning curve but I can't say I've come up with anything I wouldn't mind sharing with people...and that's letting someone watch over my shoulder, not trying to figure out what I've done using an unflattened source file. I wouldn't ever go the NDA route for my own stuff. It seems a safe assumption to me that anyone that would pay me to make a map wouldn't want the source file out on the Internet any more than I would...to protect the IP they've purchased if nothing else. Then again, if they want to release it I guess that's okay with me, since they paid for it.
I don't know if an NDA is really the proper thing to be referring to here. This is not an issue of disclosure, which is usually tied to proprietary/trade secrets, unique processes, or advance knowledge (i.e. pre-release of a product).
What you are speaking about (imoo) is providing the source files along with a limited use license, while still maintaining copyright yourself of the original work. You might include in the limited use license what the source files can an can't be used for, such as:
- ok to modify the map for specified purposes
- not ok to redistribute the source or any pieces/components of the map in any fashion
- not ok to create derivative works made from the source files
Just my 2 bits.
I did run into something similar where I had a commission without a contract, and the purchaser had though they could give the map to another person later to move things around and add stuff. In my opinion that is creating a derivative work, something I wasn't prepared to let him do. We ended up discussions options and then drafting a usage agreement up after the fact, but it could have been ugly.
On the flip some, some people never require contracts and have never had problems.
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I think RobA is on the right track. If it was software code being transfered I can see it needing a NDA. In the case of one of my maps, I'm doing most of the drawing by my hand, so it's not like anyone can really copy that. If they can then they probably don't need me in the first place. The techniques are pretty much what anyone could learn with enough practice.
I can see protecting oneself from having your work sliced into brushes and so on which could then be given away or worse, sold. If it was sold, you would need to have proof that you owned control of it and were deserving of compensation. If you had given up your source files it seems you could have a rough time proving that. Of course, if you flatten out some of the layers you would still have the obvious original work. It does seem however that most clients do not need or want the actual source files. That might be different for a company logo as opposed to a map image. Always best to have the deliverables nailed down before you start working obviously.