October 03, 2012
Client Trying to Make My Contract Retroactive?! | printable version
I work with a not-for-profit company, writing materials for them such as volunteer handbooks, procedures and policies. I am a contractor, and I submit monthly invoices to them. I did not have a contract until now, and now they are asking me to sign something which includes the lines:
"All Copyright in all works, (including those works originating prior to the signing of this contract) procedure, policy, training materials, discovery, invention or process made, designed, drafted or discovered by you whilst engaged by the Organization will be the property of the Company..."
I'm not okay with this at all and I've mentioned to the CEO before that these documents are my intellectual property. It wasn't work for hire. They were paying for my time in constructing these materials. Do I have a right to the materials I have already written? I want to keep working with the organization but I feel they're making a huge assumption here. I have also written an extensive groundbreaking document for the organization that I wish to draw on in future works. I'd appreciate any advice you can give, I'm so confused.
Oh, heck no! They can't make a contract retroactive! Doesn't work that way!! Looks like their lawyer is trying to pull a fast one on their contractors.
Offer them NON-EXCLUSIVE rights only. That means they can use the materials however they want and so can you. That's perfectly fair to both of you.