Does a print shop owner have any legal rights to anything they create, design and print?

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Does a print shop owner have any legal rights to anything they create, design and print?

In other words, what exactly belongs to the customer and what belongs to the printer when a project is produced? Regarding photos, text, design, etc.

Asked on November 22, 2010 under Business Law, South Dakota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) Anything provided by the customer (e.g. text in a Word file; a logo or design; artwork) is the customer's unless the customer specifically transfers it to the print shop's ownership.

2) Anything the print shop creates for the customer as a specifically commissioned item--e.g. something the customer is paying the printshop to make--is a "work for hire" and the rights thereto will belong to the customer, the same way that anything made by an employee as part of his job is his employer's. So if the print shop does page design, or comes up with graphics, for the customer, those will belong to the customer IF he paid for them; if he didn't pay, he breached the contract and he doesn't get the rights to them.


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