If I was laid off from my employer, who owns the the original design files?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If I was laid off from my employer, who owns the the original design files?

I was recently laid off from my employer, a property management company. They
requested all of my original design files, stock photos and templates I created for
the property, such as calendars, flyers, brochures, etc. While I created them
during business hours, I used my own software, that I paid for and my own
computer. I never signed anything that gave them the rights to my art. Also, it is
not noted anywhere in my job description that I am required to create these
templates for them. I did it simply, because it made my own job easier and better.
Who owns the rights to the original files?

Asked on December 19, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Whether you were required to create these for them, if you did them for work and used them at work (and, as you said, did them during business hours--while being paid your wage/salary), they belong to employer. Anything created, even voluntarily, for the employer or to do the job while you are employed belongs to the employer, even if you used your own equipment/software.

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