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Rights to renderings created for previous employer

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I just left a job at a house plan business. They have a website that sells house plans on the internet. While I worked there, one of my jobs was to create renderings for each house plan for the website and marketing material. Do I have any rights to that rendering work? I would like to use some of the images for examples of my work to advertise to contractors and future clients to show them what I can give them. Can I use the images or do i need permission even though I created them while working for someone else? We never had a contract that said anything about renderings. Just not sure if I can use the work as examples. TIA.

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Read your employment agreement that you signed when you worked there if any. That should contain any clear answers you may want, otherwise, get a lawyer. IMHO, the plans belong to them, the renderings are yours.

 

DJP

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Thanks David. I agree, they can have the plans. I did the rendering work and believe it to belong to me. At the very least be able to use it as examples of my work. 

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I am often asked to share plans that I have done for others. I have and never will do this, they plans belong to my clients, the renderings are mine. But I have worked for a couple of clients that had me sigh agreements not to share anything and so I do not share renderings or plans of those clients.

 

DJP

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Tony, I would guess (and that is all I can do in this situation) is that they own the copyright to the work you did while an employee. I you message me I can send you to ask this question of a friend who is active in the graphic arts guild and is often in D.C. lobbying on behalf of copyright issues. Word of warning, her emails can be long. Really long.

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Might seem like a silly question, but have you asked the company in question if they care?  Maybe they won’t mind anyway.

 

Having said that, I obviously don’t know all the details but I could DEFINITELY see situations were it might be inappropriate for you to use those renderings.  

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I think it all boils down to employee vs independent contractor. If you were an Employee you lose the argument

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Yeah. I was figuring I probably can't use them. I haven't asked. I know it's weird, but I figure they'd just see it as competition and say no. They're really paranoid and weird about it. Not like standard level. Like they didn't want to tell me the name of a builder that was in the office cause they were afraid I'd steal them. 

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If you did the renderings while employed there, unless you were an independent consultant, then the renderings are THEIRS to do with as they choose. However, you may be interested to know that there is an ethical obligation, that most architects abide with, that employees may take copies of work that they have done to show prospective employers.

 

"Rule 5.303 A Member shall not unreasonably withhold permission from a departing employee or partner to take copies of designs, drawings, data, reports, notes, or other materials relating to work performed by the employee or partner that are not confidential."

 

However, this is just part of the AIA Code of Ethics, and is not legally binding. Might be worth a brief conversation with an attorney. Might also depend on any employment agreement that you signed, too.

 

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