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  1. #1
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    Is this the norm? re: contracts

    I'm designing a site for a client and she wants me to use the same content that's on her current site. Easy. Well, I went to look at the site again today and there's nothing there. So I emailed her and she said that her previous designer took everything when she quit working with him. Is this the norm? I can't imagine doing that to someone. I'm not sure what happened between them but she pretty much gave me the hint that he hasn't been around when she needed him to fix stuff on the site that's broken. So tell me, is this what's in your contract?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist bronze trophy Derek Sheppard's Avatar
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    Is what what's in my contract? My contract specifies who owns which rights and what get transferred to whom and when. Did your client write the content? Or did the designer? What does their contract say?

    It may be legal for the designer to do this, but it certainly does not appear ethical. Sadly, it appears to happen.

    If the client wrote the content then she should be able to replace it, or you can go to the Wayback and get it.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    As Derek mentioned, your contract should clearly outline who (Client/Developer) retains ownership & rights to what (Copy/Design/Graphics/Code/...)

    If there was never a contract I think the Developer *technically* still retains the rights. (That's what lots of posts here seem to indicate, at least.)

    Derek mentioned Wayback (as in 'The Wayback Machine'), it's a site that helps you find older, archived websites. You can check it out at www.archive.org .

    -Costas

  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru hifigrafix's Avatar
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    It's certainly legal unless the previous contract stated otherwise. I just took over for a project wheras the previous designer wasn't getting paid.. Since he wasn't getting paid and waited over a month for a response from the client things got pretty heated and he ended up getting "fired". When I was brought on board I got paid in full up-front (which the client was understanding of) and the old designer pulled everything immediately. I don't blame him. Ethical or not - Business is Business and in some circumstances a designer has every right to pull their work off if the client hasn't kept up their end of the bargain.

    Would I do this to a current/past client? Not in 99% of the circumstances but I've been pretty burned a few times and considred doing something like this. You learn to recognize the "traits" in clients that create bad circumstances after a few bad experiences.

    Simply write an email to the old designer and ask for the copy - surely they will be understanding otherwise simply tell you "NO".

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    There are two sides to every story, and it doesn't seem like your place to get in the middle of this particular issue. Let your client handle their relationship with the previous designer. Whether it's legal or ethical involves a lot of "ifs" - All I would be concerned with is getting content for the site and fulfilling my obligations to the client (of which I'm sure legal advice is not one of them).

  6. #6
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Agreements aside, it's the relationships that need to be considered. There are almost no circumstances where a vendor would reposess the site content and get any benefit.

    If the client hadn't paid, they are less likely to pay after losing the content. There are so many adversarial and defensive ways of doing business, but none of them work very well.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing
    Agreements aside, it's the relationships that need to be considered. There are almost no circumstances where a vendor would reposess the site content and get any benefit.

    If the client hadn't paid, they are less likely to pay after losing the content. There are so many adversarial and defensive ways of doing business, but none of them work very well.
    Very, very true - but he's a third party and as far as I can see could make no positive impact by getting in the middle of this relationship. The previous designer may be burning bridges here, but I just don't know it's his place to get involved in it.


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