Copyright of Training Materials?

Discussion in 'Askaboutlaw' started by coolaboola, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. coolaboola

    coolaboola Frequent Poster

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    I'm a sole trader and was hired recently to design, develop and deliver a technical training course. The price I quoted was accepted and I have designed and developed the course and have started delivering it.

    Recently (since the course started) I have been asked to hand over the materials for the course as the commissioning company feel they should have ownership of these if they have paid for their design. I see where they are coming from. However, copyright or ownership did not form part of our negotiations. If they had made it clear that they wanted exclusive ownership of the materials at the outset I would have priced accordingly (as it is, I have provided a competitive price and offered to deliver subsequent courses at a heavily discounted rate).

    My understanding is that, as I am not an employee of the commissioning company, I retain copyright of the material by default. My inclination is to hand over the training materials to the commissioning company with a statement that I retain copyright but that they have the right to reuse these materials. I am further inclined to make this right contingent on re-employing me (even at the agreed heavily discounted rate) to deliver the material (they may wish to do so anyway as they don't have the technical expertise in-house).

    Is this a correct stance? I would like to be able to reuse the materials I have developed should I choose to do so, so I want to retain copyright. As I mentioned above, had copyright been required I would have priced my services differently.

    If I should or legally must hand over the material, how much would I have to amend it to be able to reuse it legitimately?
     
  2. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    That's the standard approach we see with training content we receive from external vendors. Unless specifically requested, copyright isn't handed over and some vendors are more particular than others when it comes to the restrictions they place on the use of materials provided.
     
  3. coolaboola

    coolaboola Frequent Poster

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    @Leo, thanks very much for taking the time to reply. Your response is encouraging. I was concerned that perhaps I was being excessively onerous on restricting the use of the materials. Sounds like that's not the case. Thanks again.
     
  4. AlbacoreA

    AlbacoreA Frequent Poster

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    If they just get someone else in?
     
  5. coolaboola

    coolaboola Frequent Poster

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    @AlbarcoreA: I'm not sure what your question is but I'm guessing you're asking what I would do if they got someone else in to use my material to deliver the course I designed and developed. The answer is probably not a lot realistically. Still, I want to state that as a condition of handing over the materials. After that I'll rely on their honour! My primary concern is that I retain the right to use the course material myself, should I so choose.

    The client has not stated an intent to use the material themselves. Their stated reason for asking for them was to have an artifact to present to their auditors in the event the cost of the course is queried. And I will hand the materials over on that basis.

    I'll be handing over the syllabus and slides but the slides are really an aide memoire for me, not a comprehensive set of notes that someone else could use as the basis for delivering the course. Anyone else delivering the course would have to have a similar range of expertise to me to be able to make use of the slides.
     
  6. AlbacoreA

    AlbacoreA Frequent Poster

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    I meant if they just switched to a different trainer, who had their own set of material.

    Or in other words is the copyright worth more than losing the contract. Not that I think that's the situation here. I was just curious.
     
  7. coolaboola

    coolaboola Frequent Poster

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    @AlbacoreA: Thanks for clarifying that. Yes, they could bring in someone to deliver their own material. And that's fine. The contract was just for the design and delivery of this course. I've agreed to deliver up to two further runs of the same course at a heavily discounted rate that I don't think they'd find elsewhere but they are, of course, free to try.