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rkuchinsky
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Hi All,

Question to consultancy owners out there (talking more established practice than odd job freelancing)-

How do you handle the following-

1. Awards. Do you pay to enter or do they kick in? Do you get specific permission to enter design or other competitions or have it as a part of a general contract clause?

2. Do you ever write press releases about your work or winning awards and if so mention specific clients or projects? Do you get their permission before doing so? Aside from courtesy and professionalism, any sort of legal need to get permission?

3. Do include all clients (aside from the crappy ones of course) in a client list on your website, etc. Or do you have any special arrangements not to list certain clients and how do those terms work (ie. do they pay extra to be secret? Contract clause?)

4. Do you get specific permission from clients to feature projects in your online or print portfolio or promotional pieces if that work is already in the public domain? Any restrictions on process sketches, etc? Is this as a clause in your contract (ie. client must approve), or done via other means?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I've been doing this long enough that I have my own ways of working, but some specifics have come in discussion in professional circles here and I'd like to get some other opinions.

R
The Directive Collective
http://www.directivecollective.com


iab
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Most of this is covered under the NDAs their lawyers send and I sign. In a nutshell, they are the sole owners of any work product. Pretty standard stuff in the medical industry. But due to personal relationships, some allow use of limited materials and usually all will give me high-res glamour shots if the product launches.

1. Never entered one. Clients have, and some won. Never mentioned me. But then again, I don't care. They paid me a boatload of money. I'm happy. Again, work product should be covered by the NDA.

2. Couldn't write my way out of a paper bag. But I have pony-uped for the occasional PR piece. Never mentioned specific work product but there is no secret to what I do and who I do it for. If I entered a contest and won, you bet I would toot my own horn. But I don't think I would ever write that I completed a project, kind of an ante-up. I wouldn't write one if a client launches a product that I did, that's their business, not mine.

3. All clients. If they did want secrecy, that would cost them extra. Just like an unlisted phone number.

4. As I mentioned above, depends on the relationship. I did get an informal go ahead once until their lawyers heard about it and it ended. No biggie, all in the name of the relationship. They continue to pay me money for my work and I am happy.

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rkuchinsky
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iab wrote: If I entered a contest and won, you bet I would toot my own horn.


So what would you say to a client who doesn't want to allow you send out a press release announcing a win? (Entered on your own dime, prepped the entry, got permission to enter).

R
The Directive Collective
http://www.directivecollective.com

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nxakt
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rkuchinsky wrote:So what would you say to a client who doesn't want to allow you send out a press release announcing a win? (Entered on your own dime, prepped the entry, got permission to enter).


In my experience, a client might talk openness and mutual benefit in the beginning, but once the product is finished, the mindset changes, it becomes very invested, they want to control the product, the message, and (A) hide the resources that would allow competitors to benefit, (B) allow as few indications as possible to the world that the product did not come from inside their own organization.

So they go back to the NDA and say sorry. What do you say? Well you get to mumble two words to yourself, but not much else. You have to let the world find the award and the win on its own. I'll google your name and award right now...

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Generatewhatsnext
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Hi Richard - below is what little I can contribute...

1. Awards. Do you pay to enter or do they kick in? Do you get specific permission to enter design or other competitions or have it as a part of a general contract clause?

We've only entered one contest on our own dime and generally if a client is still keeping us in the loop we contribute to entries they submit and would promote wins on our site if we could ever keep the da*n thing up to date - our contract has a 'mutually beneficial, consistently positive exposure' paragraph that is meant to ensure that we talk nice about our clients and that they talk nice about us (yeah, right).

2. Do you ever write press releases about your work or winning awards and if so mention specific clients or projects? Do you get their permission before doing so? Aside from courtesy and professionalism, any sort of legal need to get permission?

Our services include communications and we have done internal press releases, we avoid anything proprietary and include anything in public domain, otherwise we ask our clients nicely for cooperation.

3. Do you include all clients (aside from the crappy ones of course) in a client list on your website, etc. Or do you have any special arrangements not to list certain clients and how do those terms work (ie. do they pay extra to be secret? Contract clause?)

We include the good / happy / cooperative ones & forget to include the schmucks.

4. Do you get specific permission from clients to feature projects in your online or print portfolio or promotional pieces if that work is already in the public domain? Any restrictions on process sketches, etc? Is this as a clause in your contract (ie. client must approve), or done via other means?

Same as above, we avoid proprietary, include publicly shown and have a paragraph in our standard contract detailing our rights to do so.
Scott Snider
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iab
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rkuchinsky wrote:
So what would you say to a client who doesn't want to allow you send out a press release announcing a win? (Entered on your own dime, prepped the entry, got permission to enter).

R


I would consider it. I would consider what is more important to me, an ongoing relationship with an "oppressive" client or the announcement.

And since in general I don't like to be told not to do something I have every right to do, I lean towards ending the relationship. There are many cases where a contest and the subsequent announcement would have more meaning than a source of income.


iab
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Generatewhatsnext wrote:our contract has ...


Do your clients ever sign it?

In the 5 years of running my own show, never once did a client actually sign a proposal I sent. They probably assumed, as did I, that the NDA I signed covered and superseded any of the legalese I had in a proposal.

The decade plus of consulting prior to that, I can't think of a case where a client actually signed a proposal, but since I wasn't in charge of receiving them, I can't say for sure it never happened.

In the 5 plus years now of corporate life, I have never signed a proposal of any sort. Again, I am relying on the NDA. All I send to a vendor is a signed PO, which at most has payment and shipping terms.

I wonder what a lawyer would say?


j2cervin
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Luckily, I have good access to a lawyer on a daily basis :D ***This is not the lawyers area, so dont take it as absolutely correct! You should consult your personal lawyer before making any decisions about this topic***

I think it really depends on what the language of the non-disclosure agreement says. Obviously this isn't my area of expertise. What I can find is that some non-disclosure agreements say they do take precedence over all other contacts between the parties. Others are incorporated by reference. There are also several types of non-disclosures. For instance, you may have a prospective client sign a non-disclosure before negotiations so that should negotiations break down they do not disclosure your pricing structure, or you do not disclose their design concepts.

A contract for services, is likely to have boilerplate language which says something like the parties agree to maintain confidential information, trade secrets, etc. received by the other party…disclosure of which constitutes a breach of the contract. In those instances, what constitutes "confidential information" should be defined.

As the guy in the post says, his client doesn't ever sign the PO. Not all contracts need to be in writing to be enforceable. In Michigan, you can have an oral contract so long as it can be performed within one year. But even an oral contract would be subject to common law.


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