We often get asked by clients, to release the layered/master files for artwork that we’ve created, which is not a problem in general. When we explain that there’s a cost for doing this, not everyone understands why this was not included in the final price, or why they’re not part of the final deliverables.
Most are right to feel this way, because of a general misunderstanding of our profession and that the price they paid is also for the rights to the master artwork. So to clear up any misconceptions, I’m attempting to explain the main reasons behind this and why they’re not part of the “package”.
When you engage a professional designer to create and deliver a brochure/flyer/advert/etc, that’s what you will get… a fully complete, fully thought out printable (or printed) brochure/flyer/advert/etc. You’re not paying for the tools, layers, training, fonts and imagery used to create the brochure. It’s just like when you go to a restaurant – you pay for the meal, not the recipe.
When creating artwork we use images, graphic elements and fonts that are usually somebody else’s work. We spend a lot of money ever year purchasing licences for these and in the majority of cases, for individual use. These are not our property and belong to the original creators, we simply have the right to use them for your artwork. For example, a stock image that we use, has a licence to be used once. If this is to be used on a flyer, poster, print ad and billboard, then a licence is needed for each use. If we release the original artwork to you, then you don’t have access to renew the licence for each use. I’ve have seen instances where the owner of these images has actively followed up on the “illegal copyright infringement” of these images with €1250 invoices per image – I’ve seen 2 of these letters to a previous employer and in both cases had to be paid. Because of this, it would be unethical and illegal for us to release those tools to you as we are not the copyright holders.
If you would like to obtain the rights to these files, just ask. We don’t have an issue negotiating a price for the transfer of full copyright, with editable files and we’re more than happy to help you secure the image and font licences to protect yourself. The industry standard for full copyright transfer is 300% of the total invoice so if, for example, we produced a flyer for you for €200+vat then the full copyright release fee would be €600+vat. This helps us to cover the time that it will take to collect and prepare the documents for sale, aid you securing the licences and offset loss of future income to us for the release of these files.
Hopefully this helps to make this a little clearer and avoids any unnecessary confusion.