To copy write or not to copy write. That is the question.

Arjun's picture

Hi Guys,

I recently worked on branding a new furniture store in India. The branding involved creating large showroom panels that depicted lifestyle, furniture usage, materials etc. Considerable research went into the conceptualisation and I came up with precise copy and taglines. The panels were approved, fabricated and put up. But now two months past my invoice date, to my surprise, my client claims copy is not chargeable.

And I quote

"PLEASE NOTE COPYWRITING IS ALWAYS AN INTEGRAL PART OF ANY CREATIVE - AND NO AGENCY CHARGES EXTRA FOR COPYWRITING - CAN A CREATIVE BE PRESENTED TO A CLIENT WITHOUT COPYWRITING & TAGLINE AND PAY JUST FOR IMAGES THAT ARE PRESENTED CREATIVELY???"

Can this be true? If the client has no concept, no brand proposition and the designer comes up with a credible one, is it not chargeable? Your comments.

poms's picture

>my client claims copy is not chargeable.

It despends on the contract you made with your client before you started the project.
Normally there is written down an allocation of responsibilities between the two parties, the more exact the better. Was copywriting an integral part of the project contract?

The normal tactics of clients is pushing towards new jobs during a incomplete described project without paying extra. Alarm bells start ringing in my head. There should be a renegotiation about every "new module" be added during the process. It pays.

The game: Fully-qualified traders against not-so-qualified traders (grafic designers).

Arjun's picture

Yes research and copywriting was part of it.

Its frustrating knowing that he is waking up to this only now. The invoice has been due now for over 2 months.

Si_Daniels's picture

>Yes research and copywriting was part of it.

I would just cut and paste that part of the contract and send it back to them. Their best argument would then be that they didn't read the contract, which isn't much of an argument.

oldnick's picture

NO AGENCY CHARGES EXTRA FOR COPYWRITING

On what planet?

JamesM's picture

> Yes research and copywriting was part of it.

But was copyrighting listed as a separate item on your contract (or estimate), and did they approve it prior to the start of work?

Copyrighting is normally a billable charge, but it would give you a stronger case if it was specifically mentioned in your contract.

cerulean's picture

It seems that at one or more points there has been a confusion between copywriting (writing copy text) and copyright (intellectual property rights).

It is true that copyright is integral to any creative work whether it is registered or not, but "copyrighting" described as an action can only mean registering the copyright, which if you choose to do so will incur fees that may be included in expenses.

Also, the copyright integral to the work is yours, and it is possible to buy it off of you with a clear contract, which should involve serious money because it would be signing away your own claim of creation. But all the client should really need is the trademark, which is different and belongs to the business it represents.

If your client actually thinks that you can't charge for writing copy, then he is simply dreaming up excuses not to pay for your work because he wants it free.

JamesM's picture

> confusion between copywriting....and copyright

If you're referring to my post, it was just a spelling error. I meant "copywriting".

cerulean's picture

I was only thinking that maybe the client had misinterpreted the writing charge as being for copyright, based on the somewhat incoherent quote.

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