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Thread: Do Clients own your .fla's ?

  1. #1
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    Do Clients own your .fla's ?

    Am currently having difficulties with an unreasonable client. After this, I am not going to do anymore work for them.

    I want to say to them..."Your site is fully uploaded to your space and is operational... my obligation is over."

    What happens if they then ask me for the .fla files that were used to make it...? Do I have to give them, or can I refuse?

    Any legal insights or experiences shared would be very gratefully recieved.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    you dont have to give those up unless it was otherwise stated in a contract. do we get the source code for programs when we buy them?? same thing here....dont give em up, unless you just dont care.

  3. #3
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    Unless you have previously agreed to turn over your FLAs, you have no obligation to turn them over to your client. If they want them, make them pay for them - I'd charge at least as much as the value of your original contract.

    As the old analogy goes, if you go to a baker, you buy the loaf of bread, not the recipe...

    K.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MG315's Avatar
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    its always a good thing to include these into the contract. helps lower the chances of getting unreasonable clients (i know exactly what its like from experience, heh)
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  5. #5
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  6. #6
    Lunch is for wimps. erova's Avatar
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    you asked for legal advice and i'm not sure you're going to find it here, simply because you're not giving us quite the whole story by saying you're "having difficulties with an unreasonable client".

    scott's article is a decent overview of the issues at hand, but you could easily be dealing with issues far more complex or simplistic when you give us so little to work with...

    just if you don't like your client doesn't mean what's his isn't his, and using analogies to photoshop or other mass-produced software programs probably isn't accurate on the same scale either. if you're in a real pinch, your answer won't be found here, it will be in the office of a lawyer...

  7. #7
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    Did you client pay you ricardow?

    Michael
    www.twofortap.com

  8. #8
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    General Thanks to everyone

    Thanks everyone... very much food for thought...

    Situation is that client has demanded additional work but is only prepared to pay the original quote price.. Although I have no contract, I have email approval of the original quote... i am now reluctant to do further work without extra payment.... But it looks like I will have to... (or else not get paid at all).

    I will then refuse to work with client in future... At which point she may want the .fla files so she can continue updating her site... I don't want to give them to her without some sort of extra payment...

    I like the photograph/negative analogy a lot - Client is a photographers agent...

    Has anyone been in a similar situation, and what did you do?

    Thanks again

  9. #9
    Lunch is for wimps. erova's Avatar
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    i just always try to keep the communication open from all phases of the project, and the client just keeps coming back for more...never been an issue so far (knock on wood...)

  10. #10
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    I did see an episode of Judge Judy where some web developers collected $3000 from some people just off of a verbal agreement. If you have emails, then you're in better shape than that example. If you had a contract, you'd be in the best shape.

    Stick to what you originally agreed to. Use the emails as proof. I keep ALL correspondance when it comes to business. My boss calls me the garbage collector, but when he needs some information dealing with a situation six months ago, I am able to find an email on it.

    Scott

  11. #11
    Senior Member MG315's Avatar
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    ya i talked to a lawyer when making my contract and he said that even an email is enough proof in court to prove your case, but its best to have a written contract.
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  12. #12
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    She's demanding more work above and beyond that of the original proposal, without adding to the figure agreed in your final payment, and at the same time saying that if you don't do the additional work, then you get nothing?

    Hmm, I'd like to hear exactly what she wants done before I pass my final opinion over for the board's perusal. If it's only a small something, then suck it up and get it over with (and learn by your mistakes - next time get a contract that outlines details down to the number of times you plan to take a leak during the development process).

    If it's a larger rework she's requesting, your developer/client communication pattern could need a review.
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  13. #13
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    Originally posted by hurricaneone
    She's demanding more work above and beyond that of the original proposal, without adding to the figure agreed in your final payment, and at the same time saying that if you don't do the additional work, then you get nothing?

    Hmm, I'd like to hear exactly what she wants done before I pass my final opinion over for the board's perusal. If it's only a small something, then suck it up and get it over with (and learn by your mistakes - next time get a contract that outlines details down to the number of times you plan to take a leak during the development process).

    If it's a larger rework she's requesting, your developer/client communication pattern could need a review.
    sage advice

    I'd agree that if it's a small bit of additional work, just do it and decide after whether she's too much effort/hassle to keep on as a client. If however it's a lot of work at no additional cost then take some of the advice here. I suspect the reason she's asking for the source files is that it will allow her to find someone else or indeed do the updates on her own in the future but as far as I would be concerned, (bearing in mind the limited info available here) the client has agreed on a fee, (you should ask for money up front as a deposit) you've done the original work requested and now they want more that is outside the remit of the original agreement.

    The files (swfs) are there, the site works and they don't actually need the flas for the job to be considered complete.

    I'd keep hold of them or sell them on. Make sure the next time you take a deposit up front for work, outline in as much detail what is to be done and at what price and clarify the possible requirement for source files/material to be made available in your contract
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  14. #14
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    Next time do yourself a favour.

    no contract.

    no work.

  15. #15
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    Ongoing thanks to everbody... Just to clarify though...

    Payment for the job is (so far) not an issue... I will probably do the 'extras' that are being demanded and just absorb the extra cost...

    The issue is now that I am quite happy to walk away after this job, but I do not want to give up my .fla's... Since I have no contract, I think that I will have the upper hand, as neither will she have a contract stating she owns the .fla's

    ... and I'm hoping that I'm then under no obligation to provide them for her for free....?????

  16. #16
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    legally the flas are yours since they are considered intelectual property.

    that said, there is a lively arguement as to wethere a web company should kept the flas or pass then to the client.

    by keeping the fla you are effectively locking the client out of there web site.

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by OddDog
    by keeping the fla you are effectively locking the client out of there web site.
    I guess it's probably a bit of a grey area but I don't believe the above is necessarily the case. What you're doing by not providing the source material is removing the option of them making further changes, additions, removals (perhaps a credit link to your site might go missing and they claim it's their work because they've got the source?) etc etc. The site will work without the flas, so as far as I would be concerned your work is completed and it's down to you but there is a lot a client could do once they've got the source files.
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  18. #18
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    yes and what happens when the client you have had an arguement woth wonts to update some info on the site ??

  19. #19
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    Originally posted by OddDog
    yes and what happens when the client you have had an arguement woth wonts to update some info on the site ??
    of course it depends what agreement you had with them in the first place but do you not charge them for updates once the original agreement is completed? I don't wish to imply my posts are anything like the definitive answers, they're just my thoughts on the topic.

    I personally retain source files as part of my standard contract agreements. If someone wants them, then they are welcome to them but I would discuss what can and cannot be done with them once you've handed them over
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  20. #20
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    sorry Jamble if I gave the impression that these comments are aimed at you. They are not.

    Rather they are an attempt to help guide ricardow in a difficult position, were no contract exists.

    In a perfect world the contract would have this problem tided down. But ...

    So I repeat, in my opinion you should just give up the fla. if the client gets shirty...

    Do not taint your name ...

    just my half a euro´s worth

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