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Work-for-hire: easy money or the devil’s handshake?

Posted by Colleen Wainwright on

A new resource popped up via Spencer Cross, principal of L.A.-based design firm Tokyo Farm, and founder of KERNSPIRACY, a mailing list/meatspace mashup of graphic designers, illustrators, web developers and other creative solopreneurs.

It’s called, and, as you might expect, it makes the case against accepting any work-for-hire agreements not just because they stand to screw you out of a lot of deserved income and recognition, but because they undermine the entire profession by devaluing the real work that graphic designers do when they develop designs for clients.

What’s different about this site is the how starkly the case is made, and with what a level, clear-headed tone. I especially like the very explicit outlining of what work-for-hire is and, more importantly, is not: there are a lot of shady companies out there who will happily exploit your agreement via signature to a contract that otherwise would not be legally enforceable. Yowsa.

I railed on the KERNSPIRACY list about all this stuff and was kind of shocked that there wasn’t more of a lively debate. Usually, people speak pretty passionately about this stuff, on one side or the other. I’m wondering to what I should attribute the radio silence: people thinking it’s a non-issue?; not caring?; or maybe that in these especially shaky economic times, it’s better to suck it up and take it?

I may be opening the floodgates, here, but hey—what’s a blog for? You know where I stand on the issue (and if you don’t, well, I signed the pledge against taking work-for-hire); where do you stand, and why?

Let ‘er rip in the comments!

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