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It’s pretty common for Silhouette and Cricut small business owners to design and sell customers unique, one-of-a-kind products. Many times, the design you create is based on the idea of the customer. After you send the finished product – who owns the rights to the design based on your customer’s idea: you as the maker or the customer that you created the design for? Let’s talk about this today.
Who Owns the Rights to Custom Made Designs?
The copyright of the design stays with the maker of the design – you. You do not have to register it, because it is automatically bestowed on you as the creator. Copyright laws have said this since the late 1970’s, the last major update to the US Copyright Act.
But What Does This Mean?
This means several different things:
- You own the design, not the customer.
- You are able to sell the same design to other customers.
- You can sell products with the custom design on it.
- You can also sell the rights of the design to the customer. There are two ways to handle this:
- You can charge the customer for exclusive rights to the design. This means that you will maintain the rights to the design, but you will not use it for any other customers.
- You can sell the design to the customer and the rights transfer from you to the customer. You provide the customer the design files in a format they can use. The customer is then able to do whatever they want with the design (this includes taking it to another maker or a local business to have more products made with the design).
How Much Should You Charge for Rights to Designs?
If you are considering selling rights to your custom made designs, you can price them at whatever you want. If it were me personally, I would probably charge 2-3 times the amount of the product for an exclusive design and 4-5 times the amount of the product for the rights to the design.
Selling rights to designs is a great way to increase your profits, especially when working with teams, organizations, and other small businesses. Knowing your rights as the creator can help in situations where the customer wants your files.
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Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.