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Who Owns the Rights to Custom Made Designs in Your Craft Business

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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:

  1. You own the design, not the customer.
  2. You are able to sell the same design to other customers.
  3. You can sell products with the custom design on it.
  4. You can also sell the rights of the design to the customer. There are two ways to handle this:
    1. 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.
    2. 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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Who Owns the Rights to Custom Made Designs in Your Craft Business? A good read for Silhouette Portrait or Cameo and Cricut Explore or Maker crafters - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Tara Falco

Tuesday 11th of May 2021

I want to use your commercial designs to sell amazon merch..am I able to do that? I

Christine, Cutting for Business

Tuesday 11th of May 2021

Hello! No, my designs are for crafters making and selling their designs - not print on demand.

Rachel R.

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

I have a licenses question -- sort of. I made some stickers, that I'm planning to sell as cut files. (This is not something I'm getting into on a large scale; I just designed a few for myself and figured I might as well sell them.) I'm only selling them as cut files because I'm too lazy to cut a bunch of stickers for everybody else. lol

Is there a going rate for commercial licensing if someone else wants to do the printing/cutting and sell them already done? Or can you point me in a direction for that? All I could seem to find was people wanting to license fonts/images for use IN another design, which isn't quite the same thing.

Saskia

Monday 26th of October 2020

Hi Christine, Where can I privately message you? Thank you so much for your time.

Christine, Cutting for Business

Sunday 1st of November 2020

My email address is christine@cuttingforbusiness.com.

Mayrah Pérez

Sunday 6th of August 2017

Hi, I am interested in design and sell cut files, but I don’t know how to start. What kind of computer program design is best? How I offer to sell the cut file and how much I can price for it? There is a post or video that explain that for new ones? I have a Silhouette cameo and I love to work with. Now I want to design for enjoy of others and, yes I need extra money. I am reading your post and help me a lot. THANKS

Christine

Monday 7th of August 2017

This post is helpful for new cut file designers: https://cuttingforbusiness.com/2015/07/27/dos-and-donts-for-selling-silhouette-cameo-cut-files/

Jacqueline

Monday 24th of July 2017

I own a design that I am going to print a canvas. I do own the design. I paid a artist to create it. Do I have to have commercial license of the design if I am going to sell the canvas's? If so, what where do I help with creating a commercial license for my product. Thank you.

Christine

Monday 24th of July 2017

Hello! You'd need written permission from the creator, which you should have if you have already purchased it.