Creativity is lifeblood of many aspects of life and without it many companies or ideas cannot see the day. However as a rule, the creative concept or just an idea cannot be given the trademark, trade secret, copyright or patent protection. A right to the exclusive idea is lost when you decide to disclose the idea to someone else. However, this does not happen if the idea had been disclosed when expecting the compensation, when the idea was original and when the idea has reached a concrete form.
With many ways that a person can use to publish or to share online, it may seem like something impossible when it comes to protect the work against the exploitation. However, there are some simple measures with the details that as a creative person you may consider and this ensures that none exploits you.
When you did not sign anything, then you are the owner of the copyright. Being the owner is something important since you will decide about how the work may appear within the publication and who will publish it. An owner of a work is the person to decide if someone may use the work. When you have a basic service agreement which says nothing on the copyright, then you are the one to retain the ownership about how the work may be published or distributed. The transfer of the copyright to another person should be done by writing and being aware of who is the owner of the copyright is not about who should use it but who has the control over how the work will move.
If you want to create something in a group or for a certain company, then you should ensure that you do have the contract. You can get the understanding in the writing and ensure that it is clear who will own the copyright of the work. You are the owner of the copyright by default but you have to clarify the expectation of everyone first. The price you are paid should also be according to what will happen with the copyright. If the copyright is theirs, then you have to be paid more.
If you are hired to do something, then the copyright of that something is not yours but the person who has hired you. The company or the person who has hired is the one in charge of how the work may appear in the publication and how it may be distributed or when it will be reprinted. You should have an agreement that give you the right of limited use of such work like including it in the portfolio on the websites without any problem.
When in collaboration, everything has to be written. Before you decide to create the work with another person like a book, music collaboration or design project, it is important to know who has the copyright ownership and how royalties may be divided.
Even if the copyright work is yours, you need to get the proof that you require by registering it to get its copyright.