Question on copyrights

Hi All,

I am a 3d scanning professional and have done some work for a museum. As the work was for schientific purposes I did it for a lower price than my normal work. Now the museum is looking to sell a 3d print of my model to a different museum. As far as I am concerned the model still is mine (copyright) and the museum has now turned into a commercial party. I have talked to them about this and they agree that I should receive a ‘decent’ payment for this. But that leads to the next question what is a reasonable price.
The original price was around a tenth of the actual commercial value of the model…it was mostly charity

Has anyone here had something like this happen before and how did you solve it?
And what do you think, what would be reasonable?

For your info this is the model, the original model is around 1Tb and around 2 months worth of work…

Hey @4visualization - that’s an really nice scan!

As far as I am concerned the model still is mine (copyright) and the museum has now turned into a commercial party.

What were the terms of your contract for creating the scan? Did it include a clause about who owns the output data?

Has anyone here had something like this happen before and how did you solve it?

Not this exact scenario but generally if the parameters of the conversation are a bit undefined it will mostly depend on the person you are speaking with at the museum and how you argue your case. Hopefully someone else can chip in some experience here.

And what do you think, what would be reasonable?

The original price was around a tenth of the actual commercial value of the model…it was mostly charity

It sounds like this has changed from a charity project to a commercial project. Charging full price would not be unfair but what the museum agrees to will actually be linked to their budgets and funding … as well as how ‘charitable’ you are feeling :slight_smile:

As a long time freelancer in a previous life I always recommend going in with a high price as the client will always likely knock you down.

Hi,
Thanks for your answers, there was no real contract but it was obvious from the start that my work was to be used to get a complete dinosaur on display and to give other university’s the chance to do research based on the scans. And as you mentioned it went from charity to commercial. And I agree that it would be nice to at least get the full value for the work.

@nebulousflynn is right, in that it largely depends on what your contract says on the subject of copyright ownership. It also depends on the applicable laws in your country.

Generally speaking, in the EU, ownership of copyright vests in the individual that created the works. So, in the absence of an agreement stating otherwise, you will own the copyright.

Don’t forget, however, that a contract doesn’t have to be a formal document. A contract can be implied by correspondence (e.g. email) or even by verbal conversation. Contracts can arise without you realising it.

Obviously, if a contract has been formed by emails and verbal conversations, proving the terms of that contract will be difficult - for both parties. That’s why it’s preferable to have a written agreement clearly setting out all the agreed terms, so you don’t have to argue about it later.

From what you have said, I suspect that here you will own the copyright, but you will have granted a licence to the museum to use the work through your conversations with them and your conduct (which will create an implied contract).

  • You will argue that it was clear from all conversations that the contract was for a model dinosaur to be used for research and non-commercial purposes by them alone. You will argue that the license you granted them to use your copyrighted work did not extend to them reselling such work to third parties;
  • They will argue that it was a contract for a model dinosaur to be used by them however they wished. They will argue that you granted them a wide licence to use your works however they wanted, including reselling it.

Who is right? It all depends what evidence either of you can produce to support your position. Go back over your emails and other communications. Look for anything that supports your case that you only ever intended to license this to them for their own, non-commercial use. Find that evidence!

Note: I am a lawyer but this is not legal advice. I am also not based in your region (the Netherlands?) and so I am speaking from a general understanding of EU law only. Your local laws regarding contract formation and IP ownership may be different from the general EU position. I don’t honestly know

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Thank you very much for your answer!