Using copyrighted material without necessary authorization or a license can lead to a costly court case. As a business owner, your company is not only responsible for the actions of your employees in this regard, but also for work produced for you by outside contractors, such as web designers, agencies, freelancers, and PR companies - unless you have specifically covered this in your contract with them. When working with contractors, it’s extremely important to include contractual terms and clauses that protect your business from copyright infringement litigation.
Include a clause about the use of copyrighted work
Here is an example of a clause you might include in a standard contractor agreement:“The Consultant covenants and agrees not to make any unauthorized use whatsoever of or to bring onto the Company’s premises for the purpose of making any unauthorized use whatsoever of any trade secrets, confidential information or proprietary property of any third party, including without limitation any trademarks or copyrighted materials, during the course of the Consultant’s Engagement with the Company.”
Include a clause about damages and liability
It is also wise to cover yourself in case a contractor does use copyrighted or licensed material without authorization. Here is an example: “Contractor shall indemnify and hold Client harmless from any loss or liability arising from performing services under this Agreement.”
Ensuring your contractual agreements are watertight in this way not only protects you and your business but also aligns expectations with your contractors, paving the way for smooth collaborations and productive outcomes.