Who owns your portfolio? – A look at IP for designers

My latest article about intellectual property, copyright and Creative Commons for web designers is out today in Issue 4 of Design In-Flight. Here’s an excerpt:

Who owns your portfolio?

It might seem logical that you own the designs you create; but it’s not always true.

With the advent of the first graphical internet browser came a whole new design discipline – web design – and with it came a new way of getting work. Instead of collating examples of their best work in a book to be carried from interview to interview, designers started to use websites to display their talents. Online portfolios allowed designers to include not just a set of images, but links to the finished sites so that prospective clients could examine code and functionality. Now designers of all ilks can send not a physical portfolio but a simple URI to new employers, and can promote themselves online using their website as their business card.

But the very thing that makes an online portfolio so useful – the ease with which it can be found – is also its biggest drawback, because if you include content which one of your former clients or employers thinks is infringing their copyright, they can quickly and easily find you and take action.

If you want to read the whole thing, then you can buy a copy of Design In-Flight for just $3, or you can get the first four issues for $10. Editor, Andy Arikawa has consistently drawn together some great writing from some of the industries best designers – so it’s always well worth the investment.

Other cool stuff in this issue includes: Eye on type 01, by Hrant H. Papazian; Feeling your way around grids, by Mark Boulton; and The more things stay the same, the more they change, by Molly E. Holzschlag. So run, don’t walk, and get your copy now.

(Crossposted from ChocnVodka)


Sometimes I get really fed up of blogging. Particularly metablogging, which can turn into either stupid puerile snarf-fests or teeth-grinding tedium. Lately, it’s been more metacrap than metablog in the metasphere, and I’m metafedupwithit.

I haven’t been reading, either. They say that when a blogger isn’t blogging it’s because s/he isn’t reading. Actually, they don’t, because blogging wasn’t invented when whoever said that first said it, but if it had been they would have said it, and they will would have been right. My aggregator is again clogged to the gills with unread posts – it topped out over 10,000 yesterday until I ruthlessly marked a whole bunch as read. Pff. Who cares?

It’s all part of the blogging life cycle or, more accurately, blogger mood swings: Enthusiasm. Over-enthusiasm. Habit. Tedium. Huffiness. Abandonment (temporarily or otherwise). Rekindlement. Lather, rinse, repeat ad nauseam.

Ok, I made the word ‘rekindlement’ up, but I rather like it and see no reason why it should not now pass into the English language.

The weird thing about writing a blog like this, for a publisher like Corante, is that one feels one really ought not fall prey to such mood swings. One feels that by writing under the banner of SEB (Someone Else’s Brand) one ought to somehow be exempt from the emotional cycles that affect personal blogging. Of course, that’s bullshit. The same way as the journalism/blogger discussion is bullshit. The same way that the neverlinktoAlisters meme is bullshit.

And you know, this urge to always make a point, instead of just express myself. That’s bullshit too. I am sure you are smart enough to figure out your own points, draw your own conclusions and if you’re looking to me for answers well, the news is that I ain’t got none.

Normal service will be resumed as and when I can be arsed.