Legal framework for consultancy work

Subject: Legal framework for consultancy work
From: The Documentation Doctor <documentationdoctor -at- googlemail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 14:17:17 +0000

Hi folks

I'd be really grateful if I could draw on your gargantuum collective wisdom...

I'm reappearing under a new online identity after a couple of years of
absence, having decided to reinvigorate my career by building on my
out-of-hours technical authoring consultancy work.

Writing my business plan raised the following questions as to what's
standard practice for technical authors working on a consultancy
basis:

1. Templates and copyright: If I create a Word template for a client,
I would expect them to own the design elements, but what about the
Styles and any macros? How do other people get around, e.g. having to
use a different kind bullet each time?

2. Liability: Am I right in saying that, in paying me for the final
document, they are accepting that it's fit for purpose? Is it usual to
state this explicitly somewhere.

3. Contracts: Currently, I do the odd small job and submit the final
result along with an invoice, without ever signing a contract. Is this
a common way of doing things, or do I need to get a standard contract
drawn up?

I appreciate you're not lawyers - I'm really just want to get a feel
for what's standard practice.

Cheers and thanks
DD
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