Readers, we need your help and commentary. I received an email today from a company that has been providing software training on behalf of a federal organization. Their traditional business model had them teaching a broad amount of material over several days in a classroom setting. Now they are teaching much more focused, shorter segments via web seminar.
The federal organization wants the training company to record the webinars and make them available on demand. The training company obviously wants to charge more for ongoing use of their expertise and program material, since this effectively takes them out of the picture for delivering the classes in the future.
But the federal organization says that the training falls under the public Freedom Of Information Act and that they have paid for and own the training company’s invested time and resultant recorded works.
Negotiations drag on as both sides try to protect their interests and the scope and pricing of services.
The training company is asking for any relevant precedents or similar situations they could reference to justify increased pricing for the use of their training recordings. If you have something you can contribute, I’d sure appreciate a comment on this post (or a private email if it is information you don’t want to make public).
This situation illustrates the need for a well constructed agreement on ownership of Intellectual Property and Created Works if you develop webinar recordings on behalf of a client. Make sure you know up front who gets ownership of the finished archive and what uses may be made of it. The scope of work in your agreement should specify exactly what they are paying you for. Training is a valuable service, and you should expect to be paid commensurately to the value provided. If they are going to get ongoing long-term benefits from reuse of your creation, make sure you are compensated fairly.