agency creative work

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  • akiersky

    I've been working as an interactive developer at an agency for almost 6 years now, and I have just started looking to update my website to create a stronger online presence. I haven't updated it since I got the job, haven't really had a reason.

    A few years back, after I had the job for a couple of years, they had us all sign NDA's that had a clause that we needed to ask permission to post any projects. So once I had my updated site pretty much ready, I came to my boss(es) with a list of about 8 projects I wanted to include from work I had done there. My boss (jokingly, I think) asked If I was trying to find a new job. I'm not really trying to finding a new job, but I want to have something up for a few people asking for some examples of my work.

    Long story short, after about a week of waiting, they came back with a straight up no. No real explanation other than our clients' confidentiality. The thing is, many of the projects are in public places, and have been published in various places. They felt like it might be out of context if they were all in one place. It wouldn't be so bad if my agency actually had a website I could send people to with some examples of what I do, but they do not.

    It really feels like I've worked my ass of for 6 years with nothing to show for it other than some descriptions of what I claim I can do.

    Is this normal? should I fight it or negotiate? wtf...?

    any advice would be awesome

  • Complexfruit0

    1. You signed an NDA
    2. They said "No" directly

    Probably a good bet not to show the work on your site. You can always show the work to a potential client directly, like in a pdf presentation or in email of work samples saying you worked on it at the agency.

    And you could have on your site, a client list. And have a note about ask for more info or something to that effect.

    Also I know some folks have password protected sections of their site. But yeah you're in a tough spot. I'd probably err on the side of not showing it, but that's just me.

    • also this. but it's common practice to set up a password protected version for potential new jobs to review.shellie
  • shellie0

    put together a password protected version of the site so that you can get a new job. If you weren't looking for a new job, you should now. 6 years at a place that wont even let you show a smaller selection of sites you've presented? I can understand them weeding out a few. If i were you i would not accept this decision outright. But I am a notorious shit stirrer so my thoughts on this are ill advised.

    If they're fearful other agencies will look to steal you away, they should be treating you better. Happy people don't leave their jobs even if they're so proud of what they did their to show their work. I don't know how young you are but i've always felt long stints at agencies were for the older set. Young blood spreads their wings and gets many experiences in other agencies, cities, states, and if you can, countries to make leaps and bounds in their earning power. It will expand your knowledge base working with other artists and agencies with experiences working in other communities which is invaluable. This wouldn't be a problem if they weren't the only source of work you've had in 6 years (hopefully it's not and you've been moonlighting things you can show).

    If I were you i'd approach them seriously about making some compromises for the sake of your overall happiness and expression as a creative and self and personal designer selfie moment. If they don't see the value of that you should be concerned. Maybe this is a sign.

    • also many people are in the same position, show much older work from older jobs & go under the radar.shellie
    • Very good points.Complexfruit
  • akiersky0

    @Complexfruit Good advice, I really don't want to get sued. I was thinking about the password protected thing, just having descriptions of things and offering a secret code to see the actual work pages. The client list is a good idea too, at least then the names are there.

    @shellie thanks for the extra push, I've been feeling the itch to seriously start looking around. They've been hiring a whole management level right above me, in the past year I've gotten 3 new people to answer to. I'm 29, I know that 6 years is crazy long for people my age to be at one place. The work has just been great, super flexible schedule, projects and I've been able to really push my own limits. but it seems like those days are coming to an end. Unfortunately it is pretty much the only work I've done in the last few years, and nothing from before is much worth showing these days (I've kind of changed directions since i've been here).

    Seems pretty strategic when they chose to give me an answer, afternoon on a friday before I go on two weeks vacation. Otherwise I would have made a point to talk with them and convince them of a few that I could use.

    This is really the latest in a series of events that has really soured my position there.

    thanks for the advice

    • Yeah I was in a similar situation in regards to getting the urge to jump ship. I was at my past job for 4 years, loved it but needed a change of scenery. Good luck man.Complexfruit
    • ...a change of scenery. Good luck man.Complexfruit
  • Frosty_spl0

    Have a one page site that has your basic info, with a password protected section that shows your real work. Or just show real work at the actual interview.

  • freedom0

    If the work has been released, what can they sue you for? Are you not supposed to tell anyone where you work?

    I would get rid of your dated college flash website and just put your job history, client list and say "contact me for more information".

  • freedom0

    Other places are allowed to publish your work, but you are not?

  • doesnotexist0

    you just can't offer to show the work publicly. so do what's already been said—do the password protected thing or make a PDF you send out that has all said work in it.

    nothing they can do about that.

  • omg0

    What is your real reason for updating your gruntfolio? Are you looking for a job? You've never really answered that question. Maybe you're seeking the fandom of the geek world to let everyone know who you are. Or you're just doing this for shits-and-giggles with no purpose other than to exercise your right to publish work that you've worked on. In the case, of a developer. I'm sure you can publish the code and not one single person would recognize it on the net. But you also want the right to publish the visual work of the designer?

  • shellie0

    ^ To omg's point, i've seen a lot of people get offended by not siting, or making clear personal contribution, the work of their counterparts in someone's pubic portfolio. I've heard some funny (not ha ha) stories from people. It happened to me twice although long ago, that my direct boss put my winning design in his portfolio with the given impression that he was responsible for the design. He had nothing to do with anything ever. He just made terrible comps in his dark, drunk office. That's a bitch move right there. Don't pull a Shia Lebouff.

    As a person who staffs creative projects every day, a password protected portfolio is a welcome way to review work. The gateway doesn't bother me. And list at least your specific credits so so I don't have to ask. This is how everyone does it where I work (LA) where most people's portfolios are entertainment based and you're more likely to get a cease and desist from the movie studio over your employer.

  • yurimon0

    Post your nda here. we will look for loop holes.

  • akiersky0

    @freedom The other places publishing work are articles about some of the spaces that the work is displayed in, not specifically the work itself. In those cases they have worked directly with the client and our company isn't in the loop of it getting published. My company doesn't have a website with work on it, so I can't link to that and refrence things that I have worked on.

    @omg trying to just make it not quite so dated and create a platform for adding new stuff. the old one was flash (when that was acceptable) I'm going for something that's a little more responsive and modern. As for looking for a job, I've been toying with heading back out to the west coast (I'm in Michigan now), to be closer to family. So I haven't been actively looking, but I'd like to start putting feelers out and a place to put some work and descriptions of what I do seems like the best place to start. I don't have any ties here any more, so there's no reason to stay.

    @shellie I'm pretty clear of my part on the project, I don't do the design work, but I play a large role in the execution of the projects and direct the user experience throughout the system. We're a pretty small firm, so I play quite a few parts.

    It seems like the description on the website with requests for examples is the way to go at this point. Really appreciate all the advice and input guys. here's the nda, I think it's pretty standard but I'll let you be the judge of that. Some of the stuff about research and knowhow and IP seems a bit crazy, do they expect me to forget all I've learned? I'm not going to go and re-create anything somewhere else, but as we all know, nothing is completely original, especially when it comes to code. It should have been a red flag when they asked me to sign it after having worked there for a few years:

    1. The Purpose. (The Relationship). The Company and The Recipient wish to explore a potential business relationship in connection with which the Company may disclose Confidential Information (as defined below) to the Recipient.
    2. Definition of Confidential Information. Confidential Information means any information, technical data, or know-how, including but not limited to, that which relates to research, product plans, products, services, customers, markets, software, developments, inventions, processes, designs, drawings, engineering, hardware configuration information, marketing or finances of the Company, which all shall be deemed as Confidential Information. Confidential Information does not include information, technical data or know how which (I) is in the possession of the receiving party at the time of disclosure as shown by the receiving party’s files and records immediately prior to the time of disclosure, or (ii) prior to or after the time of disclosure becomes part of the public knowledge or literature other than as a result of any improper inaction or action of the Recipient or, (iii) is approved by the Company, in writing, for release.
    3. Nondisclosure of Confidential Information. The Recipient agrees not to use any Confidential Information disclosed to it by the Company for its own use of for any purpose other then to carry out discussions concerning, and the undertaking of the Relationship. The Recipient will not disclose any Confidential Information of the Company to parties outside the Relationship or to employees of the Recipient other than employees or agents under appropriate burden of confidentiality and who are required to have the information in order to carry out the discussions regarding the Relationship. The Recipient agrees that it will take all reasonable measures to protect the secrecy of and avoid disclosure or use of Confidential Information of the Company in order to prevent it from falling into the public domain or the possession of persons other than those persons authorized under this Agreement to have any such information. Such measures shall include the highest degree of care that the receiving party utilizes to protect its own Confidential Information of a similar nature. The Recipient agrees to notify the Company in writing of any misuse or misappropriation of Confidential Information of the disclosing party, which may come to the receiving party’s attention.
    4. Publicity. The Recipient will not, without prior consent of the other party, disclose any other person, the fact that Confidential Information of the Company has been disclosed under this agreement, that discussions or negotiations are taking place between the parties, or any of the terms conditions, status or other facts with respect thereto, except as required by law and then only with prior notice as soon as possible to the Company.
    5. Return of Materials. Any materials or documents that have been furnished by the Company to the Recipient in connection with the Relationship will be promptly returned by the Recipient, accompanied by all copies of such documentation or certification of destruction, within (10) days after (I) the Relationship has been terminated or (ii) the written request of the Company.
    6. Patent or Copyright Infringement. Nothing in this agreement is intended to grant any rights to the Recipient with regard to any and all rights of the Company’s rights to patents or copyrights.

    7. Ownership. The Recipient agrees not to show or demonstrate any work that is a result of their collaboration with The Company, without the expressed, written permission of the The Company. The Company owns all rights to any work developed or produced by The Recipient for The Company.
    8. Term. The forgoing commitments of each party shall survive any termination of the Relationship between the parties for a period of three years after application of Section 5 above.
    9. Successors and Assigns. This agreement shall be binding upon and for the benefits of the undersigned parties, their successors and assigns, provided that Confidential Information of the Company may not be assigned without the prior written consent of the Company. Failure to enforce any provision of this Agreement shall not constitute a waiver of any term hereof.
    10. Governing Law. This agreement shall be governed by and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of California and shall be binding upon the Recipient in the United States and worldwide.
    11. Remedies. The Recipient agrees that any violation or threatened violation will cause irreparable injury, both financial and strategic, to the Company and in addition to any and all remedies that may be available, in law, in equity or otherwise, the Company shall be entitled to injunctive relief against the threatened breach of this Agreement by the Recipient without the necessity of proving actual damages.

  • studderine0

    I completely understand the purpose of the NDA but if the work is live then I can't imagine why they would care. My rule of thumb: if the agency has it on their portfolio then you can have it on yours as well.

    • part of the problem is that they have no portfolio, just a website with some marketing bsakiersky
  • omahadesigns0

    I see your website link in your profile. Do something to update that man, ASAP.

    • ha ha ha, yep, that's the ideaakiersky
    • alright, replaced with a placeholder, got to get some more details up since iit's pretty empty without work examplesakiersky
    • If you don't need a job?freedom
    • Do you have a better pic of yourself?freedom
  • cannonball19780

    If the time period is up on the NDA, you don't have to ask anyone to post anything.

    • Also, if they are in a public space, the NDA is usually invalidated.cannonball1978
  • yurimon0

    Prob best to look up laws regarding your rights in California regards you looking for work on in this situation on line # 10. cali laws should overwrite anything they cant do in this contract also.