Employment law · Startup Law

Intellectual Property and Freelancers

Valentin Saulyak

November 11th, 2018

I am wondering about collaboration with freelancers (especially Upwork) and Investors/accelerators attitude to it.

I am working on my product and need to delegate part of my work. Upwork looks like good option for me. Upwork's Terms of Service has intellectual property protection, however I am not sure does this correspond with all the countries laws. Probably there are countries where Upwork's Terms of Service violates lows and doesn't work.

Also I would like to know investors and accelerators mind about such kind of collaboration.



Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

November 11th, 2018

Early stage investors and accelerators are very supportive of outsource contractors because there is no obligation to support them in the event the company fails. They also know that the MVP will be an early version, so trade secrets/IP can be developed inhouse as the company matures. You might be best advised to split, if you can, key projects/modules between different consultants to protect you from having a single consultant from knowing your entire platform.

A caution about Upwork - I have been seeing traffic that Upwork is blocking companies and consultants who have been working together for some time deeming them "eligible to hire as an employee". I am not certain the conditions that trigger this, but you could find yourself unable to continue with a consultant you have a deep relationship with.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

November 12th, 2018

I am not familiar with Upwork's terms and conditions with regard to intellectual property. You should have your own terms regardless for when you work with contract labor. Discuss the options with your attorney if you're concerned about owning the things you're sending out to get done. But as far as hiring freelancers, quality work is quality work. Just make sure that you don't have to repeat work because only one person knows how whatever-it-was got built. That means source files for design work, code for software, etc.

Owning the source material can be a different price than just getting the results. If I hire a designer, I may pay up to 3x the price if I want a template than if I just want a finished PDF for a piece. Understandably, why would a freelancer enable someone else's work and short themselves more work?

It's not collaboration, it's outsourcing. You may be able to specify the country in which the work is being done when you're seeking assistance.

Alan Petzold ECC / Evolving Coal Corp

November 12th, 2018

Valentin Hopefully I can help. I do not know about Upwork's terms. However, you can get free help or for little money. SEE Ask a Nerd. https://hourlynerd.com/ or https://hireanerd.net/ or THEN go to Fiverr.com YES has TWO "rr" in it. Stating at just $5.00 you can get great info for what you are looking for. Theses are People from all over the world!!! I would strt here first. Just give them a small piece to do first, like a puzzle. This should get you started. If you are in the USA then Score is FREE help too. Mainly retired guys that just like businesses. I think that we need to know what type of business you want to accomplish. This way we can better direct you with your seeking investors to fit your idea or business. Good luck. Alan infoSeeker007