Question regarding contracts for unpaid work


we're starting a website that caters to a certain demography - and need some illustrations done. We have a few folks interested in contributing the illustrations for free - but we want to be safe in accepting that work.

I understand how to deal with interns - paid or unpaid.

What kind of contacts (samples would be appreciated) should we include for folks who want to contribute to our site - unpaid. The business is in California.

We're not incorporated or s-corp etc. just a bunch of folks working on a site for now.

How do I engage free-lance contractors who are willing to work for no pay.


Contract NDA Free

asked Feb 22 '13 at 05:18
21 points

2 Answers


There are a few different legal strategies to do this, and consulting a lawyer is highly recommended as hiring unpaid workers is risky. One sample document that can be useful, whatever contractual relationship you decide to build with the freelance designers, is definitely a generic IP Assignment to make sure you own the rights to the illustrations.

Another option is a simple service agreement for commissioned illustration - although you might want to add some language related to "good and valuable consideration" (see an example here ) to replace the price clause.

answered Feb 27 '13 at 04:56
829 points


You can make anyone sign an NDA for anything - not bound to a specific relationship between you. Have you considered paying the free lancers a symbolic 1$ and just handle it like any other contractor? Make sure your contract assigns you all rights on the resulting work they do for you.

Anyway, IANAL and if you want to be on the really safe side, you should consult one.

answered Feb 26 '13 at 23:29
Johannes Rudolph
348 points
  • An NDA is a non-disclosure agreement, which means they agree not to reveal your corporate secrets. There's nothing wrong with asking for that, but I don't think it is relevant to the question. – Joel Spolsky 10 years ago

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Contract NDA Free