It surprises me that a number of fellow freelancers say in their terms and conditions that the copyright remains theirs until the client has paid them, at which point the copyright is owned by the client.
If you are self employed, the copyright of something you have created, whether it’s a photograph, a design or a piece of copy, is always yours unless the client decides they want to own it – in which case they will need to pay you for the ownership.
But only if you agree to grant them the copyright. You don’t have to. A photographer I know will very rarely agree to sign over the copyright of the work he has created, no matter how large a fee the client is prepared to pay.
It’s the law
In the UK, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 means that copyright of the work we create remains our intellectual property right.