Clients and Freelancers are expected to behave professionally and ethically on the Elance site. This applies to communications, respect for confidentiality, and compliance with the terms of the job.
What information shared on a job is deemed confidential?
During the course of a job, clients may share proprietary information with their freelancer. Freelancers are required to treat such information as confidential and cannot disclose or use that information without express written approval by the client. Such information includes, but is not exclusively defined as:
- Trade secrets, inventions, ideas, computer code, etc.
- Product information, business plans, customers, suppliers, prices, etc.
- Information about client interactions with any third party
- Any other information designated by the client as confidential
Who owns the work product?
When Freelancers submit work product for their jobs and are subsequently paid for that work product, all intellectual property for that work product then belongs to the client unless otherwise agreed upon by both parties. Elance considers violations of this policy to include:
- Freelancers requiring that clients must pay further service fees, royalties, or licensing fees for use of that work product.
- Freelancers holding “hostage” work that has been produced and delivered to their client (ex: site access keys).
- Freelancers delivering work product over which they do not have ownership, distribution, or usage rights.
- Freelancers delivering work product that infringes on the intellectual property rights of another party
What evidence would be considered in the event of a dispute?
In the rare case of a dispute, the data entered into the Workroom will constitute the sole and exclusive record of facts and evidence for resolution of the dispute. Clients and freelancers are highly encouraged to use the provided Workroom to maintain an electronic record of all job interactions. This ensures that interactions between client and freelancer are documented in a forum that cannot be subsequently edited. Items that should be captured in the Workroom included:
- Job-related agreements and contracts
- Original job terms (ex: statement of work, wireframes, mockups) and subsequent modifications
- Job pricing and subsequent revisions
- Deliverables, milestones and timeframes
- Feedback on project progress and deliverables
- Notices of vacation and scheduling availability
- Notice, rationale, and acceptance of delays
- Acceptance of deliverables and completion of milestones
- Relevant emails, instant messages, and conversations should also be transcribed into the Workroom
By doing so, Clients and Freelancers will be protecting themselves on the job and significantly increase the likelihood of a great job outcome.
What records must a freelancer retain and make available to Elance?
Freelancers are required to keep and maintain complete and accurate records related to the freelancer services that are performed for Clients. This applies to all work completed within the past 12 months.
These records should include the service description, the proposal and payment terms, and information on all repeat or follow-on Freelancer services performed for each Client originated on Elance.
If questions arise regarding services rendered, work performed, or fees due to Elance, Freelancers agree to provide copies of these records and other relevant documentation to Elance within 20 days of Elance’s request.
My client is asking to communicate outside of Elance. Is this allowed?
Freelancers and Clients may communicate in whichever way is most effective once a proposal has been submitted by a Freelancer and the Client has opened up the Workroom messages with a Freelancer.
However, Elance strongly suggests that communications be transcribed in the Workroom to ensure that all parties are informed of updates, changes to terms, concerns, etc. Additionally, in the rare event that a job ends in a dispute, the documents and communication noted in the Workroom will be the sole evidence considered in the dispute resolution process.