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Question DetailsAsked on 1/29/2018

If a typesetter creates docs for you in jpeg. format, don't they have to give you the originals after you fire them

I had a guy provide me documents for the past 6 months in jpeg form and I approved them and used them for my media but I terminated his services and now need the originals. Does he have the right to say no to providing them for me?

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3 Answers


Ouch - should have had him provide them in an uncompressed format like TIFF or PNG or GIF or such, then converted to JPG/JPEG yourself if you wanted smaller print files.

Read the contract you signed with him (or in fine print on the back of the invoices maybe) - many printers and Architects/Engineers and other "creative" types put in their contracts that the original plans, proofs, etc belong to them even if you paid for their preparation. Basically a somewhat crooked way to keep you coming back to them for more prints because you can't go elsewhere without the masters, though it also has the secondary purpose of ensuring the originals do not get altered by someone else and reused, which is important with stamped or sealed drawings from architects and engineers and such.

But if they did not state that in the contract, you should receive, at job completion, at least the printing originals plus any raw /cut and paste materials and photos you provided them - though whether you should receive "printers plates" and such, even if you have proper storage for them, might come down to a question of "standard industry practice".

Of course, if he was doing digital press printing for you or providing a digital product, there may be no paper original - only a computer file in the first place. He may have digitally produced the product in a program like Word or PowerPoint or Photoshop or Illustrator or a typesetting program or whatever, then just saved you a file copy in JPEG format, with no paper "master". Though depending on what that original file format was, it may or may not be any use to you if you do not have the associated program it came from on your computer.

So it may come down to what work product the contract called for - if the scope was to produce print master quality paper for you then you should get it, but if it was to provide JPEG files of certain documents he created for you, then most likely you would have to pay extra for the master files. Though that brings in another related but different issue - who owns the copyright on these ? His contract may say he does - otherwise under copyright law (including common copyright, which does not require you actually "file" for the copyright), he may not legally be entitled to keep them once he is no longer working for you.

Might well come down to a question for a lawyer (and no, Angies List does not have a category for that) - or if he is rigidly balking, you could offhand say something like you would hate to have to file bad Angies List and Yelp Reviews or a theft charge against him - that might break them free, though of course terminates any chance of him working on your jobs again, and he might badmouth you to other graphics artists / printers.

Answered 9 months ago by LCD


I did not have him sign any contract and he advised me that he could only create in jpeg. format last year and he gave me all of the jpegs. He says that I terminated him without malice and that he no longer has to answer any of my messages. But I told him that I needed them done in word but he says that I approved hundreds of documents and used them on my media in the format that he provided.

Answered 9 months ago by Vaper


Getting graphics in Word format is generally a mistake - once a graphic is intergrated into Word, in my experience, its quality is permanently degraded to JPEG or even PIC low resolution - I hae always inserted graphics in other formats to retain some resolution, though msot (or maybe all) true full resolution formats are not handled by Word. Anytime you get a MS Office work product, the graphics should be provided separately as well in high resolution files for future use.

In your case, it is pretty clear that you asked for (well, I guess actually accepted when theguy said that was all he could produce) and received JPEG files for 6 months. Asking him for Word format now, unless done as a separate work item for pay, is not reasonable.

In all probability, since he said JPEG was all he could produce the files in, what you have in hand is probably equivalent to the quality of what you would have gotten for the images if embedded in Word.

If he originally produced the files in Word but you asked for them in JPEG (so basically converting a Word formatted document into a single image file (which cannot easily then be taken back apart into the text and graphics and formatting components), you might have an argument that the Word files were part of the work product so he should give them to you - but you would have to pay at least the labor cost of putting them together on a thumb drive or such to provide to you. Back to my first answer on the copyright part of the issue, as to who "owns" the files. An attorney would have to hash that out.

I would say, unless you pay him to provde the Word files, ,if they exist - may all be in JPEG (and I don't see where that will get you at this point to have the Word files) I would say you are SOL. And next time research what file formats are "lossless - full resolution, and research your provider a bit better. Anyone who says they can only produce files in one format is pretty suspect as a graphics artist or digital document provider - pretty much all but the very simplest programs provide a number of SAVE AS alternatives for format - commonly at least TIFF, JPEG/JPG, GIF, PNG, maybe PICT (old - very low resolution), and almost always PDF as well. And there are programs out there (both more expensive ones like Photoshop and some which do nothing but file conversions) which can read a wide variety of file formats and reformat them into many other formats - especially with graphics.

Answered 9 months ago by LCD

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