My brother is a freelance motion designer and ran across this issue. With his permission, I'm posting it here to see if anyone has some insight on this, advice, or how to proceed:
I am building out HTML 5 animations for amVoIP app. I am creating over 10 unique characters featured in about 70 animations. In the initial T&Cs, I specified that they would have a buyout which includes the creative licenses to the 10 unique characters. The wording was as such -"DESIGNER will assign the reproduction rights of the design for the use(s) described in the proposal.Upon full and final payment delivery, unique characters created for the project become the property of the CLIENT.."
The client wanted to edit the T&Cs to "DESIGNER will assign, without limitation, all intellectual property rights of the design to the CLIENT."
My concern is the backgrounds created for these animations are very generic (skies are just gradients, sun, trees, hills, are all created very basically). First I do not see how they can copyright such generic renditions, and secondly I didn't want to have to worry about drawing these items differently for future projects just because they feel they have the creative license of these backgrounds. I reiterated these points to them and this was their response, "our legal dept feels we can and should be covering those generic backgrounds you're creating and want to make sure they are included in the creative license."
-I know it's long but thanks for reading and any input you may have. He can't really show examples because of NDA's.