Do we "own" our work?

The subject sets it up, and I didn’t really know which forum section to post this in (or if this question is within the purview of these fora), but the real question is:

Say we sell our voice work to a client, be it for a radio commercial, telephone automated-attendant, audiobook, etc…

Do we still own the work we did? I.e. can we always represent it in our portfolios (if that’s the right terminology)?

It’s about selling reproduction-rights.

Contract may say “exclusive” or “all rights”, then you can’t sell it to anyone else, or use it for any other purpose, unless you first clear that additional use with the client who bought it.

Can sell non-exclusive rights: you can sell exactly the same recording to multiple customers.
Some sound-libraries work like that.

In a demo-reel, (as opposed to a show-reel of product you’ve actually sold),
you can make fictional* works. Those could be similar, but not exactly the same, as work you’ve sold.

[ * Some budding VO artists use real brand-names, whom they haven’t worked for, in their demo-reel.
I think that’s a bad idea. I would use a fictional company-name if including one is necessary,
that’s ethical and makes you more memorable, there’s a lot of competition out there ].

You could team up with one of the many out of work writers out there, announce original work and use it as promotion for both of you.


Read and understood both replies.

I’ve pretty much decided, from the beginning, that I might often be using a pseudonym. Problem is, once someone has heard my voice a couple-three times, they pretty much recognize it instantly.

Edited: to remove unnecessary fluff.