Please help in responding to a contract!



  • Don't feel obligated to read this all the way through I know its long! From what I'm understanding though is that they want sole ownership, but give me permission to use the work for my portfolio. Also they have ownership over all my materials that were used to create the final images. This contract seems to hit on a few of the points that Will, Jake and Lee say are no-no's. I'm wondering how to respond to them to negotiate the contract so it is not so one sided...?

    4. Ownership of work and prodcut/intellectual property:
    All patatable and non-patentable inventions, discoveries, ideas, source code, materials, and other intellectual property (hereinafter “Materials”) which are developed by CONTRACTOR for COMPANY under the terms of this AGREEMENT shall be deemed to be works made for hire, and shall belong exclusively to COMPANY, and COMPANY shall be the sole owner of all copyrights, patents, inventions, discoveries and trade secrets in the same, including the right to change, edit and distribute same throughout the world. To the extent that any Materials ma not be deemed works made for hire, CONTRACTOR, hereby irrevocably assigns to COMPANY all its right, title and interest therein. CONTRACTOR shall give COMPANY and/or any COMPANY designee all reasonable assistance and shall execute all documents necessary to assist and/or enable COMPANY to prefect, reserve, register and/or records its rights in any Materials. However, the CONTRACTOR does have, by permission, the right to showcase ALL work in her personal portfolio and will be given credit wherever all contracted work appears: podcast, books, website, and published marketing materials.

    7. Return of COMPANY materials:
    All written information, source code, drawings, documents and materials prepeared by CONTRACTOR in the course of CONTRACTOR 's services hereunder shall be COMPANY's sole and exclusive property, and will be delivered to COMPANY at any time upon request, and in any event no later than promptly after expiration or termination of this Agreement, together will all written information, drawings, documents and materials, if any, furnished by COMPANY to CONTRACTOR in connection with CONTRACTOR's services hereunder and not consumed by CONTRACTOR in the performance of such services.

    Here is a pretty image to break it up! :D

    0_1461679237894_Pup and birdies.jpg



  • @bharris I wouldn't agree to it. But that's my personal opinion. Are you working in a studio on-site? Or is this a freelance type of job? Also, if you haven't seen Lee's business class, I highly recommend it.

    An any case, I would say it's reasonable to sign a non compete type of contract (they have license to use the images for a set time and up to a particular number of issues) but with you retaining the copyrights to the images. And you agree not to use for any other clients but can use for your own portfolio and postcard/solicitation to show your work.



  • @Suzy-Heitz I'm freelance. I need to finish that class actually, thank you for reminding me of that resource!

    Is there a way I could approach this contract to negotiate the terms?



  • @bharris I'm not a lawyer and don't have any idea what is considered contract protocol but would personally say, and I mean this as a suggestion, that you have every right to negotiate any contract with any company. With that said, they may not be open to negotiation, but you never know until you ask.

    Perhaps you could say something like:

    Thank you so much for sending your terms and conditions. However. after review, I am unable to move forward with the contract as is due to the terms including (maybe put some of the jargon here) I would be willing to negotiate if your company is able to make changes. etc.



  • @Suzy-Heitz Jargon! Yes I agree.

    I think I just need some "back support" from other illustrators. Thanks for your input!



  • I just recently discovered this website with all its amazing classes and resources so I haven't taken Lee's class on business but I did invest in this book when I started freelancing: http://www.amazon.com/Business-Legal-Forms-Illustrators-Crawford/dp/1581153643. It covers a lot of contract situations (anywhere from book publishing to collaborative projects to lectures) and has really helped me navigate and prepare contracts for sticky situations.

    With that in mind, I would agree only to allow them to use the work for a specified period of time within a specific set of boundaries but that the rights of the images remain yours after the termination or end of the agreed time period/license. If they wanted to buy the copyright to your work you can also offer that for an additional (high) fee. You didn't mention it before but with work for hire contracts royalties aren't always a given. I would look into that as well.

    I agree with @Suzy-Heitz that you should definitely see if they are willing to negotiate and work with you on this.

    Keep us posted on what happens! Best of luck. :)



  • If they want ownership then ask for more money . That's the road I'd go down anyway.



  • @laurencrest Thank you for that resource, I've been overwhelmed trying to research all that info online!

    @Jason-Bowen I agree. He's only doing a $15 hourly rate...



  • @bharris It is a lot of reading to do still after you get the book (if you get it) but it has been incredibly helpful and offers initial contract suggestions (best outcome for you) and then additional suggestions if the initial path that isn't how your client wants to go.

    Also, they are only paying $15/hour?! Yeah. I'd definitely try to negotiate. They are asking for a lot from you without giving much in return. If they don't go for it it is really their loss.



  • @bharris $15 an hour is quite low, unless its a project you would absolutely LOVE doing (maybe..). $25- $30 an hour is about the minimum even for beginners (someone feel free to argue though) and for all the rights they want you can definitely ask for more (copyright fee can be one big separate fee and you can still charge hourly for the illustration itself). So technically you can tell them "if you would like to purchase _____ rights, that would be $____. If they can't afford your full rights you could negotiate with partial rights etc.

    Would you say this company is on the big side? If they're on the big side I wouldn't work for $15 an hour including complete rights. Hope that helps!

    Also this book is an absolute MUST HAVE for any freelance artist. It has pretty much everything you need to know as a freelancer, price charts (I wouldn't base my pricing off it, but it gives you a rough idea), contracts, agreement, type of work, etc. http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Artists-Handbook-Pricing-Guidelines/dp/0932102166



  • @bharris There are two nice videos by Will Terry where he discusses pricing your work - they is very insightful.
    https://youtu.be/ENJo1_5TsPY
    https://youtu.be/j6xrt5ko1uw
    He also says how much he hates the Graphic Artist Guild book ;-)
    Personally, I think 15 USD/hour is pretty low, unless you live in a low-cost country - and a work-for-hire contract on top of that is stretching it even more. But, as Will Terry says, it depends on your motivations to do the job.



  • @Biscuits No it's a freelance author getting images made for a "how-to" book. Just 15 images and he will do the thumbnails (weird right?). Casual, almost stock-image. I'll loo at that one too! I'll get back at the end of the week and I'd like to have a revised contract to present back. Is it good to explain why I won't work without these revisions?



  • @bharris the fact that he (they) want to retain the rights doesn't seem that egregious to me. In fact, isn't that the case with most publishers? The main issue though, as Will has said and as others have brought up, is that full rights should come at a higher cost. The idea that "I'll let you use these images to promote yourself (i.e., your portfolio)" is somehow a benefit is kinda ridiculous.

    In other words, it should be pretty standard that you can include your own work in your own portfolio.

    The other major, MAJOR red flag is the hourly pay. How exactly will that work out? Did he give you any kind of a ceiling? I know you will be fair but what if he comes back and says: no, this took too long and I can't pay you that much? Or did you give him an estimate of how long each image would take?



  • @smceccarelli haha I just checked out the video to see why Will hates the book. I can definitely see where he's coming from, but besides the who price chart thing, there's a lot of other useful info for freelancers and I would still recommend at least taking a look at it to see if it's your cup of tea. Personally, its helped me a lot :)


  • administrators

    Whew, lot of stuff happening here. Good advice from everyone. : )

    I would say that this is a job you should probably turn down. I've never heard of a publishing job that pays hourly. That doesn't mean it's entirely impossible, just that it's not standard. I can't stand hourly rates because it actually penalizes you for being good at your job. In other words, if it takes someone else twice as long as you to finish an image, they would make twice as much for being slow!

    If any client INSISTS on being hourly, don't leave off anything in your time billing (include all email correspondense time, research, sketches, scanning, revisions, and final paintings with revisions). Then add about a third more time to that and that will be how many hours you bill them for. Many artists leave off a lot of this type of stuff and only bill for the final sketch and painting. Keep a log of these steps so you can support your hours when you bill and let your client know before you start that these things will be billed.

    The work for hire thing is a deal killer and is horrible for our industry. if every artist just said no to it, it would go away. I understand about needing to make money, etc. but this is a road that I advise highly against. Unless the work has the potential to be AMAZING. Most work for hire jobs will just get you more work for hire jobs, so it's not really in your best interest to do it. I'd recommend someone work at a cafe before doing the work for hire stuff. It's just so bad for our industry.

    Each person has to figure this stuff out for themselves and I understand it's difficult. Maybe try to negociate the rights and see if they will budge. Also try to work out an overall project rate if possible.

    Let me know if you have any other questions about this stuff. Good luck! : )



  • @mattramsey He is a freelancer, so I'm not sure what they regularly do... He didn't give me a ceiling but I do think I would come up with an overall cost if I pursue this. It would make revisions and a kill fee easier to understand.

    @Biscuits Thanks for your recomendation!

    @Lee-White lol That's very true. Thank you for your insight! I always appreciate it!


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