Question about contract & copyright

  • Pro

    @Neha-Rawat No you're right haha ^^'' I don't have a good way to verify her sales independently, so I would only offer this to someone I feel that I can trust. We had many long discussions about copyrights and I felt like she was taking this seriously and really wanted to find something that worked for her, not just take the first deal because she intends to lie her way out of it anyway. I could be wrong about her, but my gut tells me she's okay. I also don't offer this kind of arrangement often so I don't have to keep track of multiple books.

  • Pro

    @paran Indeed everything is! Making a book to sell in 8 languages and many different countries seems a large and ambitious project, so there is potential for a really good payout if you and the publisher can work this out! The average rate or a children's book is $8,000 to $12,000 US, and since they will sell lots of books in lots of different countries and languages, and need more copyrights, it should be a lot MORE for this project 🙂 If they say something like $5,000 for the illustrations and rights, heck no get out of here! They'd be trying to take advantage of you. But if they have a good budget, like twice the average or more, this might be a good deal!

  • SVS OG

    First of all, congratulations on the job!

    This is just a little background information to take into consideration:

    My understanding of European publishers is that they offer very low advances in comparison to American ones. This is because the markets are smaller and they expect to sell fewer books. Therefore they hope to publish the books in other languages as well, in order to eventually make enough money. I am no expert, but that would make me think you want to be in on those other country rights, especially if your starting advance is low.

  • @NessIllustration said in Question about contract & copyright:

    @Neha-Rawat No you're right haha ^^'' I don't have a good way to verify her sales independently...

    I imagine it's probably less for being a stickler if they sold 1001 copies and more if sold like 50,000 and it does way better than anyone thought it would 🙂

  • SVS Instructor Pro


    Interesting! How would you keep track of their sales? "Good faith, trust, and honesty" seems too easy to take advantage of when it comes to money (sorry!).

    This is pretty much what you are agreeing to when working with any publisher, big or small. The "stick" behind this is that the license is limited to the 1000 copies specified in the contract. Selling one more copy beyond that is outside the scope of the license and is an infringement. What's more it is a "willful" infringement which carries potential statutory damages up to $150,000 per infringement (per book)

    Can I ask what your alternative is? Not arguing -- genuinely curious.

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @NessIllustration said in Question about contract & copyright:

    I sold her a non-exclusive license to sell up to 1000 copies worldwide

    This is going to seem like I'm nit-picking your message, and I'm really not trying to. You alway offer great advice and knowledge.

    Okay that said, because these board about about education I want to make sure information is clear. It's important to know the difference between the term "sold" or "sell" and "license". The two terms mean significantly different things in a contract.

    In short "sell" means the client "owns". While "license" means the client "rents"

    Ignoring the difference between these terms may allow a client think you mean something different than you intended in a contract. Should any kind of legal institution get involved they will side with the industry standard meaning.

  • Pro

    @davidhohn I think this may be an example of my less than perfect grasp on the English language! I don't always grasp nuances - I think of anything I get money for as something I "sold", but you are right this is better classified as "rent". Back in the day when I rented DVDs from the video rentals, I would have said I bought the DVD for 3 days hahaha... In my native language this makes sense, I swear!

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @NessIllustration Would never have guessed that english was a second language. No worries! My reply was as much for all the people who read your posts as it was for you.

    And BTW, I only know this because I used to read a board where an IP attorney was constantly reminding illustrators that the difference between these terms was super important!

  • Pro

    @davidhohn It's really good that you let me know! I honestly thought licensing (aka renting) and the phrase "selling a license" were the same thing. I thought of it as selling a "permission" so to speak and 100% thought this was good English. Thanks for interjecting, I need to know this! I don't want a misunderstanding with a client over a word difference like this!

  • @LauraA Thank you so much for your kind advice, Laura 😊 Yes, their budget is not so big and I asked for a royalty for the sales in Germany as well as foreign rights. I heard it is common that you get a certain percentage of royalty as a picture book illustrator in Germany. Well, it's a compromise for me, but I think it's not too bad.

  • @NessIllustration Yes, it is an ambitious project, indeed! Unfortunately their budget is below the average that you additionally I asked for a royalty. I will be thinking about this job..! Thank you for your kind help!

  • @paran I illustrated my first book with a Norwegian publisher last year (I live in Norway). The advance is really low (40 pages PB for about 2500 USD). To be honest, I have no clue what rights I have signed off. I will have to dig out the contract to check. I know I can re-sell illustrations I did for the book as art prints.

    It does have a 7% royalty (which is a bit higher than what US and UK publishers offer, so far I was offered 5% with the US and UK publishers).

    In many European countries, Norway included, picture book production depend on state support and cultural grants, due to the small market. In Norway, selling 1500 copies of a PB book is considered a fairly good sales number.

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    I was just doing a little math. Do you know what the cover price for the book will be?

    And if you don't know specifically, then what is the cover price for a typical 32 page picture book in Norway?

  • @davidhohn
    I have no clue about what the cover price for a typical 32 pages of PB in Norway.
    What is a cover price for a book exactly? A quick google search does not give me a satsfactory answer?
    The retail price of the book I did is around 15usd-20usd.

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @xin-li Sorry for the confusing terms.
    By "cover price" I meant "the price on the cover of the book", also called the "retail price".

  • @xin-li I'm sorry for the late reply and thank you for your valuable information!
    Btw I really love your art style. It's so beautiful 😊 😍

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