Work for Hire? Not sure what to do.



  • @davidhohn regarding work for hire while working full time at a company - it has been my observation that those contracts usually stipulate that they own EVERYTHING you do during or after work hours wether done in house or not.

    I've rarely seen that enforced by a company but technically they could claim ownership of your work done outside of company time.

    I'm not sure if there is a different term for contracts like that or if it is simply just written that way



  • @carlianne I'm curious to hear more about the "outside company time" thing. I feel like that'd be hard to justify and/or enforce?



  • @lpetiti said in Work for Hire? Not sure what to do.:

    @carlianne I'm curious to hear more about the "outside company time" thing. I feel like that'd be hard to justify and/or enforce?

    Look up the Bratz Dolls lawsuit.



  • @TaniaGomesArt thanks! (And I totally relate with the fear of rejecting work -- I think that's common for freelancers since often we don't know where the next project is coming from. In recent years, because of having a waiting list, it's been nice to be able to turn down projects that don't feel like a good fit. But now and then that old fear wants to raise its ugly head and has to be pushed back down!)

    As far as where I got the info to build my contracts, first I did some research about the publishing industry and contracts, read a bunch of sample contracts shared by lawyers/organizations/fellow artists, and figured out what information I needed to include and what I wanted to include. (For US-based illustrators, I highly recommend a visit to copyright.org & also learning about legal requirements for your state, as the contract will be governed by the laws of the state you're living in. It's also highly recommended to have any contract you write reviewed by a lawyer who specializes in illustration and/or publishing contracts.)

    Gonna basically repeat what @davidhohn said: it's so important for illustrators to educate themselves! Not only on contracts, rights, and copyright law but even the wider scope of the business of illustration and the market you want to work in. Because of this, I'm not going to provide a step-by-step guide, but will happily share some resources that got me started:

    1. SCBWI (The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). Their guide The Book, which is updated every year, always contains a sample publishing contract along with "cliffs notes" that explain confusing or potentially exploitative wording.
    2. What Should Go Into an Illustration Contract from the Business of Illustration blog run by illustrator/designer/art director Neil Swaab.
    3. Contracts and Agreements under the Tools and Resources section on the Graphic Artists Guild website.
    4. Standard Form of Agreement from the AIGA.

    There is SO much more information out there! If you find a great resource in your search, please share -- personally, I'd love to see it! (And if you want to see my contract template to compare it with what you already have, feel free to send me a private message.) ❤



  • @willicreate interesting! I'd noticed that the Bratz dolls quietly disappeared from stores for a while, but never knew why. Definitely a cautionary tale for artists -- know what you're signing!



  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 Thank you so much. These links are really helpful. ❤ I think is more than time that I start taking this legal part seriously and educate myself.

    Yeah, you are right and I forgot to mention - I also became more able to lose that fear since I have steady work from a tabletop games company. And because of having my back covered, started to say no more often, and realised that the more I said no to what I didn't want, the more things I wanted started to appear. But is definitely harder when you don't know where your next paycheck will come.


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    @carlianne I would be interested to see the wording of a contract that actually states that.

    But I can't say for certain a ridiculous clause like this doesn't exist. I have seen contracts that state the "rights are licensed in all forms now known or created in the future throughout the known universe"
    My feeling is, "You want to publish my work in Alpha Centauri? -- Cool. Let's add a bunch of extra zeros to that licensing fee!"

    But, for anyone reading this thread who decides to get a full-time in-house illustration position -- read your contracts! This would clearly be a negotiating point that could (and absolutely should) be crossed out.*

    *Except in the case of the Bratz dolls. I'm actually sympathetic to Mattel on this one.
    Carter Bryant made a product that directly competed with his employer.
    If you are a shoe designer working for Nike, they are going to be understandably irritated if you design a shoe and then take it over to Adidas (here in PDX that is literally across the river)
    What Nike shouldn't be irritated about is if you are a shoe designer who writes a picture book and has it published. The two markets don't overlap in any significant way.

    As a full-time employee I would have no problem agreeing not to create a directly competing product. But I would not agree to letting the company own EVERYTHING I make outside of the office.



  • Hey, everyone. So, I think I've decided to take the WFH option. I am going to increase my quote, possible double it though. I will request that my name is on the cover and that I can use images for my portfolio. As a single income household, I really can't afford to turn it down. If I double the quote and they don't accept that, then I guess that's my answer.

    I have 2 other books that are looking likely to happen too, BUT, you can't guarentee anything and if those fall through and I don't take this job, then Ill be kicking myself. On the other hand, of they all come through I'm going to (well, be exhausted for the next 6 months!!) be able to pay off some debt.

    It's been so helpful reading everyones comments. This group of people are the best. So glad to be a part of it.



  • @Janette let us know what happens!



  • @Janette absolutely understand where you're coming from, Janette! It sounds like you're doing your due diligence and that usually leads to a good outcome. Please let us know how it goes. 😊


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