On being a part of an art book...need input on licensing.

  • I have been contacted by someone interested in doing a fan-inspired album and art book based on Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight series. They found some fanart I'd posted on tumblr for it and approached me about being a part of the project. They asked me to license my work for use in the book and CD booklet. I am not sure how that works--would I give them a contract saying they had rights to use the work in those two places for a set length of time and then they would renew that license periodically? Or do I just charge them a one-time licensing fee? I am also not sure what to charge. Online estimates have pointed me anywhere from $25 to $500, so I am feeling a bit at a loss.

    They are doing this through kickstarter, so I'm not sure if they are planning on using my image on the kickstarter and then paying me once the kickstarter makes the goal or what. Probably a question to ask.

    My other concern is whether or not this will get me in some sort of legal trouble with it being Sanderson's intellectual property.

  • I guess it depends on your end goal. Do you want to be able to use those images later on to sell as prints? If so, make the licensing a set period of time. If you don't think you have much use for them anymore, charge more and let them have the licensing for as long as they like. I think 2 year license for $200 is reasonable for a small publishing thing like that.

  • I'd proceed with caution to be honest. Technically because it is fanart you don't own the license to license or sell it to anyone.

  • Since this is "fan-art" and you are using characters that are created and owned by someone else you would be probably be best to seek legal counsel. You may not have the rights to license, publish or sell the artwork.

  • big time red flags.

  • So update, it is supported by Brandon Sanderson. The guy running it, Michael Bahnmiller, is a composer who went to BYU where Sanderson teaches and I assume met him that way. Which actually makes me super stoked because I would love to be a part of a project endorsed by Sanderson!

    So I took your advice @WithLinesOfInk and quoted him $200. He wanted to know what it would take to make the license permanent in case they decide to make more prints in the future. Do I just double the price you think? I figured I'd make sure there was some sort of agreement in which I still had rights to the work, he just has my permission to use it in this project. Still working out the legaleese on that one though.

  • SVS OG

    @kasey-snow One of Lee's "How to make money in Illustration" talks about licensing for different lengths of time and how he charges for different agreements.... i cannot remember which one though...

  • Try using this tool and see what you come up with: https://www.the-aop.org/information/usage-calculator It's a tool for photographers (Illustrators as well really) to calculate costs for any additional usage of commissioned work, over and above the rights included with the initial fee.

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