Inktober lands me a job! I need your advice :)


  • SVS OG

    Hi Everyone!

    Exciting news: Inktober got me a paying project. Not only was particpating in Inktober fun, it also got me work opportunities. So thank you Inktober & @Jake-Parker πŸ™‚

    So recently I have been contacted by a company that wishes to use my Inktober illustrations for t-shirts & maybe other things.

    Illustration examples:
    0_1544419711844_tranquil @darian.pereira.jpg 0_1544419735759_slicycle slicer @darian.pereira.jpg 0_1544419745779_deep_@darian.pereira.jpg

    Here is an overview of the terms:
    0_1544419812640_overview_darian.jpg

    Things I need your help with:

    1. Are the clauses fair in terms of usage, rights & pricing ? (Except for the ownership clause which I am not cool with as I may use those illustrations in the future for prints.What alternate solution can I provide instead?)
      T-shirts may be sold for 20-30 dollars.

    2. If not, what are the possible alternatives I could provide for the clause in question?

    3. Is there an online store out there that doesn't use paypal for transactions? Paypal's cut is expensive for me when deciding for total price of a product.

    4. I have watched Lee's business videos & I am currently reading the Practical & Ethical Guidelines handbook of the Artist's Guild to improve my understanding. Any sections that are a recommended read for my situation?

    Thank you all! I look to send in my response by this week.
    I hope the Christmas preparations are in full swing ! πŸ˜ƒ


  • SVS OG

    @darian i don’t have any experience when it comes to these types of projects/contracts but I am very happy for you. Your work is awesome.


  • SVS OG

    @nyrrylcadiz I appreciate your happiness for me ! And thank you for helping in the best way you could.

    I enjoy the lighting you have in your compositions πŸ™‚


  • SVS OG

    @darian thank you. Your linework is great!



  • @darian Yay Darian! It was only a matter of time! Congratulations. I'm so thrilled for you. I love your line work. It's so precise and even. I'm afraid I can't help you with the clauses. Just wanted to say congratulations!!!!



  • Hi @Darian

    Congratulations on your first request :)! That is always a very exciting feeling.
    What I have learned through the years, is (however hard it is) always read contracts very carefully (and I can read from your post you're taking many steps to prepare yourself properly).

    In the past I have had my work licensed by some companies selling clothing and pillows and I always am very cautious since the terms can be less than ideal for the artist. When starting out it is sometimes hard to not get carried away by enthusiasm. What I have learned is to always protect my copyright. An amount of money for your work is of course appealing (and very much needed to live by), but on the long term it is also important to think about the directions you want to take and how to go about your own branding. Personally I have stopped the licensing of my artwork to be used by third parties to sell them. Because the payment for the artist, the one that designs the images that are being used, is often not very realistic, and mostly the companies end up earning a lot. When I started selling my work under my own brand, my own collections so to speak, I noticed that the profit to make is just a lot higher. Of course when starting out, this may not be the ideal situation, so therefore my question about what your personal goals are.

    I looked over the terms and here are some points I found that you may consider thinking over (as you already said you were not very happy about the copyright situation):

    • "Due to legal precautions the company must take legal ownership for the design(s).."
      How I understand this, is they will own the complete copyright of your images. What this means is that they do not only get a license to use and sell your artworks, but in fact legally own your artworks. I'm always very cautious when this is asked. Personally, I do not give away my copyrights completely.
      They write that you can request to have the legal ownership back, but no where is stated how you would go about doing this, and if you for example have to pay (part of the) funds back to them.

    • I understand you'll receive royalty-like payment, anywhere between 15% and 50% depending on several factors. Personally I would like to know the percentage beforehand. I understand there is no amount involved to purchase the image itself, just a royalty?

    • "Unless the company purchases an individuals design(s) for an agreed upon amount of money for purposes of complete alteration and personal use of design and image".
      --> Know that alteration is something that the company is allowed to do when owning the images legally. Ask yourself if you're comfortable with this. I know that later on they talk about consent, but still; ask yourself if you'd want this or not.

    • Later on "partial legal ownership" is discussed. I think this contradicts what was stated before.

    To sum it up: I think that 15-50% is a very wide range. 15% is on the lower side, especially when you do not get paid any amount in front for basically selling your art. 50% would be ideal, yet I think unlikely.
    Do you know anything about the projected sales? Of course when their clothes sell very quickly in large quantities the amount you get paid can be high.
    Have you done any "background research" on the company? Maybe ask a fellow artist that sells their art to them what their experiences are?

    About Paypal: I think it's one of the best options. Most of the time you'll pay a fee of anywhere between 2 and 3% for payment transactions as a business.

    I hope this helps with deciding and maybe altering some conditions :)!

    Lovely greetings,

    Nadya



  • @darian I have experience of this when taking people to court over stolen photographs. We hand over the copyright to our lawyers until the court case then they hand it back after the case. I've never handed it over for someone else to use in designs. We had it worded by our agent to say they would return copyright to us, in a clause. Here they say they will only take the image down from their site and not associated with the company, sounds too vague. They don't write they hand you the copyright back only that you can make a request. Ask them to add something like this in a clause "...in return we will hand legal ownership back to you the contributor/designer" Otherwise its in legal limbo. It's much simpler and clearer then.


  • SVS OG

    Thank you for your support @sas ! and I know that if you could help with the clauses, you surely would πŸ™‚


  • SVS OG

    Greetings @nadyart !

    Thank you for sharing your in-depth response, experience and guidance! πŸ™‚

    You are right about the copyrights clause being contradictory with full ownership & partial ownership. I will ask them about it.
    Would licensing a couple of artworks for a specific fee, be a better workaround?

    I am not looking to sell the copyright as I am looking to open a store on sites like society6 and set up art prints there. I would love to set up a shop without third parties especially sites like society6 requires 50% of the earnings. Can you kindly recommend a way to go about it or some sources I could learn from? That would be great!

    • I will write to them asking about the process of returning the legal ownership. I have never heard about a return of legal ownership so I can surely learn something from this situation. Shall research about it too. Good point on the payback of funds too! Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Yes, 15%-50% is a wide range. So it gets vague in terms of earnings so I will have to negotiate a tighter percentage range. Maybe 30%-50% ? Yes, they want to own the design & pay a percentage of the earnings (royalties) without a purchase fee. πŸ˜•

    • Good point again. If there will be image alteration involved and I will be credited for the design, if it doesn't fit with my artistic aesthetics..that's like sinking my ship I guess. Maybe I can ask them to share the alterations & they can only be approved by me (It's probably a long shot but I could try it out).

    I will ask them about the projected sales as they haven't mentioned anything about it. The thing about background research is that I looked up the name of the company and only a link showed up of a site with a home page that says 'coming soon'. They are probably starting up. What I can do is ask them more about their company, artists they have worked with & an example of their sales in case I'm off with my research.

    Yes, Paypal takes 2-3% for payment transactions & other sites do something similar..I'm not in the US & with 50% going to third party online stores, it becomes expensive. It sounds better to have your own store..will have to figure how that works..congratulations to you on achieving that success!

    This has simply been great. Thank you so much Nadya for your nuggets of wisdom! πŸ˜ƒ
    Thank you for your precious time!

    I also like how welcoming and pleasing your art is.

    More power to You,
    Darian


  • SVS OG

    Hey @sigross ! Thank you for pointing that out. Yes, it is vague as they have only mentioned about a request and it does not mention that the copyright will be handed over necessarily. Good insight..that helps..thanks! If I go ahead with the project, I will ask them to re-word as you have suggested πŸ™‚

    What is the approximate term for handing over your copyright to the lawyers ? Do court cases have am exact term period?



  • @darian It's basically so the lawyers can register it with the copyright office as it's really complicated and expensive to do single claim cases as an individual. So they do it in batches to save on legal fees. Most people/publications/websites settle out of court so those ones are faster and sometimes it can take a couple of years. Especially as some cases can take place in another country. It's a bit of a nightmare. Vice stole an exclusive photo of my friend's for a documentary, I saw it and told him. So his agent sent them a bill and managed to get Β£2K out of Vice before going to court. So it can be worth the effort.

    If the company doesn't even have a website yet I would avoid them for now. At least wait until they have their website up. They shouldn't really need to own the copyright unless they are buying the image outright. It doesn't make sense legally. If your work is original then its yours and its only a legal problem when you start using copyright or trademarked images in your work. Like Mickey Mouse mashups or like Shepard Fairey stealing an Obama photo and making art out of it. Then you need to get permission or risk getting taken to court. Most of the time you just get a (DMCA) take down notice. So it doesn't make sense with original work for print on demand products.

    If you join an illustration association they will help you with legal contracts. Copyright law is a minefield.


  • SVS OG

    @sigross Haha..a minefield is a fun & creative way of putting it. Thank you for the insights!

    Yes..things do look a little sketchy with the client with..& maybe they don't know that they don't need the copyrights but a license, or they are aware of it & just trying to get the most out of this deal.

    I am currently looking at contract templates from the Practical & Ethical Guidelines handbook of the Artist's Guild.
    It might help me out.



  • @darian Good to get some knowledge on how stuff works. Also might be an idea to give them a call. Speaking to someone in person can give you an indication if they're someone you think you can trust.


  • SVS OG

    @sigross Yes..that's a good idea too. It's an international client.

    Another thing I am wondering is whether there are any clauses that are only applicable to a specific country or area which are void elsewhere when it comes to art & art sales in terms of permissions & licenses.



  • @darian said in Inktober lands me a job! I need your advice πŸ™‚:

    Greetings @nadyart !

    Thank you for sharing your in-depth response, experience and guidance! πŸ™‚

    You are right about the copyrights clause being contradictory with full ownership & partial ownership. I will ask them about it.
    Would licensing a couple of artworks for a specific fee, be a better workaround?

    I am not looking to sell the copyright as I am looking to open a store on sites like society6 and set up art prints there. I would love to set up a shop without third parties especially sites like society6 requires 50% of the earnings. Can you kindly recommend a way to go about it or some sources I could learn from? That would be great!

    • I will write to them asking about the process of returning the legal ownership. I have never heard about a return of legal ownership so I can surely learn something from this situation. Shall research about it too. Good point on the payback of funds too! Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Yes, 15%-50% is a wide range. So it gets vague in terms of earnings so I will have to negotiate a tighter percentage range. Maybe 30%-50% ? Yes, they want to own the design & pay a percentage of the earnings (royalties) without a purchase fee. πŸ˜•

    • Good point again. If there will be image alteration involved and I will be credited for the design, if it doesn't fit with my artistic aesthetics..that's like sinking my ship I guess. Maybe I can ask them to share the alterations & they can only be approved by me (It's probably a long shot but I could try it out).

    I will ask them about the projected sales as they haven't mentioned anything about it. The thing about background research is that I looked up the name of the company and only a link showed up of a site with a home page that says 'coming soon'. They are probably starting up. What I can do is ask them more about their company, artists they have worked with & an example of their sales in case I'm off with my research.

    Yes, Paypal takes 2-3% for payment transactions & other sites do something similar..I'm not in the US & with 50% going to third party online stores, it becomes expensive. It sounds better to have your own store..will have to figure how that works..congratulations to you on achieving that success!

    This has simply been great. Thank you so much Nadya for your nuggets of wisdom! πŸ˜ƒ
    Thank you for your precious time!

    I also like how welcoming and pleasing your art is.

    More power to You,
    Darian

    You're Welcome @Darian! Maybe it is a good idea to licence a small amount of artworks for a fixed fee, plus an agreed royalty percentage?
    If you like to sell the artworks on Society6 or your own shop and other sites it is very important to have clear agreements on the licensing. You must be certain you can sell the design elsewhere,. Maybe they like to keep the designs exclusive and a platform like Society6 can be viewed as competition. Yet maybe they don't mind you selling your own artwork; I'd work the specifics out beforehand though. This is exactly what happened in my situation with one of the companies I designed pillows for. I had not understood from the contract they owned my work and when I wanted to sell it, it was pointed out to me. You learn a lot from these experiences though, and everyone will go through a few to find out what it is you think is important for your own manner of working :).

    To answer your question about setting up a shop; there are multiple ways to go about this and the best choice/platform for you depends on the time you wish to spend on it I think. There are also monetary factors weighing in of course.

    Platforms like Society6, Red Bubble, Zazzle and INPRNT for example take all of the work as far as printing, shipping and customer support goes out of your hands. You're just responsible for your design (and a some branding imaging for your shop). You don't get a very large percentage of the earnings on the other hand. You can Google for differences in earnings among these platforms and I think S6 comes out as one of the least paying platforms. You can take matter into your own hands and start your own shop, i.e: Etsy, Shopify, Amazon, or build your own shop (from scratch / hire someone / use a host like Squarespace with built-in templates).

    You can find a lot about the pro's and con's about each platform online, i.e.: http://shopkeeperhq.com/2017/04/26/pod-or-etsy-or-shopify-which-is-better/.

    Personally I run an Etsy store. They have a large clientbase all over the world and if you use SEO, photography etc. to your advantage, you can make decent sales. I drive the largest part of the traffic there through social media though. I like the system and the fact that I can be in total control of the quality of the products I print and ship. I can apply my own branding to everything and give a personal touch to each shipment. I also like to have the personal communication with my client where need be as opposed to a platform like S6 where you have nothing to do with the customers. *Edit: there are definately some cons to Etsy too, I'm aware of that :). I will be starting a standalone shop in the next year next to Etsy too. But I keep my Etsy store since it's just a popular website for a lot of clients in the USA. Some cons are the algorithm can be a bit questionable at times and their seller fees have gone up quite a bit. Yet I find if you take this into consideration when pricing your work, this doesn't need to be an obstacle. I'm sure there will be people that disagree, as with every platform :). So maybe try one or two things and see what you like most!

    I can talk about this for hours, so I'll stop right here ;-).

    I hope their endeavors will be successful and you get to have a part of that and under the right conditions, that is very exciting!!

    Lovely greetings,

    Nadya



  • @darian I think an agreement over a contract is always based on what each party understands to be the truth (according to their laws), hence the simpler the language, the harder it is to contest anywhere in the world. But where I have faced problems is when a contract is breached, you have to consider in the contract which country the court case takes place.


  • SVS OG

    @nadyart Your artwork in your Etsy shop is darling!! Do you print it at home or use a service to fulfill? What brand/type of paper do you print on?



  • I have no experience, so I can't offer any help. I wanted to tell you congratulations though! That's awesome!



  • @juliepeelart Thank you! I don’t use a print on demand service, but I order my own prints from a specialized printing company in my own country (the kind of paper I choose can vary). I also print a limited number of prints myself. I most often use Epson matte paper, heavy weight :).


  • SVS OG

    @nadyart Yes..a license for a small amount if works for a fixed fee & an agreed royalty percentage πŸ™‚

    Thank you for sharing your insight on Etsy & standalone stores & your past experience & the experience from Etsy. Much Appreciated!

    Yes, S6 takes 50% of the selling price & artists retain their copyrights. Will look into Etsy too and analyze the pro's & con's via your link .

    Thank you for your advice & positivity ! Have a great day!


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