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Character Owner Consent in Commissions

I've been thinking a lot lately about what an artist's role should be when someone wants to have another person's character in their commission.

I may be misrememering this, but I think a long while ago there was a consensus that it wasn't the artist's job to track down a character's owner for permission.
What's the current opinion on this kind of situation?

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 15th, 2018 04:04 pm (UTC)
I think the opinion is still the same. It would be virtually impossible to hunt down everyone and it's still hours working.

With that said I personally have third parties in images come to me with their ref when it's concerning my gore account. If only because the content can be far more upsetting to have to clear up than a regular NSFW commission.
Aug. 15th, 2018 06:12 pm (UTC)
I recently had to deal with this. I had a guy who wanted to commission me of someone else's characters and he made it plain that they were not his nor was he friends with them. I asked if he could get proof that the owner was fine with (which in the end they were) and I did the art.

If I know a person is friends with someone I usually won't ask for proof, unless it's a NSFW com. Then I ask that the person(s) note me directly with permission.

But that's me. I wouldn't want someone else to commission art of me without being my friend or, for a NSFW pic, a close friend or my SO. I know a lot of artists won't track down someone for permission, and I usually don't, but once in a while I think it's a good idea.
Aug. 15th, 2018 07:20 pm (UTC)
The problem is, when your doing a commission as a form of a surprise to someone else as a birthday gift. This one falls heavily on a grey territory. OF course the guy did ask permission but there were times where they kinda wish to ask for a permission but they paid extra to keep it underwraps.

Some comissions can go into this direction but its difficult to notify the owner of their original characters!
(Trying to remmeber the term.. paying under the table?)
Aug. 15th, 2018 07:28 pm (UTC)
It's not the artist's job to do the work of tracking people down to make sure they're okay with being in the commission. I've stopped going on people's words that the others involved are okay with it due to the numerous take down request of images by those parties. Instead, I have everyone involved send a message that they're okay with their character being in a commission, even if it's a surprise.

No note, no commission. It saves headaches.
Aug. 15th, 2018 08:12 pm (UTC)
If permission/consent to use a character is needed, it is the commissioner's responsibility to ensure it is given. If the artist asks for verification, it is the commissioner's responsibility to make sure the artist is given direct confirmation. The artist's responsibility is to not begin something until they're satisfied that all parties are consented.
Aug. 15th, 2018 08:35 pm (UTC)
I leave it to my client to get the owners of the other involved characters to come to me and show consent to be in it and that they understand what the drawing's gonna be about, or at least show proof that they consent with a screenshot of their chat or something.

I make the exception when the client can show proof that the other person involved "would" be okay with it, for a surprise art and such, and such proof is like both galleries having recent commissions with each other's characters, or something like that.

It was only one time that I did the tracking and asking for a piece with about 8 people... never again, t'was not worth the time and hassle just so I could get started on the actual work.

Aug. 15th, 2018 09:11 pm (UTC)
If the client wants to include someone else's character in a commission from me I require that person to contact me (via email or note, etc) to give permission. I will not budge on that if the comm is nsfw, or if there is specific content that while maybe isn't nsfw still might be questionable depending on the context (macro/micro, nudity, etc).
If I've done several drawings for the client and their friends before I might ease up on getting permission, however.
If the comm is meant to be a surprise I usually still require permission unless as I mentioned before I've done several pics of the characters together before.

If the client really wants the pic to be a surprise, (and if they're being polite about it) I may look at the profile of their friend as well as the client, and if I can determine by just looking that the people are on good terms I'll waive the need for permission. If there's no real interaction between them, if they don't have public profiles or if they're obviously not on good terms I'll still require their permission.
Aug. 16th, 2018 12:11 am (UTC)
I do think an artist should take some action out of courtesy to the clients. I would want an artist to check if my characters were involved and I think my current and past clients feel assured knowing I won't just draw their characters for anyone if I'm paid.

I generally include all characters owners involved when working on the art, so normally I don't have to ask. When it's gift/surprise art, and it's NSFW, I first check to see if they are "affiliated" like mates, master/pet, something very close, if there is a connection, then no problem. Same with recent art together.

If there's no clear connection, I require some kind of proof, which can generally be a screenshot of the two discussing the art piece together in a positive way. (Ex "Hey, we should get an art piece of us doing X." "That's a great idea!")
Aug. 16th, 2018 07:03 am (UTC)
It's not the artist's fault if they were intentionally mislead, but I do think there is a certain amount of due diligence that is expected.

If the information you receive doesn't seem suspect and there's nothing that seems to ping anything suspicious then it can't really be faulted on the artist's behalf. They shouldn't be expected to know every single person and what characters they have, and to expect that is absurd.

However if the information received seems suspect, such as references with mismatched information on the credits of the image or links provided, clearly obvious edits, or the off chance you know for a fact the character doesn't belong to that person, then I think there is a certain amount of responsibility to clarify with the client. If you just go into it, knowing there's a discrepancy, and don't clear it with the character owners, then yeah, it's on the artist's head.
Aug. 16th, 2018 08:21 am (UTC)
Anytime I was commissioned to have someone elses character involved I told them NO, unless THAT characters owner Notes me their consent. This did cause an issue on one of the jobs and I hate to sound like a butt about it but.... I really don't care if this is a SURPRISE pic cuz of -insert your reason here-

I made that mistake loooong ago when I first started doing commissions and I was lucky it ended okay. I have seen far too many cases end BADLY and nearly ruin artists reputations. Sorry but your good intentions for getting your bff or whatever the relation is NEVER more important then getting in the way of or potentially ruining an artists income/JOB. =/
Aug. 16th, 2018 11:51 am (UTC)
I leave it to the client to get consent, and I ask for that approval to be sent to me via PM or screenshot, and if that consent isn't received I will deny the commission.
Aug. 16th, 2018 10:32 pm (UTC)
Generally I'd say its up to the commissioner to get permission, but I believe it's the duty of the artist to request evidence of said permission.

I actually know of an incident where someone had gotten a piece with their friends character in it, but when they and that friend fell out, the character owner demanded the piece be removed, or have their character edited out of it entirely. This was at least a year AFTER they were made aware the piece was done though, so I'd say the right to demand it's removal may have expired?

So to be on the safe side, I'd suggest an artist look at the person's profile to see if they have any issue's publicly noted about what you can and can't do with their characters, since if they do you know that it's unlikely they'd agree to let them be in certain types of commissions. The incident I mention above, the character owners argument was that they didn't like their character being in sexual situations, and they were at least present at sexual situations in the piece in question.
Aug. 23rd, 2018 06:51 pm (UTC)
I ask the customer to have other owners of characters involved to contact me and give me permission. I would hate to draw unauthorized smut of someone's character, but tracking down owners would be unpaid labor.
Sep. 3rd, 2018 07:04 pm (UTC)
I recently put together a contract for a high priced furry commission, maybe it's helpful to see what I wrote for this issue?
"The Client agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Maker against any and all claims,
costs, and expenses, including attorney’s fees, due to character design in the Work at the request of the Client for
which no copyright permission or privacy release was requested or uses that exceed those allowed pursuant to a
permission or release."

So basically by signing the contract you agree that you have permission to use all characters that appear in the piece and if you didn't get permission, I'm not responsible for the resulting fallout.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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