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Printing and selling

Okay, I'm not going to name names because the client in question was never anything other than polite, but I'm not quite sure if I handled the situation properly or if maybe I'm just too paranoid, or if I maybe dodged a big bullet.

Basically, Nameless commissioned me for a bookmark and once it was finished they told me that they had a friend who had fallen upon hard times and wondered if I would be okay with them printing copies of the bookmark and selling them for $5 each to raise funds and help out the friend. I was a bit leery of this at first, but I wanted to help, since I know what it's like to be down and out in a bad personal situation. So I told the person that I'd be okay with it so long as I got $1 royalties per bookmark sold, so that it wouldn't be like me giving up my rights to the art, but they'd still get most of the profits to help out their friend. After thinking some more about it, I contacted the person again and told them that we really ought to work out the details of the deal, as in, how long did they plan on offering these printed bookmarks, and where would they be distributing them? I wanted to make sure that, if my art was being sold, it was only being sold for a limited time, and I wasn't giving the person permanent printing and selling rights. Well, after that, Nameless said they'd rather give up because if we tried working out the details this way that we'd run into disagreements and they didn't want to get into it, and told me to nevermind. They mentioned not particularly liking that I didn't trust them on their word that they'd sell the bookmarks honorably (what?), but that there were no hard feelings.

So on one hand, I feel kind of bad that I'm now not helping someone supposedly in need, but at the same time I think I probably avoided a lot of trouble, since there was no contract involved and when I tried to work out details the person backed out of the deal. I mean, how am I supposed to trust the word of someone I don't really even know?

So, did I handle this okay, or am I being overly paranoid? I've only been seriously selling my art for about 6 months and this is the first time I've run into something like this, so I wasn't entirely sure what to do. Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 13th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
Being an artist, someones you need to be paranoid about your work...I mean, it is YOUR work, you made it!

I don't see how you handled it badly or how it's unfair. I think it's perfectly fine how you handled it, and your terms for selling seemed perfectly fair...if not less fair on your end, considering it's your work (even if you are trying to be nice and help someone out)
Dec. 13th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC)
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. If they didn't like it- well, that's a warning sign.
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
I think you handled that well.
I just hope they dont go ahead and do it anyway :(
Dec. 13th, 2007 09:40 am (UTC)
I was thinking the same thing. :/
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC)
Personally, I would never allow someone else to make copies of MY work and sell it for profit like that, even if they commissioned it from me--selling the original is fine, but copying it, no.

I think you handled it perfectly well. The questions you asked were what any contract involving the reprinting and selling of art should answer.
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
i think you handled it properly.
what they were suggesting was a bit dodgy to begin with.
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)

You handled it okay.

Never ever agree to anything like someone else producing prints of your work unless there's a contract involved, some people will treat you fairly the vast majority will not.

When people start flipping out over being asked to put things down in writing? It's a definite red flag. The minute a customer starts complaining about the artist not trusting the customer's honour simply because the artist wants a written contract to ensure all parties know what is and isn't allowed? It's generally a sign that they're either ignorant or scamming.

As for the sob story, don't feel bad, people will tell you sob stories, some are real, most are fake. However someone else's issues are not your responsibility, so don't feel bad because you're "not helping" it could well be you avoided getting scammed. This might seem like a mean thing to say but your main priority as an artist? Should be you. Not joe bloggs random friend who might not even exist. Don't allow your niceness to be taken advantage of.
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:19 am (UTC)
Agreed. It's your art, you control it. Your terms are whatever you want them to be and everyone else can put up or shut up.
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
no need to feel bad -- you didn't do anything personally to hurt their friend. to be blunt, the friend's problems are their own, and it sounds like you did avoid a bit of potential trouble there. contracts are the only way to go, because you can't trust the word of someone you don't even know. :3

also, it sounds like there's a lesson to be learned here: remember to discuss time limits and such before you give the go-ahead, not after. it's okay to say 'give me a day or two to think it over' when someone pops up with something that odd, y'know? that extra time to think it over might've been what you needed to remember everything you had to discuss with them re: rights to use of your art.
Dec. 13th, 2007 07:17 am (UTC)
"contracts are the only way to go, because you can't trust the word of someone you don't even know."

And sometimes people have problems with friends that they DO know and trust, so even if it was a friend asking, it's still good to have a contract.

I'm not saying that all friends are not to be trusted or anything, but I've read quite a few posts here about people who were burned by supposed good friends, whether intentionally or not! It's just always best to protect oneself against anything bad that could happen. Be prepared [<----lolboyscoutmotto].
Dec. 13th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
my icon is actually appropriate for once lol
sadly, that is true. if you don't believe it, watch the judge at work, lol. :3
Dec. 13th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
Re: my icon is actually appropriate for once lol

Judge Judy wins.
Dec. 13th, 2007 08:18 am (UTC)
you are NOT being overly paranoid.
Dec. 13th, 2007 09:38 am (UTC)
I think you dealt with that amicably, it's good that you were honest with your customer and that you exposed what seemed to be less than honourable intentions.

If their friend really was in great need for the funds, they would have been willing to work with you, I know I would were I the customer.
Dec. 13th, 2007 10:13 am (UTC)
I think you handled it well, as much helping other people rocks you have to be careful that you don't get screwed over in the process. There's really no need to feel guilty, if this guy had really wanted to help his friend via selling copies of your bookmark he would have understood your concern and made it work. Odds are also he found a more "hassle free" way of raising some money which is why he declined.
Dec. 13th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
Of course, another option if he wants to be vague about details could be that you, the artist, get permission to sell copies of the bookmark (as it was a commission) and donate the proceeds to said friend. That way, the reproduction and distribution remain under your control, you can stop it any time you see fit, Nameless' friend gets the help they're wanting, and you make your profit too.

That is, if you would be inclined to deal with the hassle of printing and shipping bookmarks.
Dec. 26th, 2007 02:35 am (UTC)
no way man, art is a business and needs to be respected as one. if this person cant see how you as the artists have rights to your creations, than they SHOULD NOT be dealing art in any fashion.
it is not outlandish to ask for money from someone for selling your creations. it is common sense, and working out set ground-rules with a written agreement is just good business sense as well as a good way to cover your own ass.
you are sweet to want to help but you didnt even know the commissioner before they commissioned you and you dont know whether this friend even really exists. its the freaking internet people lie all the time. dont feel bad for not falling for what could have been a big ripoff.
Dec. 29th, 2007 03:52 pm (UTC)
people cant walk into a supermarket and go 'ohh this horrible thing happened to me and I need money, give me some free food and a couple of plasma tvs to sell on for cash ok?'... so they shouldn't do it to any other business, or artist...

I think you had a lucky escape ;/
Mar. 20th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
Well, after that, Nameless said they'd rather give up because if we tried working out the details this way that we'd run into disagreements and they didn't want to get into it, and told me to nevermind

That sounds more like "I wanted to do it my way, stupid artist. It isn't yours anymore, I'll do what I want with it!"

You were being professional about it, and if this person WERE honest than they shouldn't have had any issue with you writing a contract. The first red flag for anyone trying to handle things in a fair and legal manner is when someone says "What, don't you trust me?"
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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