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I’m posting this entry without any names as I don’t want to cause the concerned parties any embarrassment, and this is not an accusation in any way. I just wanted to raise my worries regarding an issue I sure a good few of you will recognise as being personally relevant.

 

I was recently approached by an individual on DA who requested high resolution images for an anthropomorphic anthology they planned to print later this year. The opening letter explained the process of royalties divided up between the artists, proportionate to the number of pieces published in this book. I do not work on the promise of royalties and will admit to being immediately sceptical. I will call this DA member Person A.

 

Whether to encourage me or not, they then posted a long list of other artists who had already agreed to be in this publication. Art work is chosen at the discretion of Person A, and they also intend to post a species list for those who want to submit new art for consideration. Not guaranteed inclusion.

 

Now apart form the initial explanation, I have seen no contract and can not discern if this person has any previous publication experience. When asked to send high resolution files via email I had to refuse, since no contract equals no agreement. To my annoyance I was then told a contract was not “high on their priorities.”

 

Personally I feel that a contract is a fundamentally important priority which protects an artist’s rights, along with many other vital aspects of commercial publication.

 

What do people make of this? Is anyone else doubtful or concerned by it? I am not making any accusations of sinister intent, as I actually believe Person A intends to do as they say. But to what extent they plan to fund it themselves, and how they will pay/protect the artists involved I can not say.

 

To clarify, Person A has NOT requested any bank details or money upfront. Simply high resolution artwork.

 

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Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
terridelgado
Feb. 7th, 2008 03:04 am (UTC)
I work contract.

No employer of mine has EVER requested work from me BEFORE the drafting and signing of a contract. It leaves too many chances for the work to be considered "free"-- especially if the artist sends the work knowing there is not a contract.

Contracts should be FIRST Priority. Work should be SECOND.
bladespark
Feb. 7th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
This sounds like somebody well meaning but inexperienced. Which means that it's quite likely this project will tank and you'd get nothing anyhow! You're quite right to be wary in any case. Giving away art without a contract is just that, giving it away.
fiercereaper
Feb. 7th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
They either really do know jack about publishing(and this reeks of a self-publication mine field), or they're trying to scam you for artwork to sell.

I'd embarrass them. What they're doing has the potential to really screw over inexperienced artists. And making discreet emails to these other artists probably would not go amiss, to see if they're actually involved or just having their names co-opted to suck you in(or tell them they might be making a really dumb move).
xianjaguar
Feb. 7th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)
The 'fandom' as this genre is usually referred to, has (luckily) had a good track record about projects like this: ie...the person collecting the materials has never done anything malicious with them in any projects I've ever been involved in. At worst, the entire thing fizzles and nothing happens, but no one has done anything 'bad' with the information/files/etc.

Having said that, I'll admit, it's a horribly naive thing to say or think and times have definitely changed.

I've taken on all the projects I've been involved in on good faith, and with no contract, with the exception of the Pathfinder Totem deck, which did have a contract for the artists before starting. Strangely enough, most of the projects without a contract, such as the Wild Cats of the World deck have gone off without a hitch with amazing results, and meanwhile, contracted projects such as the Pathfinder Totem deck have been in limbo (although I have faith it'll be up and published in fair time).

In previous times, the fandom has been small enough and people honest enough that one didn't really need contracts....word of mouth was good enough. And so, that's probably carrying over into today, where well-meaning people try to start big projects with a small-time mentality. I think they're honest enough, but they don't realize times have changed, and things are a bit different now. Now, one really shouldn't get into things without a contract, although, even with a contract, it's still a pain in the butt to recover losses if any should occur. You'll normally end up paying out more in money for lawyer fees than you'd get back.

I personally can't imagine Person A wanting to deceive anyone (if I'm thinking of the correct project), but perhaps s(he) is merely trying to pull off a big project and totally naive to the ways it should be done.

Also, Person A has contacted a LOT of high-profile artists. If s(he) were to start printing off those high res files and trying to sell or distribute them, someone would notice very fast, and Person A would be ousted out.

I have doubts this project will see the light of the day, personally, because it's a very daunting money-intensive task. A very similiar project was started earlier last year by a different person, and while it's been mocked up with the high res art, it has yet to be published.

On the same token, I doubt anything bad would happen if you did provide high res art. Most likely, the project would fizzle out and the art would remain in limbo on the person's drive.

I guess I'm being long-winded in saying: "caveat emptor", or in this particular case "Let the Artist Beware"....do the project at your own risk. There's no guarantee it'll turn out good for you, but there's also no 'priors' on this person to indicate that it'll turn out bad.

If you feel uneasy about it, by all means, play it safe and drop out of the project.
skulldog
Feb. 7th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
I have to agree with this post a lot.

While it's a risk to give up a high res file like this, honestly, what harm can it really do? I can make more money off it myself with print sales at cons. In the long run the worst that happens is nothing in this case.

nambroth
Feb. 7th, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
I agree with this. Really, anymore, I politely bow out of these sorts of projects. I mean them no ill and mean no insult, but all but one of these 'small business' deals (that are usually run by an individual or perhaps a small group) that I've been invited contribute existing art to has tanked/flopped/never seen daylight or / didn't sell worth beans. ;)
thaily
Feb. 7th, 2008 09:15 am (UTC)
Is this the project I was invited for some time back?
xianjaguar
Feb. 7th, 2008 09:29 am (UTC)
I have doubts this project will see the light of the day, personally, because it's a very daunting money-intensive task. A very similiar project was started earlier last year by a different person, and while it's been mocked up with the high res art, it has yet to be published.

The project in question was just started recently by someone on DA.
The project you were invited to was the one I alluded to when I said "A very similar project...."

And we're also still waiting on the Totem Card project as well.

Will any of these three group projects see the light of day?
Dunno.
However, I still haven't seen foul play on anyone's part (yet) for any of the three projects.
Now, if the Totem Card project fizzles and we do NOT get our money refunded...then that'll be the first time I've seen a project actually take a crap on its artists (as opposed to just merely fizzling out).
thaily
Feb. 7th, 2008 12:20 pm (UTC)
When's the next issue of the very similar project by the way, if you don't mind me asking?
xianjaguar
Feb. 7th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
I honestly don't know. I'm quite out of the loop on that one. I'm not actually part of the production or even part of the concept team. I was merely asked to help out for the jury, and I ended up not even doing all of that in the end.
maui_dolphin
Feb. 7th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
They are still editing for the Totem cards and as far as I know its only balaa and foxfeather trying to fix everything to make it suitable. :(
(Deleted comment)
skulldog
Feb. 7th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
I dunno, I'm part of this project, and I can say I know personally that quite a few artists listed DID agree to join in to it. Doesn't seem to be any wrong doing there.
(Deleted comment)
skulldog
Feb. 7th, 2008 04:00 am (UTC)
Unless there's a second Anthro Anthology group forming on DA, then yes I'm quite sure I'm part of this one.
(Deleted comment)
neongryphon
Feb. 7th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
I think it's the same A.A.A If there was more than one I'm sure I would have caught wind of it.

The way it stands, most involved that I've spoken to have also said they won't give up any work without a contract. They will just HAVE to make it a priority.
neolucky
Feb. 7th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
I am and would be skeptical as well as point out that regardless of THEIR priorities, YOU want a contract first if they want your contribution.

Then again I turn this sort of thing down almost 100% of the time.
snapesgirl34
Feb. 7th, 2008 03:55 am (UTC)
You may not need a contract for a simple commission, but if you're planning on publishing the work then you definitely do. I would avoid them as well. They may not mean any ill will, but not having a contract is a bad idea for all parties involved.
eski
Feb. 7th, 2008 05:54 am (UTC)
I was contacted for this project as well, and in all honesty I found it to be a great idea, provided I get a contract before I give anything up. =) For me it's that simple; they know I'm waiting for the contract before I give them anything, so if it never comes to me they never get anything. If the project fizzles out, or I never get a contract, they never had permission to use my images.

I don't think they're looking to rip anyone off, but a contract is a must have for projects like these in my opinion.
tanidareal
Feb. 7th, 2008 09:02 am (UTC)
After all the talking about contracts... Does anybody have a master contract, or an example what such a contract might look like? (I know contracts of course, but I have never seen one related to furry artwork).

Thank you!
hellebore
Feb. 7th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
"I know contracts of course, but I have never seen one related to furry artwork"

why would it be different from regular artwork contracts
charreed
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)
I'm interested in hearing back after sending my note today. There was sent a "gentle reminder", so I said that artists may be more accommodating to the conditions given a contract so they aren't afraid of getting ripped off.

We'll see where it goes from here to see whether I feel comfortable enough to proceed. I was excited about this prospect too. A shame really.
wolfinthefog
Feb. 18th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
I accepted the offer. Maybe I should be worried, but none of this has yet spelled "scam" to me.

Here's the way I see it: to get into a professional/widely circulated illustration anthology, it typically costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars - just to have the RIGHT to send them your work. Here's a person wanting to publish a small anthology, and sure it won't be very widely circulated at all, but not only is it totally free advertising space, but you may even receive a cut of the profits if there are any.

And it does seem to be a very small private undertaking, so they don't see the importance of a contract. However, a contract isn't the only thing that would hold up in court were there to be a legal issue. Written correspondence functions perfectly well, too. I just sent a terms of use along with my work, making it quite clear what is and is not to be done with it. It was something like this:

1.) This Terms of Use will apply to all of my work that you may use. You must have written permission from me to use any work of mine.

2.) I will retain all copyrights to my work before and after publication of your book.

3.) You have my permission to reprint my work for the Anthropomorphic Art Anthology, and for that publication only. You may not use my work, in whole or in part, for any other purpose or publication without prior written permission from me.

4.) I must be given full credit for my work in your publication. My work is not to be published anonymously or under the name of any other individual or company.


And I'm sure you can get a lot more specific than that. Money isn't really involved here, so you're dealing with basic copyright laws.

Keep in mind that contracts won't stop anyone who is really planning on ripping you off. In fact, if they were really serious about ripping you off, they'd send you a long, fancy contract with a lot of clever loopholes in hopes that you wouldn't notice and would happily sign your work away, under the false protection of said contract.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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