Dronon (dronon) wrote in artists_beware,

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Mass permission or no permission?

I want to avoid being the bad customer, so I'm posting here looking for opinions and advice for a very specific project I'd like to undertake. This requires some backstory and context, however, so bear with me.

I've never had a personal character in the fandom, and consequently I have a really hard time knowing what to ask for in con badges or commissions. So, lacking creative thought, generally I never buy any, settling instead for the occasional print. Then one day my local art supply store started selling teeny tiny gag sketchbooks attached to keychains. I took off the keychains, and voilà, instant tiny sketchbook! And it didn't matter that I had no idea what to ask people to draw anymore, I simply said, "Draw whatever fits."

Over the years I've accumulated close to just over 100 of these tiny sketches. (The sketchbook pages are about 1.4 x 1.8 inches big.) Some drawings are quick, cheap magic-marker doodles, some use incredibly fine-tipped pencils or inks, some are in color, and so on. I insisted on PG but there's the occasional unwanted boob in there. Some I paid for ($1-$5), some were freebies, some were asked for and some were unasked for. ("Oh, your sketchbook? I passed it down the table to some other artists.")

Now this is all fine and dandy, but I stopped collecting last year, and I now have an eclectic set of tiny sketches in several of these tiny sketchbooks. (Which weren't made for repeated handling so a lot of the pages are now falling out.) And recently I thought, can I actually *do* anything with these? And then I thought, hey, yeah - I could mount them and donate it to the MFF charity auction.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. Can I mount these all together, label them with the artists' names, and submit it to the charity auction without the original artists' permissions? It's all original work, but every artist went into it thinking it was a cute gag, as did I; I never planned to do this ahead of time, so distribution rights and such were never discussed. Does the charity angle make any difference?

Doing it without asking permission is the easy thing to do, but feels, well, scummy. But the alternative is a frightening and daunting task of having to individually ask dozens and dozens of artists, none of whom I know how to contact offhand, but some of which I know by reputation are either very reclusive, or are slow and unresponsive, or have left the fandom in an angry huff.

Ideas, suggestions, advice, strategies? Lay it on me, folks, and thanks in advance for your time and consideration!
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