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So I've heard different answers to this question. If you buy a commissioned piece, or an original can you resell it? Or give it away?
What if you purchase a print and sell that off? Should you be required to ask the original artists permission? I personally don't think so. It's like when you buy a computer from bestbuy, I don't ask bestbuy if it's ok for me to give the computer away or to sell it to someone else. I'd really like to get more insight into this though so all responses are appreciated!
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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 20th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
You're right.

You can give away or sell that which you own, which in the case of most commissions is the original artwork, unless the terms of the commissions explicitly stated other terms.

The only thing you have to keep in mind is that most commissions in the fandom do not include the rights to edit or reproduce the artwork, so you can't make prints or print it on shirts or mugs etc. and sell those unless the terms of the commission explicitly mentioned you also bought the rights to do so. But those rights are expensive and never included in 10-100 dollar/euro/etc. commissions so it's not something people in the fandom generally need to concern themselves with.
Nov. 20th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there's no reason you need to tell them. You only need to ask the artist for reproduction rights.. since you're just selling the original, not a problem.
Nov. 20th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
I know if someone resold my stuff I certainly wouldn't care. Make a profit!

The best artists of the world have stuff that gets sold and then resold again!
Nov. 20th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
The material piece is yours do to with as you wish, under the "first-sale" doctrine. The original creator has nothing to do with it, although if it is an original of significant quality it might be polite to inform them.

The original author does retain the copyright (unless you purchased or licensed it as well) so you or the person you sell the piece to cannot use it to make other copies of the work and sell them.
Nov. 20th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
Everyone else is correct. Let's use an example... Think of art as a music CD.
You can sell, give away, or use the CD as a frisbee. It is yours.
You cannot legally make copies of the CD to give away, or sell, in any way. But the single, physical CD that you bought is yours to do with as you wish, including selling it. By selling the CD, you are not selling the RIGHTS to the music on the CD... you are only selling the object.

The same with art, as greenreaper linked with the first sale doctrine link. The actual single physical art you can sell, give away or use as toilet paper as you please. The moment you make a copy of it, via electronic or physical means, and redistribute it is when you are going to run into problems. You own the physical art, just not the RIGHTS (which for simplicity's sale means the ability to reproduce or distribute it in any means). The only time you own the rights is if the artist grants them to you, and this is nearly always done via written contract and is quite costly.
Nov. 20th, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
I've had artists flip out at me for selling things I bought from them. :( Legally you can. I can't see any reason why you shouldn't. But some artists are strange and touchy creatures, and don't want you to. I've never gotten a good explanation from them as to why, just rants about how rude it was of me to resell.

But even that is quite rare. :) And as I, and others have said, you have ever legal right to do so.
Nov. 20th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
A number of artists take it as a personal insult if you sell their work (ie. it's not good enough to keep/ you want to get rid of it because it's crap/ everyone will think my work is crap because people are getting rid of it/ Obviously you hate my work more than artist X, because I don't see you getting rid of *their* work.)

Most artists, even if they feel that way, are professional enough not to say it, but some will go ape-shit if they see their originals for sale.

It's sort of a moot point, because secondary market for (original)furry art is very, very minimal. Good luck trying to get even a tiny fraction of what you paid for it. Prints have a much better after-market value, and often increase in price. Go figure.
Nov. 21st, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)
I know that when I found a piece of artwork I didn't want any longer (it had my ex in it), I got a hold of the original artist and offered to send it to them so that SHE could resell it if she could find a buyer. (Who is going to want a picture of a cheetah and a goat after all?)

Kind of glad this came up because it reminds me I still have that picture (the artist didn't care to have it back really) and I should get to doing something about it.
Nov. 20th, 2008 10:51 pm (UTC)
I think re-selling is okay, personally. That is - a lot of the time - how art accrues value as it goes from seller to seller and becomes highly desirable work. If it wasn't okay to sell off art that you'd brought, there'd be no art going off in the auctions. :)
Nov. 21st, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)
You can resell or give away something you purchase (including commissioned work). What you can't do is make copies of the item to sell, unless your contract with the artist includes those rights.
Nov. 21st, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC)
I think a piece of art is re-sellable, as long as you aren't making copies and selling them for profit. But selling a single print or original that you yourself purchased--it pretty much becomes your item at that point, and selling is OK.

I'm not going to say every artist will like this fact or agree with it, but legally, that's the way it is. It's the making copies to sell, that's a no-no.
Nov. 21st, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
personally, i think re-selling a print is completely fine. especially if it is an image the artist has placed copyrights or watermarks on. people can legally sell and trade comics, cd's and movies. what would be illegal about re-selling art? people frequently auction off fine art who did not create it.
re-selling an original is legal i guess. but in some instances it may be just a little insulting. i could see how if someone just bought an original as opposed to specifically commissioning one, that it wouldnt be a biggie, but if you specifically commissioned the orignal piece... well, PERSONALLY i would be a touch insulted if i found out someone i drew for wanted money more than the art i made for them.
Nov. 24th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC)
There's a woman who goes around to various SciFi conventions in the UK selling prints of SciFi actors. A lot of her stuff isn't legit, she sells prints of photos of the actors she's DLed from the 'net and pictures she's cut out of magazines. She's even selling prints of a drawing of Joe Flanigan that's available on the 'net, a drawing a fan did, that she didn't obtain permission to use...
Nov. 25th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
Cyberspace law for non-lawyers
One thing has been made clear from these responses: copyright law is complicated!

I can't offer you a definitive answer (I'm not an attorney), but I can point you towards some more information so that you might better understand how copyright works:


Good luck!

Dec. 2nd, 2008 05:36 am (UTC)
Legally, you've no obligation whatsoever.
For sake of being nice? I'm sure the artist would really appreciate it if you gave them even a very small part of those proceeds.
Do you have to? No. Would it be cool to do? Yeah.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


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