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some more help, please...?

a follow up to this entry --> http://community.livejournal.com/artists_beware/362396.html

Basically, the owner of a nightclub approached me, asking to use an old picture of mine to make into a sign and merchandise for his club (such as cards, entrance passes, and shirts). The picture is a fairly simple vector-ish image, here --> http://teraphim.deviantart.com/art/Omega-s-Halo-18753224?q=&qo=

He has "reminded" me numerous times that I would still retain rights to the image to do with it as I please, I am just "releasing it for his use".

Here is part of his latest e-mail to me:

"As for concerns, I don't really have any as I said the other day I feel that all rights should and would be retained by you and use of the image by you or anyone you choose is totally at your discretion.

More than anything, I appreciate an artist's talent and I think you are one. Honestly, I probably could have ripped it off the internet and used it and you might never have known but I wouldn't feel right doing that, after all she came from your creativity and ability not mine. Thought maybe you might allow me to use the image for $200.00? Let me know what you think. Hope you're having a great day!"

I honestly feel insulted, both by the low price and by him playing the bigger man just because he didn't outright steal the image. I have no idea how to go about this now, and I don't want to speak rashly out of anger. Absolutely any feedback on the situation would be great - should I just walk away from this deal altogether? Should I try and talk to him about raising the price? :(

edit: just wanted to mention that I will be watermarking my work soon, but it won't do anything for this particular case - I know he's already saved the image because he has used it for mock-ups.

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( 61 comments — Leave a comment )
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Aug. 14th, 2010 08:23 am (UTC)
I would definitely suggest that you raise the cost if he's going to be selling merchandise with the image on it if you're not going to go with the royalties route. Hell, given his attitude of "I could have just stolen it off the internet!", I'd personally charge not only the flat usage fee of $200 that he's offering, but I'd say that I'd want x percent of any income that he made on anything that had that image attached to it (the percentage being dependent on exactly what was being sold and for how much).

On top of that, I would suggest that you make sure and get everything pertaining to this agreement in writing and, if you're really uneasy about it, give it to a lawyer to look over if you can.

That's just my take on it, though. :x
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - trenchcoatedson - Aug. 14th, 2010 08:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kriscynical - Aug. 14th, 2010 09:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - kriscynical - Aug. 14th, 2010 10:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 14th, 2010 08:49 am (UTC)
Well hopefully, whatever you have on the internet is a low enough resolution that it would look absolutely shitty printed out at any size, or that if he printed fliers, you'd be able to snag one and hand it over to a lawyer.

I think that attitude would put me off someone FOREVER, unless they seriously apologized hardcore.
Aug. 14th, 2010 08:51 am (UTC)
also that is a super rad image <3
Aug. 14th, 2010 08:54 am (UTC)
That is not playing the bigger man, that's trying to bully you.
Aug. 15th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC)
Mind if I ask who did (the picture in) your icon? It is super rad.
Aug. 14th, 2010 08:59 am (UTC)
So let me get this straight... "I could have ripped this off and used it illegally, but I'm being so nice to you for not doing that! Here, take $200 because I'm so awesome and nice."

I'd dump this guy and put a watermark on the DA image pronto.
Aug. 14th, 2010 02:57 pm (UTC)
This. And this is exactly the reason that I don't upload anything higher than a 72 dpi resolution and always have a watermark on all art uploaded to any online gallery. I learned my lesson the hard way. I really recommend this practice to protect your work, as it tends to discourage thieves.
Aug. 14th, 2010 09:04 am (UTC)
maybe he should just take that $200 and commission someone to make an image like that with different hair and put shoes on her and his problem would be solved.
Aug. 14th, 2010 09:39 am (UTC)
Then he'd still have to pay that artist for the rights in addition to the commission fee. And if it resembles the OP's image too close it's a derivative product, so he'd still have to pay the OP.
(no subject) - wyoon - Aug. 14th, 2010 10:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Aug. 14th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wyoon - Aug. 14th, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 14th, 2010 09:09 am (UTC)
I'm going to have to echo Kriscynical here and advise you to watermark that image asap. It's possible he may have saved it to his computer anyway but it's still worth doing. His "I could have stolen this but I didn't so take my lowball offer" attitude seems somewhat like a bullying tactic.

It's possible he didn't mean to be insulting and genuinely doesn't know how much the pic would be worth, so it's up to you to suggest a figure and terms you're more happy with. The terms he is offering are EXTREMELY vague too so get it all in writing, insist on a contract and perhaps consult a lawyer if you feel the need.
Aug. 14th, 2010 09:20 am (UTC)
Yikes. When I said I thought "hundreds" was appropriate, I didn't mean just two! That is kind of insulting.
Aug. 14th, 2010 09:38 am (UTC)
He could have stolen it, and you could have sued him and entangled him in a lengthy and costly legal battle. The threat is not appreciated and he does not get asspats or a discount for doing the right thing. If he can't do business legitimately he should get out of it entirely.

Give him a price and stick with it.
Aug. 14th, 2010 10:46 am (UTC)
The bitch in me would want to respond "Yes, thank you for not ripping off the image. You saved me a lot of legal fees since I don't have to sue you for copyright infringement now. :D"

...but the professional in me holds my mouth shut. Damn her.
Aug. 14th, 2010 09:50 am (UTC)
He's right though. He could have just stolen the image and let you drag him into court over it. If he's only intending on using it in a limited manner, then the risk is worth the reward. But he's being short-sighted in that if his business ever takes off, then he'd likely have to buy that image from you or risk being sued for a whole lot more.

However, I'd encourage you to treat this like any pragmatic businessperson. He is pretty much paying you to allow him to use the image for his business and promotions. In exchange, he'll pay you some money, and you still retain the right to use the image for your portfolio or any other use.

You have a whole lot of opportunity to get your work out and visible here, don't let this walk away by being greedy and holding out for more money.

Think of how much time you spent planning and creating the image, decide how much you feel that time and work is worth, and then offer him a quote based on that.

If this image took 4 hours to create from nothing, and he's paying you $200 for it, that works out to pretty much paying you $50/hr... very reasonable rates and terms, IMHO.. especially for a work already done and pretty much sold already.
Aug. 14th, 2010 10:52 am (UTC)
In exchange, he'll pay you some money, and you still retain the right to use the image for your portfolio or any other use.

Unless he completely bought her out of the image, she would have the right to place the image in her portfolio anyway. Many entities will still allow the artist to place the piece in their portfolio for self promotional use after a buyout anyway, just so long as the image is not re-sold.

You have a whole lot of opportunity to get your work out and visible here, don't let this walk away by being greedy and holding out for more money.

Unless he has her by-line and web address posted next to the image every single time he uses it, that isn't a good incentive. It does no good for an image to be "out and visible" if nobody knows who made it.

Wanting to be paid what a piece is worth is far from greed; it's making a living. Beyond the cost of making the original image, usage rights and/or royalties must be paid if the image is being used for advertising and merchandising which is what he seems to want to do with it.
Aug. 14th, 2010 11:11 am (UTC)
get it in writing, sign, take his money. sue if he breaks it.
Aug. 14th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)
Its art. $200 is a very fair sum for commissioning what is in the end a logo. I'd take the money, use it for something fun and stop the stressin'. I think you are turning it into a bigger deal than it needs to be
Aug. 14th, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
Hate to break it to you but no logo/branding art costs a paltry $200. A lot of people seem to fail to understand that if anything logos cost *much* more than just a typical one-time use graphic.
(no subject) - glowstick_juice - Aug. 14th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kriscynical - Aug. 14th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Aug. 14th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 14th, 2010 01:08 pm (UTC)
If things fall through with this guy and you don't want to work with him or cut some deal then send him over to me. My email is sovy.kurosei@hotmail.com and I could do some work for him for $200.
Aug. 14th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC)
Err... right. That's, that's really in very poor taste indeed.
(no subject) - sovy - Aug. 14th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - findmealone - Aug. 14th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - raeraesama - Aug. 14th, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oceandezignz - Aug. 14th, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 14th, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
This comment, is perfect!
(no subject) - kitsumi - Aug. 14th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - neive - Aug. 16th, 2010 09:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haricotvert - Aug. 23rd, 2010 12:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 14th, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC)
Personally, I'd take $200 for the logo (although see if you can bump it to $225 or more), then write a contract about where and when he can use it. Be VERY THOROUGH and use all the proper lingo - if you want someone to give it a once-over, email me at rebecca at rebeccaholder dot com and I will look. Also stress royalties if it will be on things for sale, like shirts - make sure that is also in the contract.
(Something like:

The Illustrator of said Work will receive full credit for all illustrations in said Work. Illustrator keeps all rights to his/her Illustrations unless otherwise noted in this contract.

Earnings and Statements:

COMMISSIONER shall credit the Illustrator's account twenty-five percent (25%) of the profit for those works sold using the art created by the illustrator.
Aug. 14th, 2010 02:03 pm (UTC)
I'd take the $200 for the licensing of the sign/entrance passes/etc, but explain that merchandising is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. If he wants merchandising rights, the artist gets paid royalties--that's just t'way it works in the world. Ask for 10% of t-shirt sales--if the t-shirts take off, great, then both parties make money, but explain that you can't offer an unlimited merchandising option on an image without some kind of royalty being involved.
Aug. 14th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
Nice to hear your take on it! It makes a lot of sense.
(no subject) - thaily - Aug. 14th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - glowstick_juice - Aug. 15th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC) - Expand
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