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Question About Selling Copyright

I realize this has been asked before, but looking through the copyright tag I can't find an answer for this in particular, so I apologize for the spam but we're freaking out just a little.

So, officially, we are getting our first commission!!

It's sent from the mother of a friend of ours, and she's asking us to design a new logo for a motorcycle club her boyfriend is joining that is 'similar, but more unique' to the current logo. This logo will be the face of the club. It will be on all merchandise they sell, like jackets, shirts, hoodies, etc. The club itself is quite large, with chapters in 41 US states as well as other countries globally.

Specifically, this is what she emailed me:

This is a Motorcycle club that [Boyfriend] is joining. What they're trying to do is get a unique design for t-shirts, hoodies, etc., that they can sell.

So, the design needs to scale large enough to be seen when worn on a t-shirt. It needs to be simple enough to be silk screened onto a T-shirt easily.

We're emailing her back just to clarify if it's for just his chapter or the club as a whole (in the first conversation she had she mentioned the whole club, but we were both pressed for time so she made it short), as well as a quote (which she requested) for the logo and mentioning that the copyright would be additional.

Since it's going to be a black and white image, we were considering at least $100 for the logo itself (although this might go up. The size she says they want is H: 15" x W: 12" and able to silkscreen on t-shirts), but we're stuck on the copyright. If it is was just for her, we would charge less seeing as we've been very good friends with her son since we were all in junior high, but this is possibly for the entire club itself, and we're not sure what to do.

I know a in previous question it was suggested that $300 minimum would be good for the copyright but I'm not sure what to charge for such a large company (can this be considered a company?)

There's also the whole 'similar, but more unique'. We're going to ask if she means they want the same image but stylized (which seems to much like plagiarism for us to accept as it is tbh) or a similar theme but completely new picture.

Any idea what else we should add?

EDIT: After contacting her, it's been clarified that the logo is just for his local chapter, and just a skull. Not anything to do with the logo on the club website (we thought that because she gave the link as an 'example', but it turned out not to be the case).

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 12th, 2011 02:38 am (UTC)
did you look through the Advise for artists tag too?
Sep. 12th, 2011 02:44 am (UTC)
I forgot to look through that one!
Sep. 12th, 2011 03:01 am (UTC)
hehe might take a bit to look through that tag though *3* lots of things get discussed. Good luck!
Sep. 12th, 2011 02:38 am (UTC)
From what my Graphic design Prof. explained to us about how copyright works. You as the artist always have the copyright. Its something you can't really sell, what you can sell is the rights for them to use your images. Basically you you make a contract specifying what rights to the image usages or give them all rights to use the images wether its for one person or a whole club, and charge accordingly to what you believe is a fair price for the rights to the images.
Hope that helps a bit.
Sep. 12th, 2011 02:46 am (UTC)
Thank you that really helps!
Sep. 12th, 2011 03:29 am (UTC)
Just to clarify- you're saying that even if you sell all the rights to somebody, you also retain those rights? You're just sharing them, not giving your own up?
Sep. 12th, 2011 04:05 am (UTC)
yes, you still have all rights as the copyright holder unless stated in the contract that the person your selling the rights to is the only one who has use to said image(s) It all comes down to what exactly you put into the contract really.
Sep. 15th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
You have misunderstood your professor or you are not in America, England, Canada, or Australia. Nothing would get done if copyright could not be sold. An artist always retains certain rights called Moral Rights which pertain to physical works and not so much to digital pieces. Ultimately, if you sell all your copyright, it is not yours. You may not reproduce it or resell it. This is why Paul McCartney had to pay Michael Jackson to perform his own songs on CD.

For reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_rights_(copyright_law)
Sep. 12th, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)
Can't offer much advice but I am just glad to see another post on this kind of issue.

Months ago I was approached by someone in the family to do her book cover and she got a little snippy when I began to talk about copyright and just how commissioning an artist works. I doubt she cares or even watches this community or even researched artist copyright after my little lecture to her, but it just warms me to see (knowing and seeing are sometimes two different things) there ARE aware artists out there, and posts like this make others aware who may not have been in the first place. :)
Sep. 12th, 2011 03:44 am (UTC)
I posted a copyright thing in a public post....yer after the difference between selling "assigned" rights and "licensed" rights.
Sep. 15th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
License the rights so that you can still display the work. The club wants it as a logo so they are unlikely to accept any scenario in which you can sell the image to someone else. Be aware that many people are not aware of copyright issues or how much they can cost. They are counter intuitive to many people's concept of ownership.

If you want less hassle, politely explain the concept of copyright and sell them the complete rights. If you're just starting out and won't be required to do more than provide the original image (no modification for different applications), I'd give them a discount if I were in your position.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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