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looking for advice on reposting art

I was leafing through a few pages, and I haven't seen a post directly addressing this, but if their is one, I must have missed it.

Only recently, I have decided to take on commissions for a a meager price and someone had taken an interest in it. I was completely estatic, and I've just now completed the art. However, this commissioner paid me with an e-check, which will clear in a day or so now (from the original commission date).

Originally, I found this to be a problem, but after communicating with them we agreed thatI would not hand over the art until I saw the money in my paypal. So things had cleared up there.

Now as I finished their commissions, I went ahead and sent them a note, telling them that the work has been done and I'll be posting when I see the money. I also made a request that they not repost my art to their gallery.

Some people are fine with commissioners reposting their art so long as they get credit and linkbacks, but I'm not really comfortable nor okay with that. And eventually I got a reply back saying that it's simply 'what they do, because they have no artistic skill of their own and they commission art FOR their gallery.'

The way they've replied make me feel like they're going to disregard what I've asked and they're going to do it anyway.
The thing is, I have the art, I'm waiting on payment because they chose to pay me in a format that I have previously stated that I do not accept. Am I in any position to make this sort of request? And should my commissioner respect that?

I currently don't have a TOS, as I've only started out taking commissions and I don't feel like making a huge deal out of it, seeing as I'm asking for $3 at most for my art. I have one in the works, but for smaller commissions I don't feel like its necessary.

In addition to this, I've also sold a character to this same commissioner for a higher amount as it came with additional art pieces. The payment for that character has yet to go through as well (they paid in another e-check), and we made the same agreement about handing over the character's art that we did for the commission.

I've commissioned a few pieces for this character from several different artists (mostly off-FA).
And I don't feel right in letting them repost several of these pieces to their gallery as well, but as I didn't draw the art for several of them (some of the drawings of this character ARE my own), do I still have a right to tell them no?

I have yet to reply to their last note, and I'm looking for advice on what to do before I reply. I don't feel that it's necessary to make their name public as this situation is still civil between us, but should things take a turn for the worse, I will.

edit: after explaining myself and talking it out with the commissioner, we have reached an acceptable compromise for the both of us. thanks for the advice, i'll be sure to mark this up as a lesson learned for the future.

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Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 70 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 21st, 2011 12:28 am (UTC)
truth be told, and I'm going to be perfectly honest; if I commissioned an artist, who had no terms of service and made no mention as to their feelings regarding their work being reposted and was told after the transaction, I'd be pretty annoyed. no, make that really annoyed.

I suppose you could look at it in this regard; what is the overall point in paying someone for art of your own characters if you're unable to share it and show other people?

I'm not saying you're wrong in your feelings, but if you ultimately are not comfortable with people reposting and sharing the art they commission, into their own galleries, even with credit, then you probably shouldn't be getting involved in the commission business.

most people out there, don't buy art because it not only makes them feel good, but because they enjoy sharing and showing off the various interpretations of their characters and/or ideas. you might want to think of it this way; you pay someone to make you a painting for your wall, and when you get the work, you're excited, you're happy- but then you're told that it cannot be displayed and must be kept in a box while the artist themselves are free to show off the work and your ideas.
Sep. 21st, 2011 12:32 am (UTC)
I kinda have to agree with this. I know my heart sinks when someone says I can't post their picture anywhere even with credit. I mean I wouldn't even mind if they had a huge watermark with their website address on it. Just being able to show off what I got means a lot to me.

And I personally love when people enjoy something I did for them so much that they post it and show it to all their friends. I've actually gotten a bit of business from that! :D
(no subject) - aerospiritual - Sep. 21st, 2011 12:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - n - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aerospiritual - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - justblieve - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - starcharmer - Sep. 21st, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ginkaruja - Sep. 21st, 2011 12:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aerospiritual - Sep. 21st, 2011 12:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skulldog - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rhianna_muir - Sep. 21st, 2011 08:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aerospiritual - Sep. 21st, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 21st, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
If you didn't inform the client prior to the money exchanging hands that you didn't want them to be reposting the work, then that's pretty unfair for them, as most people do assume that it's perfectly fine to share what an artist has done for them if nothing is mentioned from the beginning.

While I won't say that commissioning might not be the right thing for you if you don't want people to share what you've custom made for them (them sharing does result in greater business), but if it is something that truly bothers you, you may want to reconsider. The art will likely be shared one way or another. But is does seem one-sided to not allow your customer to showcase your handywork while allowing yourself to display it as you please (I'm assuming that you're uploading your commissions to your own gallery).

If reposting is something that truly bothers you, either make a TOS or flat out inform every customer you take that you don't want them to do this. Telling them after the money is spent and the work is done is unfair to them, as for many, it can be a deal-breaker for whether to commission someone or not.
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:18 am (UTC)
Technically, no money has been exchanged AT ALL.
And there won't be an actual exchange for another two days, so all that sits in my paypal are the notices that the payment won't clear until dates xx and xx.

I felt like I was in the right to make that sort of request because I haven't been physically paid.

And I've always been a bit uncomfortable with my art being reposted as I've had some unfavorable results come of it in the past.
(no subject) - four_calamities - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aerospiritual - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - n - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - four_calamities - Sep. 21st, 2011 02:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - n - Sep. 21st, 2011 02:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - four_calamities - Sep. 21st, 2011 02:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - n - Sep. 21st, 2011 05:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aerospiritual - Sep. 21st, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - starcharmer - Sep. 21st, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 21st, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
I'm a bit confused on the last part. You didn't draw the commission or the commission was of a character you personally own?
If the latter, then yes i would say you have a right to disallow art (commission or otherwise) of your personal characters to be posted elsewhere. But if this is just a run of the mill commission of the buyer's characters i would say no.

Echoing what's already been said, most commissioners buy art to add to their personal collection. How they display that collection varies from an online gallery, to a website, to a personal folder they keep locked away on their computer. It's a little hard, not to mention disheartening, for someone who buys art for that purpose to learn after the fact that they can't post it.

I would write up a ToS, even for the small stuff. It doesn't just provide you and your commissioners with protection but it can also be a good way for you to say everything about how your process works without repeating yourself or disappointing someone just as money changes hands.
Sep. 21st, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
For the last part, from what it seems is they sold a character design to the person that commissioned them. They had a lot of art of that character they commissioned from other artists, that went with that design. The Artist/Seller does not want some of those images reposted in the other person's gallery.
(no subject) - shiftergoddess - Sep. 21st, 2011 12:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lurkerwisp - Sep. 21st, 2011 12:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shiftergoddess - Sep. 21st, 2011 12:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - n - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shiftergoddess - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Sep. 21st, 2011 02:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 21st, 2011 12:45 am (UTC)
If I were in your position at the moment, I'd either let them post it, or refund them their money. For future business, you need to inform them upfront that you do not want them to post art in their galleries.
Sep. 21st, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
Let me get this straight.

In that last bit about having sold your character to him you mention having commissioned art in your gallery of the character.

So it's okay for you to put art you commissioned in your gallery but it's not okay for someone else to put art commissioned from you in theirs? That doesn't seem particularly fair.
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:15 am (UTC)
I've never posted commissions that I've gotten from other artists to my own personal galleries.
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
Here's a theoretical as to why you might wish to rethink your stance.

I commission you for some art and when I get it, I'm ecstatic. I love it. I post it in my galleries, on my FB and my LJ and generally make a scene about how awesome this art is and how you are the next great fanart artist.

My friends get so caught up in my enthusiasm that they commission you because I liked your art of my character enough to share it.

Word of mouth is a powerful form of advertisement and by denying your customers the ability to advertise on your behalf, you might be denying yourself some new customers.
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:28 am (UTC)
In my past experience with commissions, or rather just letting someone add on to my own, personal works, I've never had this happen.

I got the opposite reaction, in which the individual who either commissioned me or colored in an old piece with permission and credit, ended up getting all the praise and I didn't get anything out of it beyond simply being the original artist.

Which is what has influenced me in taking this stance against any art being reposted.
(no subject) - aerospiritual - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - n - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:15 am (UTC)
Ditto the above comments. People who commission art are generally not artists themselves, so the only artwork they CAN post is what they have commissioned. Set rules that the artwork should be displayed with a watermark/signature of your website/gallery (which is acceptable to most commissioners), but if you decide that they cannot ever show off their commission you drew for them, you MUST have that spelled out before you take any money from them (and even then you may be on shaky legal ground if the commission is of a character created by the commissioner). Posting commissions is all we collectors can do, let us get our one thrill out of getting artwork from artists we like by showing it off to others.
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:37 am (UTC)
Technically you own the art and have the right to say who makes copies (even digital copies) and where they go, unless you sold the rights (which I don't believe you did)
That being said, if you're adamant you don't want people reposting your art, tell them this up front. I would even recommend against putting it in a TOS and assuming people read it - tell everyone specifically and make sure they agree. I say this because people may be commissioning art mostly because they like putting it in their gallery (as the person above) and most artists don't mind it.
I'd urge you to reconsider your stance as it can be good publicity and I'm really not sure what bad things can come of it, but it's up to you.

As to the second part of your question, I'm confused? If you don't repost people's art how does the commissioner even know about these other images?
Again technically no you can't give them to the commissioner if they're by other artists and you don't have the copyright; commissioner is free to ask the artists if it's okay though.
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:40 am (UTC)
The commissioner was made aware of the other pieces of art that were included in the character's sale.
This does not mean I directly linked them to these images. Hell, all of the images in question are files saved onto my computer.

I don't have hundreds among thousands of pieces for them to leaf through, but an amount large enough for them that they should be made aware of as the character would belong to them now and not me.
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:40 am (UTC)
I say this despite the fact that I am a huge advocate for artists rights. While it is true that the commissioner does not inherently have the right to repost, letting them know ahead of time is incredibly important.

Yes, you are in a position to make that sort of request. In the future I suggest you make it clear from the get go so people know. As someone who commissions as much as they do commissions, I know I personally would be bummed if I couldn't show off what someone did for me!
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
He should have been informed prior (granted nobody should ever assume they can do something.)

I had to amend my TOS for FA specifically because there is so much reposting of art going on there. I sort of just gave up. saying to credit and put my icon in the desc. Even then I don't like it. I hate the thought of my work being reposted anywhere (I don't care if they can't draw, I couldn't once, either.) So I understand your sentiment.
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:58 am (UTC)
Nothing would make me run away faster from an artist than being told I wasn't allowed to repost the work I bought, regardless of copyright. It's really not a great stance to have. And if you told me AFTER I initiated payment, I would cancel it/ask for a refund.
Sep. 21st, 2011 02:01 am (UTC)
I mean, aside from the fact that I don't really understand reposting art in general (i don't see how it is more effective than just linking to the original, but it doesn't bother me), I mean, you know that once you post it on FA, it is probably making its way to a ton of private computers, potentially being emailed or file transfered over IM and probably being posted without permission to various image boards... So really the commissioner who gave you money and who's character it is of is the only person, because of their compliance with FA AUP, who isn't getting to repost the art. :x
So I guess without trying to sound like a jerk, why do you not want to let them repost it?
Sep. 21st, 2011 02:05 am (UTC)
Please read my responses made to Eveshka and four_calamities to get the answer to your questions.
(no subject) - aggro_badger - Sep. 21st, 2011 03:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - n - Sep. 21st, 2011 05:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ginkaruja - Sep. 21st, 2011 05:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Sep. 21st, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Sep. 21st, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aggro_badger - Sep. 21st, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - starcharmer - Sep. 21st, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aggro_badger - Sep. 21st, 2011 10:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - starcharmer - Sep. 21st, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:02 am (UTC)
It seems from your replies to other people that you are making a TOS. Once you finish it, direct people to it before they commission you. State that by paying you, they agree to your TOS. Issues like this do not happen with a visible, competent TOS. Good luck!
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
What I would say is this, from what I've it's the standard on fa to allow minimal reposting by the commissioner (e.g. their fa gallery) and this is generally accepted by both artist and commissioner, so it is reasonable to expect that on their part. If you had a TOS that included "No reposting of commissions" then you'd be in the right, but without it, the standard is what is bought (with very few exceptions).

Now where to go from here? I'm not sure what you're worried about in terms of reposting. If you're worried about art theft, ask that a watermarked version be posted. If you're worried about distribution, you can say that it's only allowed on fa. If you want people to view/comment on the original, I'd ask them to only post a lower res preview with instructions to get to the full image. However, if you do that, I would offer them a partial refund or freebie as that's not what they were expecting/the standard, or just a full refund, particularly if you can't offer them any of the above.
Sep. 21st, 2011 06:11 am (UTC)
This. Most people on DA do the reposting art thing this very way.
Sep. 21st, 2011 05:41 am (UTC)
Oh, only moderators can post tags, by the by, so we can keep all the tags relevant.
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