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Official TOS Bi-Monthly Advice Post

As an artist, it is critical to have a good Terms of Service. One that includes both your rights as the artist and the customer's rights in relation to your transaction. Not only does this educate your customers on how the process works and what to expect from it, but it protects both of you in case something goes wrong.

In our official T.O.S. discussion post, we discussed what to include in a Terms of Service, what constituted good terms, and what were questionable, shady, or downright illegal terms.

Now, artists, here's your chance to post your T.O.S. for critique. Don't know how to word a particular point you're trying to convey? Want to make sure your T.O.S. is fair for you and your customers? Need to make sure you didn't leave any gigantic loopholes? Link your T.O.S. here, and members can give you their advice.

I highly recommend reading through the previous T.O.S. discussion first, apply what you learn there to your T.O.S., and then link your revised T.O.S. here for help polishing up. Be prepared for honest critique!

(Depending on the level of response, this will likely be a bi-monthly event.)

Community Tags:

Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.
https://artistsbeware.info/

Comments

( 74 comments — Leave a comment )
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celestinaketzia
Aug. 23rd, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
I'll kick this off!

http://taasla.net/

I know I can ramble a bit, so I really hope my ToS makes sense. If there are any spots that seem questionable, I'll be happy to change things!
karthegrax
Aug. 23rd, 2012 01:14 am (UTC)
Thats a really great example.

You don't really need to change this, I'm just being picky =P
Not sure why, but this sentence seems really awkward to me.
"You may absolutely not pay another person to color non-colored work."
Under no circumstances may you pay another...
You are not permitted to pay another...
They might sound too scary though, and I notice your TOS does a great job of not scaring away commissioners.
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Aug. 23rd, 2012 01:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shukivengeance - Aug. 23rd, 2012 03:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karthegrax - Aug. 23rd, 2012 04:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shukivengeance - Aug. 23rd, 2012 05:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - intj_reflection - Aug. 23rd, 2012 12:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Aug. 23rd, 2012 10:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hezzywags - Aug. 24th, 2012 01:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Aug. 24th, 2012 02:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - radcatastrophe - Aug. 24th, 2012 04:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Aug. 24th, 2012 10:22 am (UTC) - Expand
anarchicq
Aug. 23rd, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)
http://www.anarchicq.com/commissions

Note:
I've been thinking of adding "gift cards" as a payment method but I wasn't sure how to A) word that or B) how that would work with "I require half the pay up front" so any advice on gift cards as payment would be helpful.
Thank you.
karthegrax
Aug. 23rd, 2012 02:17 am (UTC)
Just what I've noticed..
You don't have anything about what happens if the commissioner cancels. Who gets the money?
IMHO you should set a number of edits, instead of saying its limited and don't go overboard. Possibly add a cost for additional edits after the limit?
Is the commissioner allowed to advertise their company or use the image on their website? Technically thats not making copies to sell.

As far as adding gift cards.. what you have to ask is, will it enlarge your customer base? Right now everything is in paypal and it makes refunds and disputes terribly easy. As a customer I think I'd feel safer using paypal, even if I do have to pay extra with currency conversion and fees.
(no subject) - anarchicq - Aug. 23rd, 2012 02:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ankewehner - Aug. 23rd, 2012 09:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anarchicq - Aug. 23rd, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
lem0ntrees
Aug. 23rd, 2012 12:31 am (UTC)
https://docs.google.com/document/d/178P9UvIPINU-Z7wwcPIkLOwFAnu_jQ9Tu2Lzl-pn82I/edit

I'm far from ready to take commissions, but I used information posted on A_B on the ToS threads to compile this. I cut it down a lot to make it as simple as possible. Please let me know if I've left out anything or if wording is confusing.
crazy_onna
Aug. 23rd, 2012 12:49 am (UTC)
I've learned a lot from that previous ToS post. Thank-you for posting this.

http://kinetic-duet.deviantart.com/journal/TOS-Updated-08-22-2012-224487931

I look forward to any suggestions.

Edited at 2012-08-23 12:50 am (UTC)
mazz
Aug. 23rd, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
Please critique my TOS.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ivmbm3WR7NBKE9hgyaNQE3kDnyudO6F1QMOw69N4mkM/edit

Anything you think should be added or removed let me know.
(Deleted comment)
ankewehner
Aug. 23rd, 2012 10:06 am (UTC)
"Each commissioner receives TWO (2) FREE CHANGES to the piece in case of any mistakes." - This sounds like if you make three mistakes, your customer would have to pay to have the third mistake fixed.

Regarding "private commissions"- maybe instead of calling them "private commissions", write out what it means? So far I've only seen "private commissions" refer to someone commissioning an image of their character or for their living room wall, as opposed to a commission of an illustration for commercial use, but this seems to be different.

Toning down the markup and allcaps might help with sounding less harsh. With half the text in bold, most of that additionally underlined, and the caps (particularly since those are often "NOT"), it comes across as a bit shouty.
I would at least remove the underlines.

A little bit of typography basics: Bold, underlines or allcaps are useful if you want to make it easy to find the words or phrases stressed like that through skimming. Marking too much of a text is less useful because if everything is marked, nothing stands out any more.

By highlighting "will not", "incomplete", "does not", "not", "is not", you make those negative but by themselves not very informative phrases jump out at the reader when they look at the page. It would be more useful to highlight things that should be findable.
For example, in the line about contacting you, highlight "email" instead of "best", or in the line about delays the word "delays" instead of "any".
(Deleted comment)
grandioze
Aug. 23rd, 2012 03:09 am (UTC)
Here's mine:
http://aboveclouds.deviantart.com/journal/Commission-Terms-of-Service-272898300

I don't get a lot of commissions, so I haven't had that many chances to test it out in action. If there's anything that's looks off, just let me know. Thanks!

Edited at 2012-08-23 03:17 am (UTC)
ankewehner
Aug. 23rd, 2012 10:19 am (UTC)
As far as I know you cannot forbid people to resell things, including original art.

I really like that you included a detailed description of how the WIP stage works. :)
(no subject) - intj_reflection - Aug. 23rd, 2012 02:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grandioze - Aug. 23rd, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - intj_reflection - Aug. 23rd, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grandioze - Aug. 23rd, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ankewehner - Aug. 23rd, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
feropup
Aug. 23rd, 2012 03:11 am (UTC)
One particular clause that I will suggest for anyone who updates their ToS on occasion (to close loopholes, usually). Or rather, for people who have commissions that might take a long time to get finished.

A "no grandfathering" clause.

It seems kinda skeezy at first, when you think about how it can be abused, but it keeps you from having to remember what the ToS was when you began working with that particular customer. Yes, it has the potential to be abused if you are an artist with loose morals, but if you know you will not abuse it, it is a very useful way to keep you from being trapped by some annoying commissioner who demands to exploit a loophole. Just know that if word gets out that you use that particular clause to be a jerk, you will lose customers fast.

Something to think of.
marus_puppy
Aug. 23rd, 2012 04:29 am (UTC)
I think if you send the commissioner a copy of your ToS and tell them/include IN the ToS to keep this for reference with you, you won't need to worry about having a "no grandfathering" clause.

So say you send a customer a copy of ToS A from December 2011 and you update your shipping policy in June 2012 (ToS B,) if they have questions about what they fall under, you just pull up your email conversation and see what's attached or they email it back to you, you can confirm it and move from there.
(no subject) - karthegrax - Aug. 23rd, 2012 04:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shukivengeance - Aug. 23rd, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
growly
Aug. 23rd, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
My ToS for fursuits: http://growly.livejournal.com/1289297.html
Everything sound okay to you guys?
puppetmaker40
Aug. 23rd, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC)
It seems reasonable and not to hard to understand.

May I ask a couple of questions, why not make the care and feeding (cleaning) of the suit part of the package going out? I don't understand why one would have to ask how to keep the suit in top condition and what basic materials were used so I would know what I can and can't use on it.

And why the emphasis on dirty suits will not be worked on?
(no subject) - growly - Aug. 23rd, 2012 01:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karthegrax - Aug. 23rd, 2012 02:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - growly - Aug. 23rd, 2012 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
squirrelly_kaku
Aug. 23rd, 2012 03:30 am (UTC)
Here's my ToS: http://kakucommissions.tumblr.com/

I want to make sure that everything seems clear, and that I don't come across as aggressive or anything of the sort. Any sort of critique is appreciated. Thanks!
celestinaketzia
Aug. 24th, 2012 01:07 am (UTC)
I think your ToS is very well written and concise. The only thing I have to comment is that you may want to put a limit on text descriptions. I used to take them a lot, and I had people sending me four page essays about their character.
(no subject) - squirrelly_kaku - Aug. 24th, 2012 01:27 am (UTC) - Expand
plastickaiju
Aug. 23rd, 2012 03:37 am (UTC)
This could probably stand to be revised, give it a look-see? http://sta.sh/01o6qoh0vlcj
karthegrax
Aug. 23rd, 2012 10:03 am (UTC)
Could only spot one flaw.

...but time taken can vary depending on a multitude factors such as complexity...

multitude OF factors perhaps? An excellent TOS.
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Aug. 23rd, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
lackoflollies
Aug. 23rd, 2012 05:49 am (UTC)
ankewehner
Aug. 23rd, 2012 08:48 am (UTC)
There are two things that caught my eye:

How you take payments? Via Paypal? If so, the transfer fees mention is superfluous - it would be against their terms for you to charge the customer for those. The service needs to be mentioned, anyway, so people know where they need to be signed up to pay you.

You mention twice that you "do not care" if the art is reposted elsewhere. I would change that to something like "you may post..." - it sounds friendlier and more inviting to me, giving something to the customer that they probably want vs dismissing what they do as unimportant.
(no subject) - lackoflollies - Aug. 23rd, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karthegrax - Aug. 23rd, 2012 09:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lackoflollies - Aug. 23rd, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
ansitru
Aug. 23rd, 2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
My TOS is in the same journal-post as my commission-slots are, so you need to scroll down a bit to see it.

http://hardrockangel.deviantart.com/journal/Commission-info-slots-OPEN-224141769

I feel like it's very short compared to some of the other TOS's that have been posted, so feel free to correct me on the things I've missed. So far I haven't had any trouble with it yet, fortunately, but I'd rather cover all my bases.

Edited at 2012-08-23 12:10 pm (UTC)
crazy_onna
Aug. 23rd, 2012 02:21 pm (UTC)
The first three lines under Refund seem to be more about your drawing process than about returning money. That's the one thing that really stood out to me.
(no subject) - ansitru - Aug. 23rd, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crazy_onna - Aug. 23rd, 2012 03:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ansitru - Aug. 23rd, 2012 04:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
sbneko
Aug. 23rd, 2012 05:24 pm (UTC)
Well, might as well leave mine here as well! I'd like to make sure everything is well written out and makes sense.

My TOS is actually copied from Squeedge's, with permission, then edited to fit my needs. Just to mention, since it might seem similar to you.

http://sbneko.livejournal.com/2178.html
tealmoonxiv
Aug. 23rd, 2012 05:29 pm (UTC)
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