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Hey guys, first and foremost, I hope that I'm posting this in the right way; I haven't used AB much so please let me know if I need to change anything!

That said... I was looking for some advice on a problem, and some friends suggested that I try asking around here. I don't want to list any names yet, as I'd like to contact the individual in question first, but I'm not sure how to go about doing it.

So the issue is this: someone who purchased one of my adoptables in the past is now auctioning off a "date" with this character. It seems whoever wins the auction, gets to be featured in a picture with this character, and gets to choose the artist and details for the commission. Now, I would be okay if it was just the person who won the auction paying for the commission, but instead it looks as though the owner of this adoptable is attempting to make a profit off of this, which I have to be honest... I am not okay with.

Any suggestions on how I can handle this? I want to be civil, but I also want to be clear that I am not alright with people making money off of my designs. I kind of thought that it would be common sense/courtesy not to do so, but apparently I was wrong. So in the future I will be adding a T.O.S. to my adoptables, but for now I'm just trying to figure out how to handle this situation in the best way possible.

EDIT: Thank you to everyone for the advice and input, honestly I did not expect to get this many responses, and at this point I am just overwhelmed and I guess come to the conclusion that there is nothing that I can do. At this time I have decided to just be done with adoptables.

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( 94 comments — Leave a comment )
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neolucky
Mar. 13th, 2013 09:21 pm (UTC)
I actually stumbled across this today, so I know exactly who you are talking about. And...I would contact them immediately, and tell them you are absolutely not okay with this auction.

This customer has a habit of being unsavory with adoptables they have bought. (Or tried to buy)

Definitely add to your TOS. If they do not take down this auction, contact FA with a trouble ticket and get the art removed, as you still retain all rights to that art regardless of who "bought" the adoptable or not. If she doesn't remove it, feel free to make a beware.
catbrooks
Mar. 13th, 2013 09:26 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's just me but I feel like trying to keep control of a character design you sold is kind of a bad practice anyway. It's different from them using your art to make a profit because the thing being paid for is a completely new picture not drawn by you.
thecreativepen
Mar. 13th, 2013 09:34 pm (UTC)
From my understanding, the individual is profiting off of the auction partially. I can imagine that what money that is leftover after the commission will be staying in the individual's pocket.
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thecreativepen
Mar. 13th, 2013 09:32 pm (UTC)
I don't fully understand adoptables, so please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

I thought when it came to adoptables, you are essentially selling a character design to someone, and you just retain ownership of the original art you auctioned off. Is that correct?

Is that something you've specified in your TOS? Because if it's not there, I'm not entirely sure if there's much you can do, minus asking the person to cancel the auction and reporting it.
neolucky
Mar. 13th, 2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
Adoptables are a strange sort of thing. The customers are not buying a character, they are buying the "idea" that they own the character. They are basically being given limited usage in getting art of said character. But in no way do they solidly own rights to that design, and should an artist wish to, they could revoke that permission at any time. This is why so much conflict comes about.

This is why I am not a fan of adoptables, and more a fan of freelance character design, contract and all. That way rights are bought, and there's none of this wishy-washy "who owns what" stuff.
(no subject) - catbrooks - Mar. 13th, 2013 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
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houndofloki
Mar. 13th, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
I'll admit right off the bat that I'm not all that familiar with adoptables, so if I'm wrong here just put me in my place or something!

It was my understanding that people who are selling character designs are SELLING them. I assumed the artist controlled whether or not the buyer can make any profit off their actual art, i.e whatever reference sheet or image the artist originally did of the character. But the design itself now belongs to them - and if they want to commission pictures of it. put it in porn, auction off the opportunity to bang it, whatever...well, it's theirs now, right?

If the seller still controls what can be done with the character, I'm not sure what someone who buys an adoptable is even getting?

Maybe I'm just confused on this; I've never bought or sold an adoptable.
sigilgoat
Mar. 13th, 2013 10:05 pm (UTC)
Someone reselling one of my adoptables is what led me to stop selling them, and only do higher-priced character design stuff in the future where I'm compensated enough that I don't feel bothered if someone eventually does whatever with the character.

Since you don't have anything in your TOS about this stuff, I would say that you shouldn't pursue anything too extreme about this situation, but you can let the buyer know that you don't authorize the use of your art as advertisement for their auctions, which you can do. If they refuse, you can have that art removed, but as far as the auction goes, they're within their expected rights in the "adoptable mindset" I guess.

It sucks to have to learn this stuff the hard way though, right?
wuvvumsoc
Mar. 13th, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
I find adoptables to be kind of confusing from a selling standpoint, which is one of the reasons I made all of mine free.

Adoptables seem to work off of an honor system I guess. You can't really own certain aspects of adoptables and call them your own but those who don't really play with the unwritten rules around adoptables likely get flak. That's my guess, at least.
celarania
Mar. 13th, 2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
What is the adoptable buyer buying?

Although I don't understand adoptables, it seems to me that they're buying the design. That's the only thing that makes sense. If it's buying the right to use that design, that needs to be explicitly stated especially when there are limitations. The fact that your auctions say that you can change the design also suggest that they're buying the design, not just the rights to use it.

To be honest, this reminds me of those cases where someone resells an original for a profit. Once it's sold it's not yours to control. This is even more so in the case of characters! I don't understand FA's obsession with characters, but obviously the adoptable buyer has promoted the character enough to have people interested in paying for a date. That's their effort coupled with the design they purchased.

You definitely can't add a TOS after the fact. That's always bad business.
shukivengeance
Mar. 13th, 2013 10:16 pm (UTC)
You sold the character so they should be able to do what they like with it, as long as your copyright to the original image they're depicted in isn't infringed on.
venatorrooc
Mar. 14th, 2013 12:22 am (UTC)
This!

I've sold adoptables before and when a person buys 'em they can do whatever they want with the design, which includes using it like this. I don't allow people to resell for more than they paid unless there's additional art, either way a note asking is always appreciated.

And I'd be pretty steamed if an artist I bought an adopt off of suddenly yanked it out of my grasp because they didn't agree with whatever I was doing with it sans reselling for a higher price (I don't resell anyways so). I know some people like to hoard massive amounts of adoptables and do literally nothing with them, but others like me develop them as soon as money exchanges hands. It'd be, well, heartbreaking.
(no subject) - staple_gunner - Mar. 15th, 2013 02:01 am (UTC) - Expand
aerotheacrobat
Mar. 13th, 2013 10:32 pm (UTC)
I personally have a clause that says that they can do what they want with the character, but not my art. My art becomes a commission of said character after the transaction. No idea who this is doing this, so not sure if they're using your art or not. If they are, you're well within your rights to ask them not to do that. If it's their own art, that's their right to do so. Most buy and sell adopts with the thought that the character itself is the buyers and they can do what they want with the character, just not the original art.

That said, I have seen someone take a free raffle and make money off the free art/character with a "win a date" auction. The winner paying well over the artist picked would charge. That struck me as kind of a sleezy act. So, I do know where you're coming from on this subject. You might want to make a very clear TOS for your next adoptable about what you do and don't allow.
ethelune
Mar. 13th, 2013 11:20 pm (UTC)
Most people who I've seen selling adoptables seem mostly adverse to the buyer making a profit off the piece they drew of the character (e.g., buying an adoptable for $10 and immediately turning around and reselling it for $15). When you start considering other ways to make a profit, the line gets a little more fuzzy. Even so, I have to agree with what folks (especially sableantelope) are saying; if you're selling a character design, you should be willing to let the owner do as they wish with it. Otherwise, what's the point of buying the design in the first place?

It might be frustrating (especially given the customer you're discussing, who isn't exactly a shining paragon of integrity), but I don't really think you can do much in this case.
chronidu
Mar. 13th, 2013 11:22 pm (UTC)
I think the big issue here is that they're using her actual art for the auction, thus using her art to make profit, as apposed to just a design she sold.
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chronidu
Mar. 13th, 2013 11:21 pm (UTC)
The problem here is that what people don't understand is that selling an adoptable without any rights changing hands is just essentially selling the use of the character.

That in itself brings up a whole giant can of legal worms.
I think Sigil is right in that since the TOS didn't state otherwise prior, there isn't much to be done on the matter outside of perhaps a polite request that they not use the character for profit.

Although I don't think people understand that the person profiting off the adopt is using your actual art, and that is not okay even if they bought the character. The art belongs to you and legally they cannot use it for profit as they are doing. That said you are completely within the right as things stand to request that they not use your picture for the auction at the very least.
celarania
Mar. 14th, 2013 02:11 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree with this.

If we remove the adoptable element for a second, we have a person with a character that gets art done of that character with the ability to display it on FA and etc.

If that person uses a piece of art from a commission to promote a "date with my character" even for profit, is that really misuse of the artwork? They're not selling the artwork, copying it, or posting it somewhere where they lack permission. You get into sketchy territory when we're discussing a trademark or a logo, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Would they be able to use said artwork if they were reselling the character? If so, how is this any different?

It's a complicated question. They're not strictly using the art for profit, but they're not using it not-for-profit either.
tealmoonxiv
Mar. 14th, 2013 12:01 am (UTC)
When I sell a character I'm selling the character (and it's rights). They can do whatever they want to/with it.

Lately though I've been selling character "packages" where you get the character (and the rights to it) and some art to go with it.

I'm gonna add this to my TOS so there's no confusion though.

Edited at 2013-03-14 12:01 am (UTC)
vioskotty
Mar. 14th, 2013 12:04 am (UTC)
Forgive me if this is obvious and I'm just missing it!
I may not be able to check back soon, but I'm confused. You say it seems as though they're trying too profit off of this, how so exactly? I'm not sure I'm understanding all to well with this.

I would say more but I feel like I can't because I'm stuck at how this is all going down :c Whatever the case, since adoptables seem to be taken in so many different ways without rules being set out a TOS for the future is a very good idea. Different people can have different ideas so unless the artist/seller says specifically what's being bought nobody can be sure. I myself, though I don't participate in doing so, always figured it was selling of the character in its entirety unless otherwise stated by the artist but I'll do well to remember not to assume so after reading some of the above comments.
(grkdjf typo whoops)

Edited at 2013-03-14 12:05 am (UTC)
ethelune
Mar. 14th, 2013 12:18 am (UTC)
That's... an interesting question, actually.

I think some people were assuming, say, if someone wins with a $70 bid but only wants a commission from an artist worth $60, then the adoptable buyer would pocket the extra $10. Yet, I've seen comments from them stating that the auction winner would send money directly to the artist... so I don't see how a profit could be made, if that's true?
(no subject) - vioskotty - Mar. 14th, 2013 01:45 am (UTC) - Expand
timelapsedecay
Mar. 14th, 2013 12:30 am (UTC)
What a compelling question. I'm kind of torn.

Which were you selling to this person: the character, or the use of the character? You may have drawn the first version of this character, but is it outlined in your Terms of Service what the appropriate usage of your designs is?

IMO, you should make your feelings known about this, but I'm not quite sure I can say what the seller is doing is wrong.

I've been in similar situations as this myself, and after reflecting on what the design actually meant to me, I decided to excuse it. I got proper compensation for the design already, and the character now belongs to them, so I let it go.
It would be different if they were selling art you actually drew- THAT you still have the rights to. But if you sold the character, you sold the right to use that character, and the new owner will use it how they see fit.

I don't want to say you're out of luck. Maybe your client will be sympathetic to your feelings. But if you sold them the rights already, and they're not modifying your art in any way, well... you may just be out of luck :c

Edited at 2013-03-14 12:30 am (UTC)
thaily
Mar. 14th, 2013 12:57 am (UTC)
You sold the character without a limitation on this, but now you want to put a limitation on it after the transaction has been concluded? I think you might have to suck it up this time around and do things differently the next.
tartii
Mar. 14th, 2013 01:01 am (UTC)
So this is what I am reading, I want to make sure I am understanding completely:

You sold off a character to somebody. That person now owns the character. Then the new owner decides he wants to auction a picture WITH said character on a sort of 'date' theme, and because the new owner may come out with cash in this situation it angers/frustrates you?

If this is the case, I'm sorry to tell you but that is business. :c

When you sell a character you are doing just that, SELLING the character. Design and all, including the rights to said character (unless specifically stated in your submission.) Whoever wins that character has any and all rights to it. The only thing they do not have full rights to is the artwork itself that you made of it. So really, there is nothing you can do in this case....and I don't see why you should be upset?

When I do character auctions I flat out state what the person gets, as how it works for most character auctions:
1. Full rights to the /character/ and not artwork
2. They can change whatever they want to the character
3. Get fullrez file of the image of the character

Because you are selling off a design to something the person is buying the rights, not just.....'display rights.'

I also let people sell my designs after they buy them, because it is THEIRS now. However, some artists will state in their adoptables that "if you sell this design it must be of equal or lesser value." Or they just don't allow selling at all.

What this person is doing is just being clever in business, no harm done that I can see....aside from the fact that you are upset somebody is getting more money out of it than you did, maybe?
lackoflollies
Mar. 14th, 2013 01:32 am (UTC)
^ Pretty much how I feel about it
(no subject) - staple_gunner - Mar. 15th, 2013 05:43 am (UTC) - Expand
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