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Not too recently, I did work for my aunt's supervisor. My aunt works at a law school, and her supervisor, happy with my work, had a few lawyers write and rewrite an image usage form. In a nutshell, the form reads the client's limitations and purpose for the image, and what I can use the image for; such limitations include making money outside of the agreement, however I may do what I please with the picture, posting it online, for instance. She has been forcing me to use that form ever since (not that I wouldn't want to use it.) However, I have not been accepting commissions online, due to I think it would be a turn off to give that form to a possible client. SO... my question is this:

Would you still like to purchase artwork from someone even after they make you sign the form? If you all would like to see a copy, I'll gladly write it here. If you would like to use it as well, artists, I'll send you the .doc file.
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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 11th, 2006 03:03 am (UTC)
Some folks have their policies clearly written out on their website along with some kind of statement saying something like, "Doing business with me means you agree with the policies behind this link." Check with your aunt or with another lawyer about alternatives. Getting a piece of dead tree with squiggly lines of squid ink or whatever drawn on it isn't the only accepted media for legally-binding documentation.
Mar. 11th, 2006 03:44 am (UTC)
Indeed, but contracts are always opt-in, not opt-out, so "by not explicitely disagreeing/... with the guidelines I posted, you agree to them" doesn't work (and that's a good thing).
Mar. 16th, 2006 11:00 am (UTC)
I think it'd still be viable -- even eBay and such sites have signups that basically say "by clicking Next you testify you've read and agreed to our TOS", and they sure as hell wouldn't if that wasn't binding.

Mar. 16th, 2006 02:20 pm (UTC)
eBay does make it pretty explicit, though. It's not "by poking around on our site, you agree to the policies we posted somewhere"; it's "by clicking RIGHT HERE you agree to buy EXACTLY THIS ITEM".

IANAL, and I don't know whether buying something on eBay really is legally binding (assuming you can even prove that the person who the account belongs to really is the one who clicked and all that), but I think it is, and I think one of the reasons for that is just that - the fact that they make sure that an explicit action on your part is required.

It's just like the difference between "by signing this contract, you agree to X" (valid, at least a priori) and "by not signing this contract, you agree to X" (invalid).
Mar. 16th, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC)
I'm not talking about the message you get when you buy stuff, I'm talking about the signup pages on just about all web services, including eBay and FurBid. eBay is legally binding, is ONE of the things they list in that TOS.

And having such a document on your site is the exact same thing as "by signing this contract, you agree to x", or at least it could be. Because you'd pretty much be writing "by commissioning me, you agree to my Policies and Terms of Useage listed here." I honestly can't see the difference.

Mar. 16th, 2006 02:41 pm (UTC)
A document cannot just claim that it's legally binding - it either is, or it isn't, but whether the document itself says so is irrelevant. :)

As for the rest... I don't know. Signing up probably still requires you to explicitely agree to the TOS - for example, by requiring you to check a checkbox that says "I agree to the TOS" and that's unchecked by default. That's markedly different from just posting the TOS on the site and having a line in there that says "you agree to be bound by these because you're looking at our website".

As for commission terms of use and policies... again, I think it's the fact that it's part of the contract that makes them valid. If someone enters into a contract with you - be it by directly commissioning you or bidding on a commission auction -, they are explicitely agreeing to the conditions (assuming you reference them, at least; merely having them up somewhere would not be enough, but specifying that they're part of the contract would be).

That's a fundamental difference, I think.
Mar. 16th, 2006 02:51 pm (UTC)
eBay's TOS (or some other document they want you to read at signup) clarifies that bids are legally binding contracts. As does the "you sure you want to place this bid" page. I doubt they, as a large corporation, would be able to write something like that on their site without running into trouble, if it wasn't true.

I'm confused... Where did you get the idea that anyone was suggesting TOS for browsing a website? All anyone ever suggested that I noticed was a document saying "you agree to be bound by these terms by doing business with me", which should be fine. The only agreement you should have to enter while browsing, is clicking the "yes, I'm 18+" link when entering adult sections of websites, which I think nobody's contested.

Mar. 11th, 2006 03:10 am (UTC)
As a commissioner it wouldnt be a turn off. id feel alot better about it, in fact.

I have now have a contract that I give people when they commission me stating the rights I have and the rights they ahve and they can even agree to some things or not.

I think it makes things better for both parties.
Mar. 11th, 2006 03:14 am (UTC)
Please and thanks :B
I'd love to have a copy. ^^ I haven't gone over my copyright and use stuff since my illustration course had a mini seminar on it.

Mar. 11th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
I definitely would still buy. :P

Could I ask you to fire a copy my way?

yscaldine AT nc DOT rr DOT com <3
Mar. 11th, 2006 03:53 am (UTC)
Myself, I probably wouldn't. There's a simple reason for this:

Basically, when I purchase a piece of artwork (the physical piece, that is), there are two types of things I can do afterwards. There are things I legally am allowed to (under the first-sale doctrine etc.), and things I am not legally allowed to do. So when an artist asked me to sign a certain form/contract/whatever, I'd wonder just what they are trying to restrict. There seems to be little use in restricting things I already cannot legally do with the piece; if I do something like that, and if you find out, you can probably already file a suit against me. But obviously, the restriction of things I otherwise *can* legally do with artwork I purchased is not something I'd be interested in, either; after all, if I have certain rights, why would I be interested in signing them away without getting anything for it?

For that reason, I would be wary of these things. Signing a document that, in the best case, does not make any difference at all whatsoever and, in the worse case, restricts what I could otherwise legally do is not something I'd do; and also, I'm not a legal expert, and I wouldn't trust myself to catch all potential traps and pitfalls the document might or might not contain, so even if I *thought* it was innocent and didn't actually do anything, I'd still be wary.

That being said, I'm not sure such a document would even be binding. IIRC (but I may well be wrong here), a contract always has to be a "quid pro quo" kind of thing - in other words, I agree to give something, and you agree to give me something in return. This kind of document, however, would seem one-sided - I'd give you something (namely, I'd give up certain rights I have), but I wouldn't get anything (since the sale of the piece itself is already covered by a separate contract).

Hope that helps. :)
Mar. 11th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
Would you be wary of a contract that you haven't even read?
Mar. 11th, 2006 07:51 pm (UTC)
Mar. 11th, 2006 04:54 am (UTC)
I wouldn't mind a copy of the agreement to take a look at :)
quicksilver_elmrhyssa AT hotmail DOT com.

I think there is a time and a place for contracts. I don't really see a Black and White in that respect.

Certainly, a contract wouldn't turn me off if I just wanted an artwork done for myself, but take for example if I wanted to commission some people to do assorted artworks for the companion book I'm publishing alongside the novels I've just started releasing. It's for a commercial purpose, and I would want the people I commissioned to sign a standard industry WFHA, and most publishers or the like would agree. In an industry where the publishers hire the artists in regards to books, WFHAs are incredibly common, and a publisher will just shrug you away if you're not willing to work on one.

If an artist wasn't willing to work by one, then that wouldn't upset me, I'd just find someone else.
The same as if you have an agreement for the commissioner, and they don't like it, there'll always be someone else who is willing to sign it.

It also depends upon, as I alluded, what they want it for.
If, by example, it was me, and I wanted to commission you for a piece for this book, then I probably would decline your contract, and move on, unless you wanted to waive yours and go with mine.

However, I might alternatively want to commission you for a private piece, and wouldn't have a problem signing it, as the purpose of the artwork is not to be commissioned for commercial reasons, it's commissioned privately.

I hope I didn't confuse you! But in general, when it comes down to contracts and who is willing to sign what, it's a grey area and depends upon individual views, and the overall purpose of the artwork in question.
Some artists charge more for commercial commissions, if only for the fact that they will often be working on WFHAs. And that, also, is fair enough as well.

And again, this is also my opinion, certainly not black and white fact, there's always a grey area :)
Mar. 11th, 2006 06:14 am (UTC)
i wouldn't mind taking a look, always good to learn new things ^_^
hawklion at hotmail dot com
Mar. 11th, 2006 08:09 am (UTC)
Id like to see it, as it depends on the form and what it consists of. And if its legally true. As an artist,it still depends what the form consist of. And depends on the artist, not if thier well known. I dont think many commissioners would bother with it though, like you said it might push them away. I havent started commissions in a while, and im not well known in the area. So for me, i think it would be a turn off to commissioners trying to commission me. For you on the other hand, not to offend you in any way, but your well known. And if you believe in this form and believe in its purpose enough to use it in order to have people commission you, its your art so id say go for it if your comfortable with it.
Mar. 11th, 2006 12:49 pm (UTC)
I'd love to see a copy of your contract, because without seeing what it actually limits, you can't really judge if it'd be a turn off or not. :/
Mar. 11th, 2006 03:05 pm (UTC)
As both artist and commisioner, it personally wouldn't turn me away. I understand WHY you'd need one and have to use it, so it wouldn't be a problem. I'd like to see a copy of it, out of curiosity too. :)
Mar. 12th, 2006 07:33 am (UTC)
I'd be curious to see it too. I have no idea about the legalities of stuff like this, I would just assume that people can buy a piece of art, and their rights only pertain to ownership and re-sale of said piece, while reproduction and commercial rights remain with the artist (and this is beneficial to the buyer, since advertisement and exposure would preumably increase the value).

As for commercial use, there would need a contract outlining the terms of use, payments, royalties, etc, limitations and whatnot.

gany_meade at hotmail dot com
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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