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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.

This post can also be used to discuss any other questions that you have on your mind regarding how to build a T.O.S., maintain a good T.O.S. and how to make sure your clients read and agree to your T.O.S.

Before you post, please read through the previous T.O.S. discussion and maybe even the examples in the last T.O.S. post, apply what you learn there to your T.O.S., and then link your revised T.O.S. here for help polishing up. Please do not post a half-finished T.O.S. and ask folks to rewrite it for you. Be prepared for honest critique!

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Comments

( 81 comments — Leave a comment )
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viothefoxbird
Sep. 12th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
If anyone wants to critique mine, I would definitely appreciate it! I've been using mine for years and have not had problems, but I'm always looking to improve :)

https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1NLHU0zUfVFT71ju0qiDXc_Um-_3aZLdhctOGBogAr1c

(Tos is at the bottom!)

Edited at 2013-09-12 06:10 pm (UTC)
fluffmouse
Sep. 12th, 2013 06:50 pm (UTC)
.__. I like yours better than mine..

Mine sounds mean and way too formal/complicated.

Would it be horribly unprofessional / lame of me to ask if I could rewrite mine based on yours? I'm not so good with this sort of stuff.
(no subject) - viothefoxbird - Sep. 12th, 2013 07:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mortymaxwell - Sep. 12th, 2013 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
sweepshire
Sep. 12th, 2013 05:58 pm (UTC)
This came just at the right time! Since FA was down I was going to make my own website to keep my ToS and past commissions in one place.

I'll link to it once it's up, but I'd like some advice on refunds. I've only ever given out refunds a handful of times and it went smoothly, but I don't think I'm fully prepared for everything.

When I provided refunds before it was for $15 commissions that I'd cancelled myself due to personal reasons, since I'd done the sketches already I kept $2.50 of that to compensate the time I'd taken on them. If I'd done lines or even flats I would have obviously kept more. I think that's how refunds usually go?

The one thing I'm concerned with is someone asking for a refund after I'd completed their commission because they were unhappy with it (I do provide sketches for approval so this should prevent this in most cases). Do I refund them in full? Offer a partial refund with extra art? Offer a second commission at a discounted price?

Any advice would be appreciated!
fluffmouse
Sep. 12th, 2013 06:18 pm (UTC)
I'd say if it's not due to error on your part, don't refund them. It's up to you whether you want to compensate them or not but you run the risk of it happening more often if you do. Look up buyers remorse. It happens, unfortunately.. especially with art.
(no subject) - teekchan - Sep. 12th, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - evan_balot - Sep. 13th, 2013 01:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - houndofloki - Sep. 13th, 2013 03:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sweepshire - Sep. 13th, 2013 04:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - trunchbull - Sep. 13th, 2013 09:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sweepshire - Sep. 13th, 2013 03:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - houndofloki - Sep. 13th, 2013 04:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sweepshire - Sep. 13th, 2013 04:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - evan_balot - Sep. 13th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - houndofloki - Sep. 14th, 2013 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
quescostumes
Sep. 12th, 2013 06:02 pm (UTC)
I'd love some critique on mine as well.

http://quescostumes.com/tos.html
mortymaxwell
Sep. 12th, 2013 07:02 pm (UTC)
"In the event of a cancellation, a refund will be provided of the paid amount, minus the 30% deposit and any fees applicable to the project. Any items completed become property of Que's Costumes after the refund, to modify or resell as needed."


Well, what if the Client wanted a partial refund + any materials/costume pieces you've completed? How you've written this, it sounds like their mats + partial pieces would be kept or resold.
(no subject) - quescostumes - Sep. 12th, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
shagpoke
Sep. 12th, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC)
What odd timing, I was just writing up my ToS today.

I have an opinion question for the group, how bad is a ToS that is too wordy? Are small written paragraphs less desirable than nice simple point form?
kayla_la
Sep. 12th, 2013 07:05 pm (UTC)
The longer and more wordy a TOS is, the harder it's going to be for people to get through it. The simpler, more concise it is, the better it's going to be. You don't want people opening it, deciding it's TL;DR, then just deciding to go elsewhere or the like.
(no subject) - shagpoke - Sep. 12th, 2013 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shagpoke - Sep. 12th, 2013 08:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
sbneko
Sep. 12th, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
My TOS is actually copy pasted from Squeedge's and edit for my own use (with permission of course!), just stating in case people see the similarities c:

Here we go! http://ladysbneko.weebly.com/terms-of-service.html

I think it sounds ok, but fixing things up always helps.
mortymaxwell
Sep. 12th, 2013 07:48 pm (UTC)
Your TOS is good.

I dunno, you could add your policies for traditional artwork and badges?
(no subject) - sbneko - Sep. 12th, 2013 07:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
lackoflollies
Sep. 12th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
loganberrybunny
Sep. 12th, 2013 08:48 pm (UTC)
One small thing that stood out was your comment about SoFurry. The first thing a lot of potential commissioners will ask themselves (and maybe you) is "Why?" There's nothing wrong with it being for personal reasons you don't wish to discuss, but if that's so I think it might help to include a brief comment along those lines in the TOS.
(no subject) - lackoflollies - Sep. 12th, 2013 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - loganberrybunny - Sep. 12th, 2013 09:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lackoflollies - Sep. 12th, 2013 10:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
mistresswolf
Sep. 12th, 2013 08:09 pm (UTC)
I posted last time seeing if someone would like to look over my page, but to my knowledge, nobody did. I'd like to ask this time too. I've recently made some changes to it and would like to know if there is anything weird or that could be added/changed. Thanks!

http://zenia.unixdaemons.com
mortymaxwell
Sep. 12th, 2013 08:58 pm (UTC)

Hm:

-"The artist reserves the right to cancel due to harassment, improper conduct or poor communication." might be better than "I reserve the right to terminate a commission at any time."

-Adding a clause explaining what happens if the commissioner cancels/or you have to cancel due to commissioner conduct

-Adding a clause asking the client not to post the 300 DPI file to their gallery.
(no subject) - mistresswolf - Sep. 12th, 2013 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mortymaxwell - Sep. 12th, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistresswolf - Sep. 12th, 2013 09:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nowayne - Sep. 12th, 2013 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistresswolf - Sep. 12th, 2013 09:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nowayne - Sep. 12th, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistresswolf - Sep. 12th, 2013 09:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistresswolf - Sep. 12th, 2013 10:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
rimpala
Sep. 12th, 2013 08:33 pm (UTC)
NSFW, and this is my TOS for my fetish account on FA since that gets the most business:

http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/4624953/

In particular I hope I'm not sounding too authoritarian in it, I want to be stern with it but at the same time I strive to be friendly and approachable with my customers.

Edited at 2013-09-12 08:33 pm (UTC)
karthegrax
Sep. 16th, 2013 03:26 am (UTC)
Looks good, but I've noticed you don't have a clause about refunds if you cancel, or if the commissioner cancels.

I didn't mean to pick apart your TOS so much, but these are just some things I noticed:

AB is very educating...ut the commission process. I'd take this out, for the sake of condensing.

1st para: ...the right to change and amend this at...

2nd para: I reserve the right to refuse to work on any commissions for any reason. Does this mean "I reserve the right to decline commissions without reason", or "I can stop working on your commission without reason".

3rd para: I will never commission anyone underage, due to the nature of my work, I will report you if you are lying about your age. This reads as you buying art from someone else. Do you mean "I will not accept commissions from persons under the age of 18. If you are found to be lying about your age you will be reported"

6th para: Raster images that are larger than 24 inches on either side are subject to additional charges.

7th para: Perhaps condense this to "Email is the only form of communicaton I accept for commission related contact. I will not use IMs. I may discuss commissions with you over FA or SL, however anything relating to references/edits/details must be emailed to me for it to become official." Personaly I don't feel you have to explain why you won't IM, but it's up to you if you want to leave it in.

8th para: I only accept payment via PayPal and payments must be sent as goods/services. No point telling them not to send as gift if you don't tell them what to do instead. Perhaps reorder your paragraphs so that this one and "note on funds" are next to "I will only do one commission at a time", to keep all the money related information together.

11th para: Perhaps move the part about your specific characters and what situations you will draw them in to your front page, unless the majority of people are wanting art with your character/s.

12th para: I think I get what you mean here but it reads a bit funny. Perhaps "I do not do deals for multiple commissions. I only accept payment for one commission at a time. For example, if you order 3 images, you will have to pay for each of them seperately. Under no circumstances may you wait until all 3 are completed before you start payment."

13th para: ...a $10 charge, and I will no longer do "private" trades or... "I will omit names of Fursonas for no extra fee" Perhaps if you really want to display this art in your gallery you can simply muck with the hue/saturation sliders so that the character changes colour and is unrecognisable?

15th para: ...or organic details that surround the main subject... Last sentence you have they twice.

16th para: ..."adult" versions will include details on genitals and other...
...request that requires more content than what can be included in...

17th para: ...simpler shading than the normal commissions for...

18th para: "Animations" will start at $75 for 5 seconds and will increase by $10 for each additional second. Animations larger than 10 seconds will... ...animation commissions take much longer than regular ones depending... ...enough to at least hire some help!

19th para: ...each mesh part is based on its complexity and upload...

20th para: ...simple side, colors will be chosen to complement...
(no subject) - rimpala - Sep. 16th, 2013 02:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
celestinaketzia
Sep. 12th, 2013 08:59 pm (UTC)
I just did a complete rewrite of mine, so let's see if I forgot anything.

https://www.furaffinity.net/journal/5043049/
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Sep. 13th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
sweepshire
Sep. 12th, 2013 11:19 pm (UTC)
Ok I've finished my site!

http://sweep-commissions.weebly.com/

I'm afraid it's a bit long but I've tried to make it as digestible as possible while still covering everything.

The main bulk is on the ToS page, but there are more specific things on the commission pages and how-to page.
sweepshire
Sep. 13th, 2013 03:35 pm (UTC)
I've changed my ToS regarding refunds based on the replies above!
radcatastrophe
Sep. 12th, 2013 11:51 pm (UTC)
Looking for some feedback on my ToS - https://www.weasyl.com/journal/2219
I'm not in the dealings of what people normally talk about on here but anything would be helpful.
nowayne
Sep. 13th, 2013 03:49 pm (UTC)
i had a bit of an issue opening your file (i don't use word, so had to finagle it into the program i use and it looked pretty slaughtered once i opened it, so you may want to consider not offering it as a file but as a webpage)

but once i got that squared away yours was very easy to navigate. the only thing i can say is that your verbage of "caught" several times at the end makes me feel a little uneasy, as if you are expecting your commissioners to be thieves. perhaps simply go with "you may not create prints for financial gain or promotional work, as this negates my rights as an artist" or something similar, for every instance of "caught."
(no subject) - germanchoclates - Sep. 14th, 2013 12:30 am (UTC) - Expand
tcstarwind
Sep. 13th, 2013 12:07 am (UTC)
itsamellama
Sep. 13th, 2013 01:35 am (UTC)
Ahh yay! I'd be really grateful for any feedback (good or bad!) on my T.O.S. - I still worry I've left things out, more on the client's side than mine, really, or that I'm too vague or maybeeee too specific. I worry I overdo it and make it look like I get all the good out of the transaction and the client gets shortchanged. I'd also appreciate any advice on the wording as I think I shift between second person and third person. I have a hard time figuring out how to make things sound nicer and more concise.

Mel's Terms of Service

Thanks so much, everybody!
nowayne
Sep. 13th, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC)
i clicked your tos at random out of the list of folks here, so please don't feel i'm targeting you, but your tos comes off as almost overwhelmingly wordy, something that struck me as odd since you specifically ask your commissioners not to be overwhelmingly wordy, heh.

for example, the 'contact' section - all you have to say is "I will only accept commissions initiated through my order form, to help keep things orderly." the rest of that paragraph almost gives tacit consent to people sending pms/notes. if people do that, just link them to your tos, because you know they have not read it if they are doing that.

"discussion" section - all you have to say is "contact me through e-mail only to discuss the commission once accepted." putting in the "reminders" thing tells me as a commissioner that you might flake out and need reminders, which makes me want to run the other way. it shouldn't be my job as a commissioner to remind you! :(

telling the commissioner what you need from them is fine, and saying "you must attach all reference files to e-mail instead of providing links" should suffice. the extra lines about website servers and internet connectivity should be unnecessary.

this will sound cold, but the slot section is mostly unnecessary to me. i have money, i want to spend it with you; i don't care about public/private lists and why you keep them. just, are you open, or not. if you find you spend weeks or months with no open slots, maybe add a sign to the top of your page, "now open," or "not open for commissions - please check back around (date)."

and the waiting list policy is weird and confusing to me. you already covered an a)b)c) of when exactly a commissioner's been accepted, so having a separate list of people who haven't-paid-but-maybe-will-if-they're-serious seems like extra work and stress for you, and more confusion for the commissioner. i understand wanting to grab up all the people who want to give you money that you can, when they have the money, but you should also already be aware of your limits. if you can't accept their commission right now, i would just say "can you check back in 3 weeks because i expect to have more time then" or something.

i know i am overly critical and my feedback was wordy too! so i'll bow out now but please let me know if you wanted more feedback from me.
(no subject) - itsamellama - Sep. 15th, 2013 07:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nowayne - Sep. 15th, 2013 02:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - itsamellama - Sep. 16th, 2013 01:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
vauvakolibri
Sep. 13th, 2013 02:19 pm (UTC)
The sketch/cancellation thing is bit sketchy (no pun intended):
If they cancel before getting a sketch, it's free, and if they cancel after getting the sketch you take 15$ but if they get a sketch, approve it and pay, then they'll have no way to cancel for any reason?
Where goes the line between getting a sketch and being able to cancel and getting a sketch and not being able to cancel, it's something I'd clarify (and though you don't have very expensive commissions, having a "after X you can't get away from the commission" clause is something that rubs me the wrong way, as opposed to say, refunding a smaller part of the money based on the work you've done, but that's my personal opinion).
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