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Adoptable Discussion Post

Howdy everyone!

We’ve started to see an increase in the number of questions and bewares involving adoptables so it’s time for a discussion post. We’d love to hear your thoughts on adoptable transactions. Some things we’d love to hear about:

-Reselling, Trading, and Gifting. What do you allow as a seller? What do you avoid as a buyer? Does the type of art being resold (one adopt, an adopt with new pieces of art, or an adopt that has been made into a fursuit) change the way you feel about this?

-Design Rights. If a new piece of reference art is created for an adopt can the customer now sell the design? What rights do you think an artist has to a design they create?

Those are only a few questions to get a conversation going. Please feel free to leave any and all thoughts you have about adopts as long as you:
- Don’t name artists, species, or customers by name. This isn’t a beware post. Keep it anonymous.
- Try to keep the conversation on the transactions around adoptables and not to the concept of adoptables themselves. People love adoptables! We want to know your thoughts on the business side.
- Keep it civil.

We look forward to your discussion!

Community Tags:

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


( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 1st, 2017 03:40 am (UTC)
Well, as a commissioner who has bought a few adoptables and such (And having done some Auto-buys on a few), I view that if you pay the Auto-buys (Or highest bid) then you own that character outright and the rights to them. I bought a wallaby on Auto-buy (from Deviantart) which I adore and have made my own and hired artists out to draw them and such with no real issues. Now I don't know about reselling adoptables on as that isn't my thing.

If you pay outright though the going price and such, do you own the copyrights to that character?
Mar. 1st, 2017 03:52 am (UTC)
Unless the artist is including copyright into their adoption spiels and A-B agreements; no.

Copyright always falls to the artist unless sold or agreed away.

So even if you auto-bought that adoptable, you don't own the artwork. Nor the Trademark as that's its own field and requires a lot more than simply being created.
(no subject) - overapologetic - Mar. 1st, 2017 03:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - houndofloki - Mar. 1st, 2017 05:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - overapologetic - Mar. 1st, 2017 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spartanwerewolf - Mar. 1st, 2017 07:46 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 1st, 2017 05:10 am (UTC)
Just as a customer I tend to generally avoid artists that have really strict rules against reselling, trading, gifting, depending on what the rest of their TOS looks like. I pretty rarely sell designs that I've purchased, but having to go through the trouble later of jumping through hoops if I ever DO decide to get rid of a design, just isn't worth it for me.

As far as I'm aware, only the art itself is copyrighted to the artist, not the actual design, so more than anything these types of rules just confuse me? I don't quite understand the mentality behind wanting to control what happens to a design after you've sold it. I can understand an artist not wanting to sell a design for $20, and then that person turn around and sell it for triple that amount. Or having someone trade for a design and then sell it off to profit. But at the same time I'm just very "ehhhhhhhhh?" about it. Mostly because I don't believe that most people are malicious about these things and aren't trying to take advantage of anyone or anything. They just have a design they aren't using and wanna get rid of it but not be left with nothing in the end because they paid money/traded something that they paid money for.

Along with reselling/trading/gifting rules, I will never buy anything from an artist who has "If you do not follow my TOS I will revoke the design you purchased." in their rules/TOS. I think it's completely outrageous and not morally right to do something like that. I know it's kind of big in a few of the CS communities, but it just comes off like a scare tactic to get people to follow your TOS. I don't 100% know the legalities behind it, but it doesn't really feel legal. :/

Idk I think it's perfectly acceptable to have a TOS that includes things about reselling/etc if you feel strongly about it, but I don't necessarily agree with bewares being posted against someone who breaks it (unless they're clearly and obviously being malicious in some way). Just blacklist them or something? I might be being too lax and thinking it's a very minor issue because I don't entirely understand the necessity, as I'm not an artist myself who has to deal with these things. ):

Edited at 2017-03-01 05:15 am (UTC)
Mar. 1st, 2017 02:32 pm (UTC)
I guess I allow anything as a seller. I have no particular rules. I have so many adoptables out there (I also gave like a bunch away for free at one time) that I wouldn't be able to really keep track, nor do I want to.

I've really only bought two adoptables ever and don't do much of anything with them so I never thought much about what I'd do as a buyer. I would probably just gift them if I didn't want them anymore. I don't think I see anything wrong with gifting. o:

-Design Rights:

Are you talking about when someone sells an adoptable and includes all art made for that adoptable, even if it came from other artists? I think I would ask for permission first from said artists before listing the adoptable in a sale. I sometimes sell adoptables that had other art made for them and I just don't put that art up in the sale of the post, since it's not mine to advertise.
Mar. 1st, 2017 03:08 pm (UTC)
I want to add that some adoptable rules really turn me off, mostly the ones saying you can't kill the adoptables or put them into weird kinks like inflation or vore. I can respect if someone has those rules but it definitely would make me take my business elsewhere.
Mar. 1st, 2017 03:17 pm (UTC)
Reading the replies here, I feel like what I kept harping on in regards to the legal status of adoptables has finally started to disseminate through out the community. So happy for that. I'm so glad people finally understand that there's just no protection legally for them if they chose to spend and make money in this niche of furry art. I can see ways you could try and argue it, but it'd be such a hard row to hoe.
The really important part to take away is that individual pieces of art of a character have protections, the character's design do not.
(You could get into a messy 17 U.S.C. discussion on this, but better not do that)

I can't see any basis, morally or legal wise, for the rules people try to make about how/when consumer can go onto to resell design. Honestly if you want to see*(sell, sorry) that design and benefit from that sale you lose the right to tell the buyer what they can do with it. That's just the way it works when you sell something. I just can't wrap my head around that one at all. If someone wants to mimic licensing of software but with the adoptable design, well, have fun with writing out that end user agreement.

So as someone known to be not at all fond of this area of the fandom, I will just say that FurAffinity has chosen to build into their TOS protections for individual designs so if you want to do business in this side of things doing it on FA is a good idea. It gives you and your buyer the most protections. (though be aware FA can't stop someone from copying/unathourised use of a sold design, they can just stop that person from using FA to do so)

Edited at 2017-03-01 03:18 pm (UTC)
Mar. 1st, 2017 11:21 pm (UTC)
There an actual TOS for this on FA? That's a shock. Can you link me.
(no subject) - malibupuppy1997 - Mar. 3rd, 2017 02:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - scourge8574 - Mar. 3rd, 2017 03:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Mar. 3rd, 2017 03:01 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Mar. 3rd, 2017 03:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 1st, 2017 05:46 pm (UTC)
I've bought a couple of adoptable critters, and most of them have been pretty relaxed about what goes on with them. The most common restrictions I think I've seen in general are asking to let the artist know if the design changes hands, and, of course, the 'no selling for more than you bought the thing for (unless there's additional art involved)'. I believe one or two of the adopts I bought fell under these criteria, but I have no plans to resell anything ever, so it's not really something I have to worry about.

That said, I'd never buy from someone who threatened to revoke designs (LOL, good luck, dude), or who had a list of requirements beyond, like, three or four things. I have no wanting to get involved with folks who have overwhelming control issues.

Regarding design rights - honestly, it's not legally protected, and I don't believe it should be. Once you let that design go out into the wild (selling it, obviously, not just displaying it), welp, that's it. If an artist cares that much about something they've created, they just shouldn't sell it, because once it hits someone else's hands they nearly always end up putting their own stamp on the design, whether it's in characteristics/personality/history/etc (from a roleplaying perspective), or through new pieces of art. Saying that all of that work should just vanish into the night, if the artist wants to stop a person from using the design, is just super shady.
Mar. 3rd, 2017 02:55 am (UTC)
Agreed, I've never been too fond of artists in general who had very strict rules or no refund policies or like if you're rude to me I'll just keep the money and block you.

I've seen adopt people like this and I'd never buy anything from them and I've actually just seen a fursuit maker who said they would sue you if you used one of the suits you bought from them in a sexual way or fetish thing as damage to their reputation. Which is kind of crazy to me. I agree, once you sell something and give it away, there's no telling where it'll go what will be happen and you take that risk whenever you selling something.

I think it has a lot to do with artists not wanting their reputation to be ruined but I also have a little thing I where I think they actually may be forcing their own opinions on what their designs should be used as a little too much. An opinion is an opinion and a business is a business, you need to be realistic.
I also think that once you buy something you should be able to do whatever you want with it, either that be hardcore stuff, then that's their right. If you're so scared about it, don't sell it as you said. I agree that maybe not letting people take credit for what you did is understandable.

I've also run into artists who won't even let you repost their art onto your profile even with credit. It was the worst. I just don't get why artists have these weird rules. ( art that you commissioned from them I mean, obviously ).

that's my view.

Edited at 2017-03-03 02:58 am (UTC)
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Mar. 3rd, 2017 02:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - malibupuppy1997 - Mar. 29th, 2017 06:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - magedragonfire - Mar. 3rd, 2017 06:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - malibupuppy1997 - Mar. 29th, 2017 06:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Mar. 29th, 2017 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Mar. 1st, 2017 06:13 pm (UTC)
As a seller, once the design is purchased from me I let it go besides retaining the copyrights to the art. Resell/trade/gift it away, redesign it, draw it in whatever theme you want.. I don't really care and it's too much work to check up on what my buyers are doing with it. Admittedly I'd be upset if a buyer resold the design for more than they bought it for but I'd let it go - and if there was additional art that goes with it then I'd feel less irked about it.

I tend to avoid sellers that attempt to limit/control what the buyer does with the design once it's purchased such as; not allowing the buyer to resell/trade/gift the design, draw/commission the design in certain themes the seller personally dislikes, and/or threatening to confiscate the design with no refund if their TOS isn't followed. I find that incredibly shady.

However, I completely understand not allowing a buyer to resell the design for more than the purchased price. Reselling a design for $50 when its original price was $10 and/or traded/gifted is pretty shitty. In that case the original seller confronting the buyer and/or blacklisting them is perfectly reasonable, though I'm not sure if I agree or disagree with forcibly confiscating the design in this instance (even with a refund, the buyer could just not accept and carry on with reselling).

Getting into the realms of reselling the design + additional art brings it into somewhat of a grey area though and I'd say that's up to the original seller whether to allow it or not. The buyer is more or less reselling the design for more than originally purchased when additional art is tacked on, and the arts' copyright still remains with the artist who made it and thus the buyer is technically making money off of that too.

When in doubt, just ask the original design seller and the artists who created the art.

If a buyer creates additional art/references for the design they purchased, then I'd say they can then resell/trade/gift the design even if the original seller forbids it. The ART of the design stays with the seller/artist and if they don't want a buyer to showcase that art in the reselling process then that's their right.

However, legally-wise the original seller has no trademark/copyright over the DESIGN itself - only the art they've created - so if the buyer creates new art and uses that to showcase the design then the original seller is SOL.

I have no idea how this goes when the seller is using another artist's base though. In some instances I've seen, the original artist makes a base that can be used to make/sell designs - but I'm not sure how the seller can disallow the use of the art in the reselling process as it's technically not their art to begin with (beyond activating some layers and slapping colors inside pre-made lines, but otherwise not actually contributing anything? how does this work?).

All in all, the artist retains copyright of the ART itself but not the design and most things beyond that are on an honor system.
Mar. 2nd, 2017 08:16 am (UTC)
"(beyond activating some layers and slapping colors inside pre-made lines, but otherwise not actually contributing anything?)"

So, hah, okay. Developing a palette, coming up with aesthetically pleasing markings and putting it all together? Is a hell of a lot more effort than just bucket-filling premade lines, or whatever it is you think folks do.

Colouring and design takes just as much artistic talent and effort as drawing lineart, and this idea that colourists just "slap colours inside pre-made lines" without any additional thought is actually kind of offensive.
(no subject) - dragontripmon - Mar. 2nd, 2017 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gatekat - Mar. 2nd, 2017 04:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dragontripmon - Mar. 2nd, 2017 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - venatorrooc - Mar. 2nd, 2017 09:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - spartanwerewolf - Mar. 3rd, 2017 10:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 1st, 2017 07:37 pm (UTC)
As a seller, I keep the rights for the artwork itself, but the only rule I have is that they can't resell my adoptable. Other than that, they can do what they want with it. As far as I'm concerned, I'm selling them a character design that they then own at that point.

I don't really sell any closed species, so I think it's a little easier for me in that regard. I'm not sure what copyright complexities would go into that.
Mar. 1st, 2017 07:39 pm (UTC)
There wouldn't be any copyright complexities. Adoptables and species aren't covered by anything, so you aren't technically selling anything.
Mar. 2nd, 2017 02:45 am (UTC)
IDK a thought I was having a lot about adoptables is reselling adoptables that you've since purchased art on for an increased price - as someone else said, I don't mind people reselling my adoptables, as long as it is at the same value or lower to which they bought it. A counter argument to that is "but I spent all this money on additional art for it and I don't want to lose money on it".

Well. I mean. I guess I'm not the person you should be talking to about this? Talk to the artists you commissioned because you're more or less talking about reselling their art. And as an artist who has done commission work for adoptable characters - it feels weird to think people would be turning around and selling my artwork to someone else. It would be like if I did a portrait for someone of just a regular OC that they stopped using, and someone said, "Hey that looks like my character! Can I pay you to use this art?" to the person who got the commission, and not me the artist who actually did the art and holds the rights to it.

Should adoptables owners who are selling their adoptables with additional art be allowed to sell at a higher value because it includes other artwork besides the reference sheet, when it's not really the adoptable alone they're selling at that point, but the artwork of a variety of artists who still own their art, and did not give them any sort of clear permission to sell the artwork they did too, should they decide to sell the character? Uh. No? In my opinion? Or discuss it with the artist when you commission them.

I guess it comes down to "but I paid for all this art, I should be able to sell the adoptable for more because of the loss" is a completely false statement because in that case you're not selling the adoptable alone, you're selling an art package containing art you don't own the rights to.

If that makes sense?
Mar. 2nd, 2017 02:53 am (UTC)
Except for the part where the seller is only selling the rights that they actually have to the art. Typically the right to post it and say "that's my character" if they also say "art by X".

You gave the buyer those rights when they commissioned you.
Why so much trouble with them selling the rights they do have?

I've never seen a sale that claimed the extra art came with the image copyrights, only the standard rights that always come with commissioned work.
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Mar. 2nd, 2017 02:59 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - gatekat - Mar. 2nd, 2017 10:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2017 10:53 am (UTC)
As a buyer, I can't justify to myself buying anything with any strings attached now. I USE to be in with that whole Closed Species stuff, but at this point in my career I need to have the ability to use my characters for commercial works and not have other artists start a lynch mob set out to destroy my reputation because I used a character that I supposedly "own" for whatever the hell I liked. I have one or two characters left over from those days, because I couldn't part with them, and at least one of them I've redesigned to not be "theirs" anymore, so I'm going to use him for whatever the hell I like and if they get pissy with me... well that's just too bad for them.

As a seller, because of my experience and feelings as a buyer, I allow buyers to do whatever the hell they like with my designs once bought -- with the stipulation that they TELL ME when they intend to sell them / when they have sold them, so that I can keep tabs on who's using my artwork and not jump on somebody for theft. Not that I'm sure I'd even notice if that were the case...

One of the biggest issue I have is that SOME (not all) second-hand buyers think that buying artwork that comes with a character means buying the COPYRIGHT to that character. That's part of the reason I want people to TELL ME when my art exchanges hands with a character: I want to make it absolutely clear to the new owner that I own the copyright to my work. I sincerely hope this becomes basic knowledge soon, but at the moment, Joe Schmoe doesn't have any clue how Copyright works, so it's still something I worry about.
Mar. 2nd, 2017 04:16 pm (UTC)
Copyright does not apply to characters or designs, only to the artwork you drew (or wrote, or sculpted, etc).

The design itself has no legal protection.

I am curious what you believe the copyright on a character means.
(no subject) - zielomizu - Mar. 6th, 2017 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2017 11:30 am (UTC)
Once I sell something I don't care what happens to it so long as my copyright on the art is respected.

I own two adoptables with really stifling "terms" that are not legally enforceable, but I do respect the artist enough to abide by them. I don't purchase adoptables with those kind of rules anymore.

As for resells with large quantities of art? I see it as a great way to boost traffic to my page. Whatever, have fun. That's the whole point of commissioning art and supporting adoptables, right?
Mar. 2nd, 2017 12:47 pm (UTC)
I rarely make adoptables... but I am okay with the buyer gifting it to someone or even reselling, as long as they are not making a profit on my work.
Mar. 2nd, 2017 02:44 pm (UTC)
Occasionally I'll buy adoptables to turn into fursuits, it's just a personal turn-off when artists won't let you slightly edit the design or have a million rules set in place such as "you cannot re-sell the design once purchased." What if someone falls out of touch with the design and paid a good chunk of money for it?
Mar. 3rd, 2017 12:45 am (UTC)
As a seller, I could care less what the buyer does as long as they don't claim the artwork as their own. I feel if I actually cared deeply for the characters I'm giving away, I wouldn't be selling them. I hate having too many restrictions when I buy adopts so I don't add them when I sell them.

I'm pretty easy going with things and don't like to police over my artwork everyday.
Mar. 5th, 2017 05:24 am (UTC)
As a buyer, I look for rules that aren't ridiculously strict. I follow the "let me know if you sell/trade/gift" along with "don't resell more than you bought it." Some have gone through the cracks that say not to reupload the artwork. All I have to do is ask if I can (which always includes credit) and if not, that's fine with me. Some don't even allow resells, just trade or gift, though I only buy adoptables that call to me with TOS like that so that's rare.

As a seller, all I ask is for people not to sell more than they bought/got it for and not to use it commercially mostly due to the base that I used and I have to follow the TOS for it. If one day I do make some for scratch, I'll just say "Please no mass commercial use with my artwork" since it'll be a pain to keep track of everything.
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