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So, I need some advice on this situation. I'm not sure if it warrants an Artists Beware yet, and I'm definitely worried about the artist in question retaliating against me even more severely should the artist find out.

I had commissioned an artist to do a private drawing of my partner and I's characters together. This was to be a fully shaded and rendered commission. From the very first notes I was clear with the artist that I did not want the artwork to be posted in any of their galleries, in any way, shape, or form. The artist agreed to these terms not in just the first reply, but also the second.

I ended up cancelling the commission at the lineart stage due to poor quality work and anatomy.

The exact same day that I cancel the commission, I find the lineart up in the artist's gallery as a YCH auction.

The artist changed the species and appearance of my partner's character but not mine. While the anatomy is so poor that it's probably hard to recognize mine, I was very upset by this and told the artist to remove the image. After confronting the artist I get my partial refund immediately. (The artist said they wouldn't give refunds for "work already done".)

The artist replied saying that the privacy only applied to the *finished* image and so they could "do whatever they want with it". However in no way, shape, or form did the artist ever inform me of that, it seems as though they decided "terms apply to final image only" AFTER I'd decided to cancel it.

I don't really think there's anything I can do at this point. I thought about demanding a full refund, but I feel like that will make the artist even more vengeful and they'll decide to post the other character as well, instead of the placeholder one.

So...was what that artist did out of line? What would you do in my place?

I even thought about paying the artist back, assuming I'd get the "rights" to the image back, but due to how it ended on such a sour note I don't think that's going to work either, and the quality is so awful that I don't want to give that artist a dime more.

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Comments

trunchbull
Jul. 6th, 2017 03:41 pm (UTC)
Just because you were offered a partial refund does not mean you own any of the actual art. The artist did not sell the copyright of the art to you. They are allowed to reuse the lineart so long as your character itself is not profited off of. Even if the image is completed, the artist does have the legal rights to reuse or repurpose the image, and even further profit off of it, as they did NOT sell the copyright to you [and that alone requires a contract to be signed]. Regardless of if it's your character or not, your character is not trademarked [nor will it ever be considering the legal requirements to do so]; however, at that point, it becomes ethically unacceptable most of the time, in the furry community. They do not owe you a full refund, either, as they did do the work, but you requested the refund.

You have every right to request an image takedown, but the artist is under no obligation to take it down, especially seeing as you yourself stated that your character isn't very recogniseable. Nor does the artist actually need to inform you, as again, you don't own the rights to the image. It would have been nice to know, but they have no obligations.

I have used commission sketches that were rejected by the commissioner as YCH slots, and no one has ever commented on who the characters in the sketch may have resembled, for the furry community is a huge place, and there are many characters that end up looking like others.

One can say "but it's not fair/right!" but ethics and morals vary from person to person and regardless of whether you think it's fair or not, the artist hasn't done anything 'wrong', aside from, perhaps, poor communication or poor behaviour in handling the situation. But, seeing as there is no log of your communication with them, one can only assume.

edit: sorry for all the editing, mods :V

Edited at 2017-07-06 03:48 pm (UTC)
depthsofthedrex
Jul. 7th, 2017 12:49 am (UTC)
I understand not being entitled to a full refund, I didn't really want to pursue that anyway despite what happened. The artist still did the work after all, even if it wasn't work I was happy with.

I've commissioned plenty of artists over the last few years and every single one of them has honored my request for certain images not to be posted publicly, or that if it is lineart only, that the character's defining features be removed so that it's just a featureless outline. I don't feel like that's an undue hardship to abide by, and I've even paid higher prices than normal for particular pieces to compensate artists for publicity they may have gotten from having the art on display.

So, I do understand from your post that by strict copyright law / trademark law / etc, I don't have any legal rights to the image. There were a couple of features on the lineart though that could have made someone think, "Hey, I think this is (character)", and that's the main thing I wasn't comfortable with.

I guess more than being an issue of copyright, my main problem with this whole situation was the artist breaking our agreed-upon terms, which to me is very dishonest and in bad form.

((As for communication logs, 99% of the communication was simply discussing the details of the commission, changes, etc, and it was quite lengthy, the key point is we had the agreement...and also that the artist said my refund would "Be made within 7 days", after I'd cancelled the rest of the work. Yet, when I posted the takedown request (the same day), my refund was issued immediately. I don't know, that seemed a bit odd...I wonder if they'd have actually refunded me at all if I hadn't complained.))

Edited at 2017-07-07 12:51 am (UTC)

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