Pros: Do they take away the rights to your work?
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Thread: Pros: Do they take away the rights to your work?

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    Unhappy Pros: Do they take away the rights to your work?

    I'm a little bothered when I see things on pro's websites like "I just got permission to post these" or "these are the only things I can post because they were published in 'The Art of ________'".

    Essentially, they're doing work for an employer who's paying them for the RIGHTS to their work. I understand that the employer wouldn't want their employee to make money off of that same work because it's sort of like stealing from the company because the company already paid for it. That makes sense. But why should the employer care so much whether the artist displays those same pieces on a personal site only for the sake of displaying them?

    The only reason I can think of for prohibiting display of one's own art is if the artist has done concepts for a game that hasn't been released yet and the company wants some of it to be a surprise or something.

    And I've heard on here "what client wants, client gets" but really does this client have the right to prohibit employees from just showing people their art?

    Is almost every pro bound by these restrictions?

    What percentage of pro's work do they lose all rights to?

    How do employers determine which works artists can "show" and what they can't? Do they tell employees something like "pick your five favorites and we'll let you display them"?

    Is it illegal for pros to show printouts of to people in person (just no "publishing" on sites)? And if they do work for their job on their own personal computer are they not allowed to have the files of their work on it?

    (Come to think of it, these questions apply to other types of illustration as well...)




    If they do control your work this much, it certainly makes this type of work seem less appealing. Like you're more drone-like somehow...

    Last edited by Zirngibism; April 28th, 2008 at 07:39 PM.
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    Each situation is different. You and the client can negotiate any type of agreement that you are both comfortable with. The amount of rights a client might buy can range from permission to publish one image only once (very limited) all the way to full rights.

    But I think the situation you are most likely referring to is the Non-Disclosure Agreement. When an artist writes something like, "Finally I can post these," most likely they couldn't show them before because they had signed an NDA.

    An NDA is used to protect images for an upcoming project from getting leaked. A client wants to control how they release and market their product, so it makes sense that they wouldn't want certain things to leak before the product is ready. Also, a client might not want a competitor to see those images and get an idea of what the new product is.

    MOST contracts will allow you to show the work in your personal portfolio (after the time limit set by any NDA has passed, of course), even if the client buys all other rights from you. But there could be situations where this is not the case, so it's wise to check the contract.

    Last edited by emily g; April 28th, 2008 at 08:08 PM.
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    Elwell is offline Sticks Like Grim Death Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Specifically, what Emily said, NDAs etc.
    In general, it depends. If you're working full time as a salaried employee, the work you do for company projects on company time will be assumed to be work-for-hire. If you're freelancing, the contract for the individual job should spell out exactly what rights are being transferred, and more rights should equal more money.


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    In fact, not only I'm not allowed to post the art I do at work before it gets published, I'm not even allowed to talk about the game I'm working on because it was not announced yet. And I always specifically wrote in my freelancer contracts that I would be able to use the images in my portfolio, just to make sure and avoid problems later on. As a curtesy, I usually consulted with my clients about the timing before posting them however.

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