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    The ConceptArt.Org Independent Artist Philosphy and Biz Thread

    Please, I beg of you, think before you type. This thread will blossom if you do.


    As an independent minded community of artists seeking to create the worlds of others and at the same time, build our own personal dreams, there are some things we must keep in mind.

    Ownership and granting rights fairly:

    1.
    The rights to our work are ours alone, unless sold or granted in explicit written contract, binding in either your or the buyers jurisdiction (where you or they are legally based). The latter binds both parties to the deal. Research your field to see how rights are handled industry wide. Illustrators retaining print rights and original artwork, for example...while a game artist doing work for a company gives that up.

    Unfortunately this first and foremost right of intellectual property ownership is under assail at the government level for the clear purpose of enriching corporations. The pending Orphan Bill enables others to take that which we own, the rights to our work. You see, your rights, which you own, are being granted to others, or in the process of anyway. It is my opinion that the Orphan Bill will pass. The leading art communities, artist organizations and over a hundred thousand artists have put up the fight. It is not over yet...

    This is one example of what the corporate side of the fence will do to get what they want from the creatives they cannot do without. Google the Orphan Bill and decide for yourself. However, those that have legal counsel will be able to gain back proceeds for rights used by others without your permission. For those that do not know. You are looking at 100,000-300,000 or more U.S. dollars to have great attorneys fight pretty much any lawsuit against a party who does not want you to win, even just a small fight.

    Regardless....

    a.)
    You can grant partial rights (right of first printing run only, by the print run--for example).

    b.) You can sell your rights outright (work for hire agreement--entertainment industry specific...or employee based).

    c.) You can license your rights (like Marvel does with it's movies/games/toys, or Mike M. did with Hellboy film rights). These rights can be granted per industry, per use, or even perpetually to any party or group of parties. If only some rights are granted perpetually you would have a partnership of sorts, in that I.P., unless they bought all rights from you and you became an employee. Say that with one breath...phew. Ya follow?

    d.) You can grant those rights for usage promotionally (allowing usage in the magazines if they want to do an interview with you for example).

    e.)
    You have to sometimes fight for your rights. Keeping your art organized by date and type will help you later, should you ever need. Keep record of your work in case you need to fight later.

    2.
    Your work is what creates your independence. Personal work is what you create your own value with. Never sign agreements that state any work you do outside the workplace is owned by your employer. This clause can be negotiated out if you explain that your work is why you are being hired and is what keeps your skill sharp..and that if they want those rights it would be another fee...and that you are happy to consider it. This will usually get them to take that crap out of the document.

    3.
    Get and use an NDA when showing any of your personal work to prospective clients or business partners. Using a mutual non disclosure agreement before beginning any business matters is an absolute fundamental when it comes to you being able to protect your ideas and rights. Businesses and individuals work this way. Non-disclosure agreements are standard company business documents. Be sure all pertinent categories are spelled out. If you are sharing an invention that will change the internet, list the words: internet technology, source code, plans, diagrams, software, hardware etc...If you are sharing a new comic book world with a publisher, list concept art, storylines, characters, and intellectual property as the topics for being discussed. Find an NDA online and you will see where this goes. Is usually near the top. This agreement keeps others from stealing your ideas...or leaking them to others who can.

    ....feel free to add to the list if you so desire and have good things to share.
    Last edited by Jason Manley; November 27th, 2008 at 02:35 AM.


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  4. #2
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    If you have questions, please ask in the thread. If you have a question about terminology and do not understand what I have written, check www.dictionary.com and www.thesaurus.com first and see if you can figure it out. This stuff is like a puzzle and as artists we have to learn to understand it.

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    "For those that do not know. You are looking at 100,000-300,000 or more U.S. dollars to have great attorneys fight pretty much any lawsuit against a party who does not want you to win, even just a small fight."

    So, in other words, Any company could use an artist's work, and it's up to the artist to discover this, and then spend a fortune on a lawsuit that could last years, and has no guarantee of success. Over time, when works are used more and more, it becomes impossible for a single artist to prosecute everyone, and their works are all effectively stolen. Is this what you were saying?

    You know what could be good? A list of abusive companies to watch out for. Or is posting that defamation?

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    i was under the impression this was allready in effect over there in the states...that you have to constantly renew and affirm the ownership of your work, to the extreme that *not* filing suit against violators of your ownership = granting rights of use.
    In the future, everyone will have 15 minutes of privacy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by squidmonk3j View Post
    i was under the impression this was allready in effect over there in the states...that you have to constantly renew and affirm the ownership of your work, to the extreme that *not* filing suit against violators of your ownership = granting rights of use.
    That's trademarks, not copyrights.

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    what's the difference? Trademarks are for slogans?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    what's the difference? Trademarks are for slogans?
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/trademark

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  12. #8
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    Thank you Craig. Okay, here's a question. Say I create a graphic novel. It's got it's own setting, characters, names, the works. What do I need to do to protect my work? In order to copyright something, do I need to apply anywhere? Should I also make trademarks for the name of my comic/world/characters? What all's required to protect my work?

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    Copyright works differently in different countries, but in countries that operate under the Berne Convention (which includes Slovakia), any work you create is automatically protected under copyright. In some countries you can register your work to receive further protection, such as the ability to sue for statutory damages if the copyright is infringed upon.



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    if you do research on google. plz post your findings for others.

    If you are building a world, like a graphic novel, I would suggest registering your trademarks and copyrights in the regions of the world you wish to do business in at the very least. Get your key regional domains too...
    Last edited by Jason Manley; November 28th, 2008 at 08:25 AM.

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    Here’s what the President of the Graphic Artists’ Guild had to say on that point:
    I don’t think Orphan Works is going to have a dramatic influence on
 how we do business, but I hope it has awakened us all to the importance
of tending to business issues. If we as a community invested a fraction
 of the energy we’ve expended on an apocalyptic vision of Orphan Works
 into protecting our own creations, protesting unfair contracting 
practices or writing letters to low-paying publishers, we’d be in a far better market position than we are today. The fact is that we give
away more in the every day practice of our businesses than the
 government could ever take from us.
    ~M
    Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional
    I am The Choosen One!
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    So lets say I was marketing in America. What's required there for trademark/name protection, and what's the process?

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    US Trademarks: http://www.uspto.gov/go/tac/doc/basic/
    US Copyrights (with online registration): http://www.copyright.gov/

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    Hey Jason, one question for you if I may.

    How do you feel about showing non-watermarked, fairly high resolution images online, especially if the Orphan Bill passes? Does this mean everyone needs to go underground to protect their rights?

    Thanks!
    Senior Concept Artist - BioWare

    My opinions do not represent those of my employer

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    Alright, before I get thoroughly confused on some government websites, can someone just answer a couple questions?

    1. If my work is outomaticalled copyrighted to me just by my making it. Why do I need to register it with a US office?

    2. What exactly needs to be trademarked in a graphic novel?

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    uhm...the trademarks

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    I’m British (in case you didn’t notice) and have emailed all the papers including the rags, also did a couple of politicians and an art critic I know about the orphaned works bill a while back - all without any reply. The main thing that worries be is where the buck stops, because if I upload on a US server I might have to register, but what happens if I upload on a UK server? Then you have cases like LJ, which is on US servers but owned by Russians. The whole thing is a huge mess if every country follows the US and wants registration.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikko K View Post
    How do you feel about showing non-watermarked, fairly high resolution images online
    You...should not be doing that ANYWAY.

    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    Alright, before I get thoroughly confused on some government websites, can someone just answer a couple questions?
    The gov websites are actually extremely straight forward and easy to get answers from.

    1. Your work is automatically copyrighted to you BUT if you must take someone to court for stealing it you must PROVE it was yours first. Copyrighting things with the govt makes that easy.

    2. Uh...logos, unique titles or character/place names? Haven't some companies tried registering characters images themselves as trademarks? I know less about that process...

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  26. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    Alright, before I get thoroughly confused on some government websites, can someone just answer a couple questions?
    You should really check out the source first, and then ask any question if you are confused.
    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    1. If my work is outomaticalled copyrighted to me just by my making it. Why do I need to register it with a US office?
    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/fa...html#automatic
    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    2. What exactly needs to be trademarked in a graphic novel?
    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/fa...al.html#patent

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikko K View Post
    Does this mean everyone needs to go underground to protect their rights?
    The best way to protect your rights is to be as visible as possible. Post your work everywhere, and attach it to your name as often as possible. It's easier to get away with stealing from an obscure artist nobody has heard of than it is from a well known one that everyone recognizes.

    Going underground will only hurt your business. You'll never get noticed without putting your work out there.


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    Why must other countries follow this?? That's obscenely selfish if every other country must fall in line by US standards......

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    Follow what?

  32. #23
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    Tristan Elwell
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    This is useful stuff. Thanks to Jason and others for links and explanations.

    I've had some worrying issues on the receiving end of IP provisions in employment contracts, it's hard to get specific advice on these issues without spending a small fortune.

    I thought this might help UK CAers, essentially a UK equivalent of some of the links posted so far:
    http://www.ipo.gov.uk/whatis.htm

    And a question - How does the Orphan works bill not conflict with the Berne convention? Or perhaps this should be what are the implications for the convention if the bill is passed???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Manley View Post
    3.[/B] Get and use an NDA when showing any of your personal work to prospective clients or business partners. Using a mutual non disclosure agreement before beginning any business matters is an absolute fundamental when it comes to you being able to protect your ideas and rights. Businesses and individuals work this way. Non-disclosure agreements are standard company business documents. Be sure all pertinent categories are spelled out. If you are sharing an invention that will change the internet, list the words: internet technology, source code, plans, diagrams, software, hardware etc...If you are sharing a new comic book world with a publisher, list concept art, storylines, characters, and intellectual property as the topics for being discussed. Find an NDA online and you will see where this goes. Is usually near the top. This agreement keeps others from stealing your ideas...or leaking them to others who can.
    When exactly is it appropriate to use an NDA?
    For example as an editorial illustrator, would you bust one of these out before any conversation with a client, because i was taught that that was all fair game, kinda like an interview then you take out a quotation...
    Or is this more of a production industry thing? Sometimes when submitting initial ideas and bidding on a job i always get a little suspicious that even though i didn't get it, my ideas my still be used... i suppose thats just how it is for people starting out?
    [

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taj View Post
    When exactly is it appropriate to use an NDA?
    For example as an editorial illustrator, would you bust one of these out before any conversation with a client, because i was taught that that was all fair game, kinda like an interview then you take out a quotation...
    Or is this more of a production industry thing? Sometimes when submitting initial ideas and bidding on a job i always get a little suspicious that even though i didn't get it, my ideas my still be used... i suppose thats just how it is for people starting out?
    I've never heard of an NDA for an editorial job. However, if you're at the point where you are showing sketches, you should have actually have the job, and if the client ends up not using your work (either at the sketch or finish stage), you should get a kill fee. You should never be submitting ideas with a bid for an editorial job. As a matter of fact, bids are pretty much unheard of for that kind of work.
    Last edited by Elwell; November 29th, 2008 at 10:18 PM.

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  38. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    ...1. If my work is outomaticalled copyrighted to me just by my making it. Why do I need to register it with a US office?...
    It's only officially registered if you've filed the copyright. You can declare it for free, but it's more complicated to prove ownership without it being officially registered. It's like saying you own your car, but you lost the pink slip.

    NDAs are used all the time for work that is in development for whatever reason. Game companies use them constantly, toy companies or packaging designs also, and I've often been required to sign them for projects that have not yet been published.
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    so am living in Pakistan, work posted on forums by me is under whose protection and what do I have to do to protect my work from appearing on t-shirts.

  40. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    I've never heard of an NDA for an editorial job. However, if you're at the point where you are showing sketches, you should have actually have the job, and if the client ends up not using your work (either at the sketch or finish stage), you should get a kill fee. You should never be submitting ideas with a bid for an editorial job. As a matter of fact, bids are pretty much unheard of for that kind of work.
    From my experience NDA's are the most legally unenforceable documents signed during the contracting process. In today's legal world they exist mainly for formality sake and only provide a false sense of security for the author.

  41. #30
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    That is absolutely not true Undertow. In truth, you cannot easily win a case of breached confidentiality/intellectual property theft without it. Agreements are always only as good as the lawyers and legal abilities at your disposal. However, without the agreements you pretty much will not win easily in civil court unless criminal laws have been broken.

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