Need Help Dealing With Client Asking Why Artist Wants to Keep Copyright
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Thread: Need Help Dealing With Client Asking Why Artist Wants to Keep Copyright

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    Need Help Dealing With Client Asking Why Artist Wants to Keep Copyright

    There's a client who I believe has little experience dealing with artists. His previous works have been all business books/fliers/whatever. His only work with artists may be related to covers for his books.

    At the start of discussion it was made clear that the project is not work for hire, but when he was reminded that he only retains the license for the work for printing, promotional and advertising he asked why the artist wants / needs to retain copyrights. He's worried that if he doesn't own all the rights he will have trouble with the publisher.

    Assuming it's innocent ignorance and not trying to cheat the artist, how can it be explained with him? What would you tell him to put his mind at ease and explain why an artist would want to keep copyrights? I was looking over the following links to quote or reference, but I don't want to overwhelm him/



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    Well talk to your client and see where they stand on the copyright issue.Plus sending him links and info always helps. You can even send him here to look over the information conceptart has.

    You can bring this up during a friendly chat or email. or you can talk about while doing your pricing for the copyrights. I would ask around a bit more to see what other artists have to say.

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    Well, there is an issue if the publisher needs licensing rights and you haven't granted or sold him the right to sell or transfer the license. Maybe you can compromise by working out some terms that will specifically allow him to 'sell' the artwork to his future publishers?

    One of things I bring up when pressed on the copyrights is simply that I want to know and have some control what my work is being used for, since it's not just work, it's representative of ME.
    That and (at least in California) the fact that if you only sell a license to the artwork there's less sales tax.

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    Can you explain us exactly what you are doing for him? In some industries work for hire is standard and it might confuse him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paramnesia View Post
    He's worried that if he doesn't own all the rights he will have trouble with the publisher.
    Considering that publishers buy non-exclusive rights ALL THE TIME, this shouldn't be an issue. Remember that copyright isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. It can be sliced and diced into almost infinitely small pieces, based on usage, time, geography, etc.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Qitsune View Post
    Can you explain us exactly what you are doing for him? In some industries work for hire is standard and it might confuse him.
    It's an informative, how-to type of comic.

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    I presume that he is paying you poorly. That is the reason to keep your copyright, because you may be able to make some actual money from the project if it takes off, and he is not paying you well enough to pass up that possibility. If he is willing to pay you more, he can buy the rest of the rights and not worry about it. That may seem harsh to him, but it's nothing personal, that's how artists make a living.

    It's also possible that you should be dealing with his publisher directly. They're more used to this stuff.

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