Legal Advice regarding WOTC Submissions
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    Legal Advice regarding WOTC Submissions

    I have for some time been planning to make a number of portfolio drops to a selection of companies - while I am fully aware my work will most likely be substandard and little will come of it, but I felt it was prudent to have done so if only to acquire a few contacts or simply to make my presence known. While investigating their site I noted a small disclaimer (Red Flag No.1) and proceeded to read it:

    PLEASE NOTE: By submitting your artwork, you acknowledge that your submission does not create any relationship between you and Wizards that is not expressed herein. Further, you acknowledge and agree that the materials contained in your submission may be identical with and/or similar to materials that Wizards has independently developed, or that has or may come to Wizards from other sources and you agree that you shall not be entitled to any compensation by reason of the use by Wizards of such similar or identical material.

    It would be easy, with only a small amount of creative interpretation to see this as a legal loophole allowing them to claim ideas and concepts from my work without obligation to credit. I'm not claiming I have TREMENDOUS IDEAZ DO NOT STEAL C TM etc. but I am disturbed by the potential for abuse here. Please advise, as I am loathe to email them personally.

    Thanks for any responses in advance.

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    Yeah, I do see your point, though that disclaimer has probably been added to prevent you (general you, not you specifically) from claiming that they stole the work you sent there, since if you send something that coincidentally happens to be similar what they had been working on and then put out, it could be easy to claim that you need to be compensated for that. And though it would also be easy for the company to win, they surely don't want to leave room for lawsuits.
    (Bit like some places can't take suggestions for new things (games/scripts) from people because if the happened later do something similar, the person who suggested the idea could sue them for using their idea.)

    And I'd say that WOTC has the money to buy you and your artwork so easily that there's no need to use such loophole.

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    Don't take this personally, but NOBODY IS INTERESTED IN YOUR CRAPPY IDEAS. You know how, every time a movie/book/whatever gets popular, wingnuts come out of the woodwork claiming that the idea was stolen from them? (see Harry Potter, the Matrix, Twilight, etc.) This is just the company trying to protect themselves against that sort of thing. Their other option (which most movie studios and some publishers have resorted to) is to not accept unsolicited submissions from individuals at all, which certainly isn't preferable from our point of view.

    Last edited by Elwell; May 11th, 2011 at 07:50 AM.

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    Don't be Adrian Toomes.




    Last edited by Psychotime; May 10th, 2011 at 03:51 PM.
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    To put it another way, if you're good enough to steal from, you're good enough to hire.


    Tristan Elwell
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    This is a very standard clause you'll see in a lot of media company's unsolicted submission form agreements. I see it a lot from comic companies, for example. It's nothing to worry about. If you are worried, consider registering your copyrights before you send stuff out.

    You should also know (if you don't already) that the senior AD of Wizards/D&D runs a very active blog & community called ArtOrder, where he makes it extremely easy to ask questions of him. He includes lots of contact info at the bottom of every post, including an email for getting portfolios to him (without having to do a sub agreement). The blog itself is full of fantastic info for what to do if you want to work for him, challenges you can try to get his (and other ADs) attention, and general art-leveling-up goodness. Good luck!

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    Jon's a great guy to work for, too. And a really personable guy. ArtOrder really is a great way to get your work in front of him.

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    Thanks for all the respective reassurances, much appreciated. I already knew that if this was a thief clause I was highly unlikely to be a victim but I just wanted to make sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychotime View Post
    Don't be Adrian Toomes.


    Why.. why would you accuse me of such a thing?

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    Good news! I don't blame you anymore...

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    If a similar disclaimer was on a little company that no one had ever heard of, you might have more cause for concern. In that case your best protection would be to file with the us copyright office so you gain the best protections and have the best recourse should a too similar for comfort idea come from them later.

    For a company like Wizards, which has worked with many talented and well known artists, the risk is minimal.

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