Is this normal in a contract?

  • Thread starter Magicpaintbrush
  • Start date

Magicpaintbrush

Magicpaintbrush

New Member
#1
Hi, I'm hoping someone can shed some light on this contract I've been sent from a potential client. I've worked as an Illustrator for 4 years and never come across such a draconian contract before.

1 - They are insisting that they want to buy the copyright to any illustrations I do for them, which I am really reluctant to do.
2- there is a clause in the contract stating that if at the end of the contract they want any revisions to the illustrations they must be made within 3 days, but surely the time needed to do this would depend upon how much needed changing?
3 - does the following clause mean that they expect me to hand over the original paintings " Publisher shall be the sole author of the Artwork and any work embodying the Artwork pursuant to the United States Copyright Act, and the sole owner of original materials embodying Contributor’s Work, and/or any works derived from the Artwork. " If it does then I'm not prepared to do that.
4 - apparently I'm only allowed to showcase 3 of the illustrations from this 32 page picture book in my portfolio upon completion of the project which I am very unhappy about, it seems like a very small amount for all of the hard work I will have done, no other client has ever asked this of me.
5 - the following clause sounds unclear to me in terms of what I would be paid if they decide to stop the work at any point "Upon termination by Publisher, Artist shall be entitled to retain all amounts paid through termination as a kill fee," - that isn't clear to me. I would normally say 25% after sketches, 50% after final drawings and 100% upon delivery of final artwork.

Can anybody help please? I don't want to turn this work down as I am out of work currently and struggling. Thank you.
 
Wardy

Wardy

Well-Known Member
#2
Most of us are in the UK so things may be slightly different over here. You can sell the copyright to your work,
but they MUST pay extra of course. You can always just sell the 'rights' to use your work elsewhere, but again, for an extra cost.
That way you can keep your originals too. The 3 illustrations only limit does seem odd. The last clause I don't understand - of course you can keep what you've already received.
It probably just means they can cancel the contract when they want.

It just sounds like they want to take advantage of young and inexperienced artists and make as much money as they can. It really comes down to how much you need the work,
but you can always try and negotiate.
 
Magicpaintbrush

Magicpaintbrush

New Member
#3
Thanks for your reply, it's much appreciated. I am in the UK, in Kent, but I do seem to get a lot of work from the US, I'm not sure why. I'm glad it's not just me who is puzzled by the wording of the 'kill fee' clause.

So if I did sell them the copyright would they have automatic rights to the originals?
 
Wardy

Wardy

Well-Known Member
#4
I suppose so, if they ask for them. Otherwise, you can keep them and show them on your site I guess, but you
can't try and sell them again. Unless you can alter them significantly, but just be careful. I would just take the money and bite the bullet,
but not without trying first to get more money out of them.

If you're unsure about anything regarding copyrights, contact DACS, you should join anyway.
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
#5
Thanks for your reply, it's much appreciated. I am in the UK, in Kent, but I do seem to get a lot of work from the US, I'm not sure why. I'm glad it's not just me who is puzzled by the wording of the 'kill fee' clause.
That's just a term for calling off the project by the client for whatever reason and you get to keep whatever has been paid to you at that point.

So if I did sell them the copyright would they have automatic rights to the originals?
Sounds like it.

The "3 day" thing sounds a bit odd though as not everything can be done in that time. As is the three pieces of work you can display?

You have to remember that these contracts are a 'one size fits all' kind of thing and they're just trying to cover every eventuality but in their favour.
Usually the bigger the company, the tighter the contract.
I've had so sign some pretty unfriendly contracts and NDA's before and some state that I can't even say that I worked for the company at all.
 
Magicpaintbrush

Magicpaintbrush

New Member
#6
Thank you, I appreciate your advice. I think I will have to query a few things and hope that they are able to accommodate some changes in the contract, but if not I can't afford not to take the job on so I will have to suck it up. Particularly not happy about the idea of giving up the originals.
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
#7
That's just sometimes how it is I'm afraid. :(
Their way or the highway.

You could try and argue the points but I doubt you'd get anywhere personally.

When I was an employee at a greetings company they brought in a new contract that stated they owned everything I created, at the company or otherwise in the Designs And Inventions clause.
I was doing some freelance in my own time which they knew about so you could imagine how complicated that could have been.
 
Magicpaintbrush

Magicpaintbrush

New Member
#8
Oh my goodness, that must have made you feel like they owned you! That's a horrible position to be in.

It is so tough working in a creative field, and so much more complicated than people think.
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
#9
Oh my goodness, that must have made you feel like they owned you! That's a horrible position to be in.

It is so tough working in a creative field, and so much more complicated than people think.
LOL! It was.
They said "Well, we'd never enforce it" but it wasn't worth the risk.
That was when I decided to go Freelance. ;)

It seems to be getting more and more complicated around the legalities of creative ownership and you've only to do a search here on the forum to see.
You need to be part creator and part Copyright Lawyer.

I never signed up for all this shit. :D
 
Magicpaintbrush

Magicpaintbrush

New Member
#10
I know what you mean. I just want to do the artwork - all of this legal stuff makes my brain ache!
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
#11
Same. :(

It's just how it is but there are places out there where we can get info and are designed to protects a creators rights like Wardy suggested.

I find with the big guys, it's their way or nothing which is just a yes/no choice that you have to suck up but when you come to smaller concerns then that's where you can end up negotiating your rights.
 
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