Member Offer
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Work changed without permission

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by humandrawinghand, May 19, 2011.

  1. humandrawinghand

    humandrawinghand New Member

    Hi i would just like a little bit of advice. i did an illustration for a small but well known business a few years back for use, to be put on canvas bags and sold to their customers. I did the job for extreamly cheap. Now i have gone on to their twitter page and the design has been coloured in by someone else and is being used as their profile picture as well as the original drawing being used as part of a wall paper in the back ground.

    Im a little bit bothered by the fact they got some one else to colour in my drawing, and the fact they didnt ask permission. I never agreed to give them the rights to the image only to use it for the bag design.

    Any advice on whether i should be worried about this or is it just fair game on their part?

    heres the link to the original and the modified coloured version

    Pin up by ~humandrawinghand on deviantART

  2. squeezee

    squeezee Member

    Have you asked them about it? Explain copyright to them.
  3. byronc

    byronc Member

    I would be interested to know what the copyright ruke is here,

    i would have thought that if they pais you for a design then the design was theirs? Was it bespoke for them?

    i know that in software - anything commisioned is owned by the commisioner?
  4. squeezee

    squeezee Member

    Absolutely not. Unless there is a contract assigning copyright then it is retained by the artist.
  5. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    This isn't based on anything other than what sounds reasonable to me (which doesn't necessarily tally with strict legality) but I'd say that you sold them the design (however cheaply) and unless you placed contractual limits on its usage at the time it's theirs to do with as they see fit. Other than not doing you the courtesy of asking you if you'd like the colouring-in gig, I can't honestly see that they've done anything wrong otherwise.
  6. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    I'm with squeezee on this...I always throught that unless the designer specifically assigns copyright to the customer in writing, copyright stays with the designer...
  7. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    I don't know if this helps, but in my terms and conditions it states that any artwork is still owned by B Design after job completion. This gives me the green light to use all artwork and completed material in any promotional or marketing material. However, if the client is not happy with this they can inform me in writing that they wish to buy out the artwork in whole. I would then estimate the cost in value to the company / individual. I say 'would' because no-one has ever asked me for this. This then gives them COMPLETE usage and control over the material.

    As far as I know, the ownership always remains with the author unless that is changed between parties. Hope that helps. :icon_smile:
  8. humandrawinghand

    humandrawinghand New Member

    Hey thanks to every one who replied very helpful. basically where iv slipped up is i did not use a contract but then i never specified that i gave away the copyright. I just felt it was a bit cheeky really to not ask me to do the colouring for the peice i created. still unsure wether to say any thing so i think i will just not say anything and learn from my mistake.
  9. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Been mulling this one over a bit and I think this is the distinction I'd make:

    If I commission a designer to produce something bespoke for my company and then pay them, I expect to own it. If, however, I approach a designer to use something of theirs I've seen elsewhere, I expect to have to come to an agreement (e.g. purchase a license or formally transfer ownership) before I'm able to use it (as with commercial fonts, stock photography, etc.). Applying some of the advice above, you conceivably come to a situation - plainly ludicrous, in my view - where unless the designer formally transfers copyright of the design then I'm liable to fall foul of the law by reproducing my own company logo.

  10. humandrawinghand

    humandrawinghand New Member

    Dave interesting points you are making there. It was a bespoke design for the company but it was agreed the design was to be used for a tote bag, no other mention of what else the design could be used for.

    I agree copying their own logo is viable and they may do so, but the design was never commisioned as a logo for the company. It just happenes that the design has been more sucessful than they or i myself originally anticipated and the company has now hired some one else to copy the original design in colour and alter it so they may use it else where to advertise them selfs, and they have done so with out even considering me to alter the design, or asking for permission.

    Now some other designer/ illustrator who copied the design is now getting credit for what was originally my drawing and what i consider to still own copyright to as it was never stated that i hand over the copyright to the image as i wanted the use of it to advertise my own portfolio.

    "Copyright applies to original artistic works such as paintings, drawings, engravings, sculptures, photographs, diagrams, maps, works of architecture and works of artistic craftsmanship".

    Copyright for Commissioned Work

    Unless stated, you the artist will have copyright on any commissioned work you produce. The person commissioning you can of course request the copyright to the finished work, which would also include rights to reproduce the work for sales of prints or merchandise.

    i found these on a web site

    Tutorials › Copyright Law for Artists

    Now i think about it if that is the clear case they are in copyright infringment, as it was never agreed to hand over the copyright as i obviously would of asked for more money. So now would this be a good time to sell the copyright?
  11. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    Managed to get a Copyright specialist to put a fact sheet together to sort this out once and for all, will post a link as soon as it is ready.
  12. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Well shut my mouth: sounds like you have a case worth pursuing.
  13. humandrawinghand

    humandrawinghand New Member

    boss hog that would be really worth looking at thank you so much for getting that information i look forward to reading it.

    Dave l i really appriciate your comments but i have re read what i wrote this morning and one thing just one thing stands out in my reply

    "Unless stated, you the artist will have copyright on any commissioned work you produce. The person commissioning you can of course request the copyright to the finished work, which would also include rights to reproduce the work for sales of prints or merchandise."

    I did give them permission to use the drawing to print on tote bags. but does this mean i have given away the copyright to the image in full or just for the use of what was agreed.

    Thanks again to every one contributing. i do think this is an important issue though and one especially for young designers as i was at the time to take note to protect your work as best as possible.
  14. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    I don't think it's that the clients are using logos designed by a designer that is the problem. It's that the clients are accepting them as finished and then having someone else manipulate them at a lower rate.

    As designers we expect the client to use, re-use the work we have completed for them. That is the point of us doing it after all, and any designer with any common sense wouldn't think twice about it. It's when an artwork is changed to assist their financial gain that it becomes a problem.

    I believe that it is right for a client to honour this and if they choose not to they should accept the consequences. It is there to protect us and the work we have put in over the years so that someone who wants to be a 'designer' can't come along with the little knowledge they have and take advantage of us.
  15. humandrawinghand

    humandrawinghand New Member

    any word on that copy right sheet?
  16. byronc

    byronc Member

    I dont understand this, if I pay someone to make me a logo, this is not mine to edit as i want or to pay some one else to edit?

    this is going in the contract....
  17. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    I think it's fair to say that as designers we all work differently. The way I work (and I say that because I can't speak for everyone) is to give the client the option to 'buy' the artwork I have created for them. They came to me for an artwork, I completed that for them, I gave it to them and they can use THAT artwork however or wherever they choose.

    However, the artwork I created for them is the artwork they paid for, meaning that if they want someone to manipulate that logo further then as it is something I created for them to manipulate it they have the right to buy the artwork from me outright. Then they really CAN do whatever they like to it, as I am passing over all / any rights I had to the artwork, even excluding it from our portfolio.

    Without this clause in place it gives the client the opportunity to have an artwork created quickly by a professional and then finished by someone to which they are paying at a lower rate, and also putting a credit to.
  18. Print-365

    Print-365 Member


    Received the latest edition of the FSB's business network magazine this morning and in there was a great article about copyright law.

    The online edition of the magazine can be found here> FSB Publications - 01253 336000

    The pages on the digital version seem to run backwards after the front cover for some reason, but your basically looking for a page with the heading "Beware this complex issue".

    Hope this helps!


Share This Page