Watch out for the “Sneaky Contract” – Biz of Art Tip #565

The Sneaky Contract: About a year ago we got a call from a large beer company in the U.S. They asked if Drew would paint a surfboard that they were going to give away for charity at one of the major surf contests. We agreed to $2,500. They would supply the board and cover shipping back & forth. All was good until…….they e-mailed me a contract……

The contract stated that the Co. would keep the rights to the artwork, “in perpetuity” and that all rights are transferred to Coors, etc. etc. Now as a rule 100% of the time, Drew never signs away his copyrights.

Perplexed, I called them and said look, you don’t need the rights because all you’re doing is giving the surfboard away to charity.

That’s when their real intent came out – they were planning to use Drew’s art for 50 surfboards (mass produced) for POP in-store displays and for t-shirts!

Wow, that really changed the deal. Imagine signing your rights away, then walking into a liquor store 6 months later and finding YOUR ART and YOUR NAME plastered on beer POP displays without your knowledge!?

We were okay with doing a LICENSING deal, which is where they PAY you for the usage (and you have right to approve everything before it’s produced), but we couldn’t come to an agreement on price.

They ended up hiring some other artist who was willing to sign their contract do the art – which by the way, it never made it on POP displays or anything else because being an amateur, he didn’t deliver what they needed.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Never sign anything unless you know what it is and you are 100% comfortable with it.

If you want your name to be known as an artist, and you are a career artist, you have to have control over your art, 100% of the time.

If you give control of it over to someone else, (even just one image) they can make you look bad when you find it all over Wal-Mart or on a Porn site, and now your value has decreased!

I want you to be successful! To learn more about contracts and art & pricing, get yourself the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines. You may even want to join the Graphic Artists Guild – you get the book free if you join.

Now, go make good choices!

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About Maria Brophy

During the last decade, acting as agent and brand manager, Maria has successfully built Drew Brophy’s lifestyle artist brand through licensing and special projects.

Maria writes a blog that helps other creative people to design the life of their dreams, too. Hop on over to Maria's blog at MariaBrophy.com

Comments

  1. groovin’ on your site, wish i could get mine finished but recent hurricanes on gulf coast have left me on unemployment and the on dole… so i stay fish and surf all da time now. alohas, rhino

  2. hey maria, you might want to take away the volume on the clip of “Shane” paint.. if you listen to the lyrics that song is kinda innappropiate for the audience that may be viewing your site. just tryin to look out for ya. talk to you soon!