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RIGHT TO WORK Contracts & Copyright, What it Means for Artists


RIGHT TO WORK Contracts & Copyright, What it Means for Artists

(mostly in this blog I'm talking about children's books)

 Earlier this week on Facebook,  there was a discussion from an artist about taking work for hire work as an illustrator and whether or not she could ask for royalties, it was/is a great discussion, but it did get side tracked and turned into a conversation on copyright.

I am just sharing information.

 One of the persons in the conversation said that artists automatically keep the copyright and just look in any book on the shelves-those are NOT "work for hire" books, they are from big publishers and yes that is the case, artists do retain the copyright. It is standard for artists to retain copyrights, but if an artist is signing a "work for hire" contract they do need to add in a "right of use" clause or just have a right of use contract instead of the work for hire.

I am talking specifically about WORK FOR HIRE here, not traditional publishing.

There are exceptions to every rule, and yes many authors and illustrators pair up and work together for splits, that is their choice, but for illustrators working for flat rates, for hire, etc.. they do need to know that they need to have this clause in there, or they will not hold the copyright.

It's just like working for a big company like Disney, etc-here is a link about the law-this is worldwide, not just in the USA.

I am sharing this information not to be a know it all, but just sharing so both authors and illustrators understand.

I didn't know any of this until about my 5th book and my author said, "you signed a work for hire, so I own all the drawings." I did get credit from her, but she was the first one who told me what "work for hire" meant in that way.

 I posted about it on my FB personal page and about 60 other artists confirmed my worst nightmare, that I did NOT own the copyright anymore.

So now I do "right to use" so I don't get burned, it works well. If I let the copyright go, then I charge a lot more; unless of course this is work on an existing property.

All of this information can be found with a little time and Google. The Writers and Illustrator market books are also good, and the SCBWI, and the Graphic Artist Guild. I apologize to anyone if my comments offended anyone, as that is never my intention. I just want to share what I've learned. Thanks so much and I hope this helps clear it up. http://worksmadeforhire.com/ I'm in the US so I am posting the US one, but in that other thread I posted one about world wide copyright.

It's a very tricky thing for artists and we all need to be aware. Just read your contracts thoroughly before you sigh. Most authors have no problems with the "right to use" clause.  ;)

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