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Topic: How do you price commissioned drawing to include resale?  (Read 941 times)
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~* The Amazing Miss M! *~
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« on: October 28, 2007 06:43:01 PM »

Here's the thing. My guy (whom I refer to as "Love" since years ago I needed something to call him online and that stuck) does custom graphite portraits and such. Well, he just got an email for a publication. They're looking for someone to do 6 or more drawings for them. Each would be turned into a t-shirt. (That would be available for sale for profit from their site.) Normally, when he does a custom drawing for someone, he retains copyright and does not permit any commercial or for-profit use. Generally it's just someone getting their grandkid drawn or their pet. That sort of thing. It never really comes up. But this is different. They specifically want to commission him to do drawings for their publication AND for use in commercial sales. Which is where we're thrown. How do you find out what is a fair rate for this sort of usage? Is there some standard we can refer to? We literally have NO CLUE what to charge for something like that. If a standard drawing is say $100-200 how much do you then add on for usage rights?

Anyone who has any knowledge or references they can point me to would be greatly appreciated. We've just never faced this before and I'm not even sure where to start trying to find out information. We really want the opportunity so we're worried about going too high but at the same time, we don't want to cut ourselves short.

Thanks in advance!
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2007 08:24:52 PM »

A long freakin' contract with Percentage of Sales, and a number of pull-out options, that's what you want.

You want to retain all rights to the original artwork and limit the company to just tee-shirts. If the shirts sell, you could get lithos made & sell them yourself ; ) Retaining your copyright & liscensing them is the most important/ first thing you need to esablish as an independant artist. It's a whole 'nother ball of wax if they want to hire you as part of their company, then the work is theirs- complicated, I know.

You want your work reproduced at the highest quality. Make sure there are clauses in your contract allowing you to require a minimum standard that you set or the right to pull the plug & destroy the existing product if it's sub par.

You want to get paid now AND later.  If it's an established tee shirt vendor, set a price 2, 3 times your standard and find a nice tidy little percent of sales (1%, maybe 2, fractions are kosher) Percent of sales,not profit, sales- that means you get paid for each piece sold, not just after they are making money off said shirts.
If it's a start up company some leeway can be offered, lower initial payment, bigger percent, etc. Know your enemy philosophy here.

 Anecdotal: My brother has a friend from college who became a millionaire over night by working for what was potentially free. The company was starting up & liked his style. He designed their logo for a number of stock shares as the company was planned to go public immediately. So on 'payday' all he had was paper. The company was Google. : ) It's a risk, granted, but in his case it paid off handsomely.

And in all honesty knowing/ finding a decent small business lawyer wouldn't hurt. The simple phrase "let me just run this past my lawyer" makes people inclined to screw you sweat. If they are start up and not organized, it'll set them in the right direction too.

This is really the TL,DR version (for serious). Search small business contracts, anything where a service is provided will get you a good start, take out the plumbing supplies and add education, whatever & work on it.
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