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Copyright Assignment Contract?


tubby34

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Hey fellas (and ladies),

I just finished a project for a member of a band, with the assumption it was for private use. The bandmember just contacted me and wants to negotiate the rights to use the image I've created (its a wordmark for their band, but I thought it was for their private home as a memento).

They have sent over a "Copyright Assignment" contract over.

What should I expect as compensation now that the terms have changed. I originally created the artwork on canvas for $80, but now they want the rights to reproduce and profit from the image.

I told them they can use the image as they see fit if in limited cases with an expiration of 2014, but I have the feeling they may have a lawyer and they are attempting to get the image as cheap as possible.

I haven't read their contract, but I'd like opinions of what the use of its image should be worth, and if there is a copyright assignment contract available that would have an expiration date built into it,

I feel they took advantage of my price and talents, and that they want to profit from this image I assumed was personal.

Any help is appreciated. They want the canvas tommorrow, at which time they will pay me the $80 for the Canvas and the signed Copyright Assignment contract. I feel like telling them the canvas is $80 and the copyright assignment is additional.

Also, should I place anything on the back of the canvas and photograph it to prove my rights to it if needed?

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I'm kind of confused here. You created a logo for private use for a band? Huh? So you created a logo for a band that only the band could see and use but not use to market themselves? Even more lost. I thought the reason for creating logos was to brand something to be marketed to the masses. Maybe I'm wrong on that. So you haven't read their contract that they sent over to you. Well, I think it would be wise to read the contract to know what it says before you should ask on how to proceed. I don't think they are taking advantage of you at all, I think you didn't think this one through and someone they know who's a lawyer explained to them that they can't use the logo you created for them for marketing purposes because that's not in the contract. The truth of the matter is you don't have to give them anything or sign anything, but don't be stupid and walk away, negotiate with them for something better. If it's $80 you agreed on, then negotiate for more, but don't be stupid about how much you are asking for because they'll walk away from you and you'll have nothing but a really dumb feeling and no money.

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What was created was a canvas for the person to put up in their "collection/trophy" room as a way to show they were in that band at one time.

What ended up happening is other members of the band wanted to use it as their defacto logo and ended up sending the copyright assignment.

In it, it stripped all rights I have to claim the logo as my own work- including not being allowed to use it in a portfolio or online album for future employment and no mention of giving credit to me in public or Private.

There also was a clause in it that stated that they have the right to hire an attorney to sign anything on my behalf and upon doing so I have no legal claims or civil claims to the logo.

It also didnt include a line for the band representive to sign, only a line for me and a witness- where if I needed to enforce a loophole in court (I doubt it) I would have no legal ground to stand on, as they didn't sign nor agree to it- but I did.

There was another clause/ passage I didn't like- but I can't remember anymore what it was exactly.

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Don't sign away your rights to include it in your portfolio or claim it as your work. I would license the logo to them, and ask for a percentage of profits made from any materials featuring the logo (stickers, CDs, apparel, albums, anything and everything that the logo appears on) as well as a one time licensing fee of somewhere in the neighborhood of $500.

They basically asked you for something private for themselves. They can't ask you to turn around and abandon the rights to that work without further compensation. I smell cowdung and I say you gouge them for as much as possible.

Sorry, jaded, been-burned-too-many-times-by-small-time-:censored:wads designer here.

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Don't sign away your rights to include it in your portfolio or claim it as your work. I would license the logo to them, and ask for a percentage of profits made from any materials featuring the logo (stickers, CDs, apparel, albums, anything and everything that the logo appears on) as well as a one time licensing fee of somewhere in the neighborhood of $500.

They basically asked you for something private for themselves. They can't ask you to turn around and abandon the rights to that work without further compensation. I smell cowdung and I say you gouge them for as much as possible.

Sorry, jaded, been-burned-too-many-times-by-small-time-:censored:wads designer here.

It's ok- i drafted a contract in response with what I felt was fair, and a expiration on its use.

They thought I slapped them across the face.

I don't think ill let them use it- personally I want to chuck it in the trash but now we both know they'll just go ahead and get someone to redraw it if they really liked it.

I'll see what I can get, but I'm not sure it's moral to ask for more now that I think about it- but I will make sure they will pay more if they want to strip my rights to the canvas- that really irked me and made me question if that was typical.

Thanks for the help, I'll check to see what they counter and maybe I'll post it up.

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I definitely wouldn't give up my rights to the logo. Perhaps ask that you be credited for its design in the liner notes of any albums using it, and a formal statement from the band acknowledging that you created it (so that if on the odd chance they become famous, they can't be like "Oh, Joe Guitarist came up with that wicked band logo back in 2012" in their autobiography.

I don't think I'd ask for any cut of profits or sales, though, just because it would likely be more pain than it's worth for you to make sure they're on the up-and-up. Just an up-front fee and an annual 'bonus', then an expiry on their rights to use it a few years down the road. That way, if they do become famous or something, you can always renegotiate.

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It's absolutely moral to ask for more. The request has changed, and thus, the price should too. Think of it like a song. You can download a song for personal use for 99 cents. But if you want to use that song in a movie, or in a commercial, you must pay an extra fee.

You gave them a logo at a price comparable to the use (personal). If they want to use it other than how originally intended, they must pay a greater fee. They should be able to relate to that analogy, being a band.

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It's absolutely moral to ask for more. The request has changed, and thus, the price should too. Think of it like a song. You can download a song for personal use for 99 cents. But if you want to use that song in a movie, or in a commercial, you must pay an extra fee.

You gave them a logo at a price comparable to the use (personal). If they want to use it other than how originally intended, they must pay a greater fee. They should be able to relate to that analogy, being a band.

Didn't even think of it that way, quite frickin true.

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There are several things I don't understand here.

1. They essentially want to "buy" the logo from you, meaning just like any other piece of property that someone buys, you wouldn't own it anymore or have any rights to sell it again or use it for anything. I don't think that is an unreasonable request when someone is paying you for your work. I do think it is reasonable for you to stipulate that you can include it in your portfolio - but they are just protecting themselves buy purchasing all other rights to it.

2. Expiration date? License? Come on - who are you? Why on earth would a band "license" someone else's logo to use? They don't want that hassle or expense for something they could just get from someone else. Let's be honest here - no matter how good your work was, the band is what's going to sell the shirts, and unless it's one of those rare transcendent designs, jf the band is good they could sell anyone's shirt. I would laugh hysterically if I'm some dude in a band and someone came at me like that - especially if that someone isn't a bona fide pro designer or member of a firm (which based on your questions here, I'm assuming you're not.)

3. Know your client. While I think it's reasonable to want points or a percentage of sales, just based on what I've read on here and from talking to designers, that's just not realistic in most cases - not that it doesn't happen though. If it's a local cover band or garage band or something, it's not like they have a merchandising department or accounting department that can figure this all out - they'll just sell the shirts for cash and keep said cash in a burlap sack (in essence at least.) You do deserve more than your $80, but get realistic - while there's always the "risk" that they become the next big superstars and make millions while using your logo that you made $200 from, the probability is pretty low and at least you'll have $200 (or whatever you negotiate.)

4. They paid you $80 for a "non-commercial" logo, so at least they recognized that your time was worth something. They then came to you to discuss using it for a purpose other than it's original intended use, which is honorable (or at least better than a lot of people would do) and even went to the length to get a real contract from a real lawyer (as opposed to just scribbling some stuff down on paper.) I'd say that they're doing everything right here, and you're not responding in kind.

Just based on what I've read here. Of course there could be other facts that change this.

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There are several things I don't understand here.

1. They essentially want to "buy" the logo from you, meaning just like any other piece of property that someone buys, you wouldn't own it anymore or have any rights to sell it again or use it for anything. I don't think that is an unreasonable request when someone is paying you for your work. I do think it is reasonable for you to stipulate that you can include it in your portfolio - but they are just protecting themselves buy purchasing all other rights to it.

2. Expiration date? License? Come on - who are you? Why on earth would a band "license" someone else's logo to use? They don't want that hassle or expense for something they could just get from someone else. Let's be honest here - no matter how good your work was, the band is what's going to sell the shirts, and unless it's one of those rare transcendent designs, jf the band is good they could sell anyone's shirt. I would laugh hysterically if I'm some dude in a band and someone came at me like that - especially if that someone isn't a bona fide pro designer or member of a firm (which based on your questions here, I'm assuming you're not.)

3. Know your client. While I think it's reasonable to want points or a percentage of sales, just based on what I've read on here and from talking to designers, that's just not realistic in most cases - not that it doesn't happen though. If it's a local cover band or garage band or something, it's not like they have a merchandising department or accounting department that can figure this all out - they'll just sell the shirts for cash and keep said cash in a burlap sack (in essence at least.) You do deserve more than your $80, but get realistic - while there's always the "risk" that they become the next big superstars and make millions while using your logo that you made $200 from, the probability is pretty low and at least you'll have $200 (or whatever you negotiate.)

4. They paid you $80 for a "non-commercial" logo, so at least they recognized that your time was worth something. They then came to you to discuss using it for a purpose other than it's original intended use, which is honorable (or at least better than a lot of people would do) and even went to the length to get a real contract from a real lawyer (as opposed to just scribbling some stuff down on paper.) I'd say that they're doing everything right here, and you're not responding in kind.

Just based on what I've read here. Of course there could be other facts that change this.

Well, the two issues I had was the part where it says they will hire their own lawyer to represent me and I would lose all claims to the logo. They also made no mention of giving me the credit when the logo was used AND the kicker was the portfolio thing.

Those were the biggest concerns, afterwards I was concerned if I was being taken advantage of based on the price compared to similar work.

The copyright assignment seems to have been written by a labels lawyer, based on the wording and their express desire to have certain language in it for "FUTURE" opportunities, their words not mine.

My belief, they needed a logo to copyright and the label they have or will sign with assigned them a lawyer on their staff to handle the copyright and the purchase of the logo/copyrights.

I got them to include the right to use it in my portfolio, to eliminate the lawyer portion and to ensure credit is given when it's used on anything other than merchandise for sale along with my signature to hopefully lead to future work.

My biggest issue is the whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way.

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Sounds more reasonable, but is "credit" usually something that's worked in to these things? I have no idea who designed the Phillies logo because it's property of the team and they don't put the artist's name next to it. I would imagine it's that way in most cases.

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Logos no, pretty much never. For A illustration or painting signatures are frequently part of the work but for album covers its hit or miss.

As for the cut of sales, I don't think that happens much. It's never been a part of anything I've done or I've never even thought of it. Something like that seems scamy. That's why fees are higher the bigger the project.

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Sounds more reasonable, but is "credit" usually something that's worked in to these things? I have no idea who designed the Phillies logo because it's property of the team and they don't put the artist's name next to it. I would imagine it's that way in most cases.

I don't believe it is, however when they attempted to eliminate any of my claims to the work even in my own portfolio i felt the need to push for it in the contract language.

And to be honest, I wish I knew who created what in MLB, and the NFL.

Then I'd know where to send my hatemail too for the Dolphins next logo.

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