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Subject: Legal / Contract / Payment Questions rss

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Stephen Smith
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In the attempt to procure the paid talent of various artists for a new card game, I find myself wondering if there is a preferred method of establishing a contract with an artist. I refer not only to the legal paperwork but payment as well. Do standard "work for hire" documents" frighten off artists? Is there a standard agreement that you all pass around and generally agree on? How does use of the image that I've paid for work when it seems fair that they should be able to use it in a portfolio as well? What, in your opinion, would be the best way to go about this? Also, is there a preferred payment system used? Paypal? Etc.
 
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Scott Westgard
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Well I can only speak for myself, but I prefer to have a contract before entering any large scale endeavor. Work for hire artwork is the property of the company or person who hired the artist, the artist may negotiate the right to use the artwork as examples in a portfolio (which is perfectly reasonable in my opinion). However some artists may wish to sell the artwork as signed prints (perhaps at a convention), in this case more negotiation should be included in the contract. Standard contracts are available online.

One thing to make sure to include is a non-compete and/or non-disclosure agreement as well, so the artist does not give away any game and/or image secrets before the game is published.

As far as payment, PAYPAL takes a % away from the receiving party. Most artists would like to see a check in the mail. Also be sure to outline how and when the artist will receive payment in the contract.

Be careful in the contract to establish a fair rate, and establish what happens if the artwork is not completed on time, or is not what you originally expected. Revisions take time, so make sure you know what you are going to get with initial examples and sketches (which some artists such as myself may provide for free or at a reduced rate to compete for the job.)

-good luck! meeple
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Stephen Smith
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Thank you for the very useful information and for taking the time to respond.
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Odysseus Stamoglou
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Greetings, interesting points.
A contract, or any additional form of agreement would be considered as a serious sign that you are serious about your project, and not trying to 'lure' artists to do work for less, or even for free.
In my experience as a freelance artist so far, I had projects with and without contract.

Even without contract, if you want to be clear and typical with your communication, a pdf where you describe your terms and make clear what you require will suffice and prevent misunderstandings.

As a default, an artist owns the copyrights of his/her work, and the right to display and use it. When you hire an artist to make artwork for your game, you are getting the rights to use these artworks in the specific project.
You can ask to buy the copyrights of the image. But it is something that costs, and you wouldn't want to do it for a simple card game.

Additionally, display of the artworks in your page and the artist's page is a mutual advertisment.

Concerning the payment, this is something that also varies. Paypal should be generally accepted though.

Since not everybody works in the same way, it is always a good idea to send an email to an artist, asking them how they prefer to work.

I hope this helped

All the best,
Odysseas

 
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Jake Staines
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NoodleArtist wrote:

One thing to make sure to include is a non-compete and/or non-disclosure agreement as well, so the artist does not give away any game and/or image secrets before the game is published.


A bit of a tangent, but this is something I've been curious about before. I'm fairly sure that in the UK, it's just plain illegal to give away trade secrets, it doesn't have to be written in a contract for someone to get in trouble for it. Is this not the case in the US?
 
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Scott Westgard
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If it damages the company, a person can be liable for damages. I'm not sure just where the legal line falls however.
 
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