The importance of copyright when you are commissioning

Free Resource

Commissioning illustration is a great position to be in – you’re getting the opportunity to select an illustrator, ask them to create something unique for your company, and at the same time supporting the creative industries by financially enabling visual artists.

With illustration fees being based on an industry standard licence (usage of artwork and duration of licence plus territory of use), it’s crucial for illustrators to be commissioned for the appropriate rights and therefore the appropriate fee. This ensures they are able to generate reasonable income from their creative labour and maintain a career in illustration.

Illustrators and commissioners successfully negotiate artwork fees based on a usage licence all the time, but when a client asks for copyright in the commissioned piece but is unwilling to pay for the expanded rights that copyright will give them (possibly offering only a fee for the initial usage of the artwork), the illustrator is placed in a difficult position

They are aware that an assignment transfers all reproduction rights, and that the work could then be potentially used across any number of areas and items without any further remuneration given for those uses. They will miss out financially if a fee offered for copyright in an artwork does not cover all likely potential uses.

Equally, if copyright in a work is assigned and never used beyond the initial commission use, those reproduction rights are effectively warehoused and the illustrator is unable to re-licence the work.

If you are not sure how you might wish to use the artwork you have commissioned in the future, illustrators are always open to relicensing existing artwork when additional uses arise. It’s simply a case of getting in touch and negotiating an appropriate new fee for those uses. 

It’s the best way to ensure everyone in our industry gets a fair deal.

See How To Licence Illustration 

See the AOI Keep Your Copyright campaign


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