I am a trained biologist who has always done artwork alongside my
science studies, research, and publications, and I have recently been
contracted to write an online marine ecology course and draw several
illustrations for that course as well as others for the same company.
I am VERY new to the world of professional illustration, copyright and
licensing (is there a good introductory resource out there?), but I've
been reading several recent posts here and doing some searching in the
archives and came across some contract wording that made sense to me
specifically regarding the illustrations, and asked the company to
amend the contract (which was signed originally regarding the written
course content). FYI they are paying me an hourly rate for the
illustrations (currently $35 per hour, the illustrations take from 1-4
hours to complete using illustrator).
This is what I asked to add:
The Artist grants the company unlimited usage in all future projects,
with the exception that the art files may not be resold or distributed
to third parties for reuse.
All rights not expressly granted above are retained by the Artist,
including, but not limited to, all rights in sketches, comps or other
preliminary materials, original artwork, and unlimited rights to
license the images, image components, or altered images to other
clients, and for portfolios.
And this was their response:
The nature of 'work for hire' is such that the results of the work is
by virtue assigned to the company. If you were able to license the
illustrations to other entities, it would mean that we are paying you
to develop materials that you can sell to other entities. This logic
doesn't hold for independent contract work. The same would be the case
if you were an employee. Please reference paragraph 5 of our agreement.
WORKS FOR HIRE. Contractor agrees that the Services and all tasks,
duties, results, inventions and intellectual property developed or
performed pursuant to this Agreement are considered ?works for hire?
and that the results of said work is by virtue of this Agreement
hereby assigned to the Company and shall be the sole property of
Company for all purposes, including, but not limited to, copyright,
trademark, service mark, patent, and trade secret laws. Contractor
agrees to take any further action reasonably requested by the Company
to evidence the Company?s exclusive ownership of such property.
As such, we are not able to amend the contract to reflect the wording
you have suggested. Having said that, we do not intend to sell the
illustrations whatsoever and I do hereby grant permission for you to
use the illustrations as part of your portfolio. Please keep in mind,
however, that all copyrights and intellectual property belongs to the
Any insight into whether they are correct, and this is how contract
work is typically done or whether I should retain more rights than
they are willing to allow would be most helpful.
L Jordan, PhD
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