Thank for finding out more details on this project and sharing them here. We will be keeping the announcement up, but have added a statement noting its charitable/donation status.
The counter argument might be - If you have a piece of art that you are not going to sell, or be able to sell, in the commercial market, and is likely not going to hang somewhere after you are dead (ie. end up in the dust bin- it does happen, I have seen it), this would be a way to make sure it is preserved. That is what they are offering.
Is that enough value to participate? Depends on your attachment to the success of the FFI Arboretum's mission I guess. Does a non-profit arboretum assembling a collection of fine art at little cost (as opposed to no collection at all with some price) effect the commercial market? Might be able to argue that either way. I would of course love to see a clear articulation of how it would damage the market in this instance. We would probably include that in any page we develop - with permission of course. ;)
I personally think a modified agreement would be more to my liking: Not ask for the copyright ownership and exclusive use. If they were instead asking for unlimited use, in perpetuity, by the arboretum (exhibits, sales on their gift shop items, etc.) that would be a more attractive donation to me. In that case, I have donated the original, and foregone exclusive rights sales, but not all sales. But that is just me. I can see how an organization would be reluctant to have to manage rights permissions in perpetuity, so I understand why they asked for what they asked for. But it is a big ask.
Not all people are out to make their living from their "fine" art. Accept the proposal or reject it as suits your needs. If you feel you can sell your image, or don't have time to do it for the love of forwarding the mission of the Arboretum, by all means ignore it.
I would ask everyone to be civil in this discussion (this is not directed at anyone in particular). I know the Arboretum does not have evil motives and sees a case for what they are doing with this project as a good thing for volunteers producing non-commecial art. In this case I define non-commercial art as an image that takes more time and effort to sell than you will get back in cash, but you enjoyed making it. Some may not think the case is good enough to get involved, but others may. If any of you have polite, useful ideas on how they can make the project work better, I am sure they would listen, or at least learn something on how important it is to get this sort of information out up front.
We don't actually get too many of this sort of announcement. We ignore most of them that are looking for ways to raise funds for a good cause. This one was a little more education/mission oriented, so we thought it was worth a mention. You won't ever see a lot of this on the GNSI site. But we did need to add the clarifications to be useful to our members - for sure. And we will try to be mindful of looking at that aspect in the future before publishing.
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