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.

Thank you,
L Jordan, PhD

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