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Selling the rights to an image - HELP!

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  • Selling the rights to an image - HELP!

    Hello All, I'm new to these forums, but I'm hoping you guys could help me out a little.

    I own/run my own graphic design & apparel company. I've been doing it for almost three years now.

    I was approached by an ad agency earlier this year to do some designs for the upcoming (insert major garment company)'s fall catalog. These were not designs that would be sold preprinted on garments, but used for the catalog photos in order to promote the sale of the blank garments. I did nearly 30 designs (and printed the garments) for them ranging from (authorized) copies of band t-shirt to completely original designs aimed at the young/hip crowd.

    The problem is that now, months later, the catalogs are coming out next week and the Garment maker has approached the Ad agency wanting to use two of my original designs for their retail catalog. The ad agency has in turn contacted me wanting to know:

    "[Insert Garment Maker here] loved two of your designs so much that they now want to produce them and offer them in their (retail) catalog.
    My question to you: What would it take for them to do this?
    Would you need to sell them the rights to the designs or require credit in the catalog?"

    This is a VERY major garment company in the US and they have many divisions from wholesale blank garments, to retail blank garments (sold at walmart, target, etc.), to a full catalog of pre-printed garments.

    The first thing I can think of is to ask about the quantities and distribution of the garments they intend to sell.

    Should I sell the rights completely and still reserve credit for the design, or do I only offer to sell limited rights for say 2 years?

    Either way this is the first time I've been in a situation where a client wants the rights to my artwork. How much do I ask for? I want to be fare to all parties, but this company will potentially print hundreds or thousands of these garments.

    Again, any help you guys can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    -Rick Manship
    Spaz Chicken Productions
    Charlotte, NC
    Last edited by Spaz Chicken; 09-28-2006, 02:02 PM.

  • #2
    I would think the limited rights would suffice, and also ask for a % of their profit from sales of those designs.. IMHO..
    Hip Hop just died this morning.


    • #3
      Is asking a percentage appropriate? It could potentially net me more pay for the art, but I don't want to alienate them by asking too much.

      This could be a REALLY nice bump for my company. It would definitely push us to the next level. And while getting paid for my art is the idea behind me doing this stuff, the exposure in this instance seems more important to me.

      On the flip side I don't want to be considered "that cheap guy we can get the great graphics from", and be taken advantage of in the long run.



      • #4
        Um..don't ask for a percentage of the sales. Its inappropriate.


        • #5
          never undersell yourself. at best you can negotiate, and I would highly suggest that offer. keep in mind that exposure is great, but it doesn't pay the bills. aim high, and at very best settle for a little under if you have too.
          ‘Our great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately controlled. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world. No government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of men.’ - Woodrow Wilson


          • #6
            Offer them three options:

            Rights-Managed (could include exclusive use, terms to be laid out) for a hefty price,
            Royalty-Free (they can do with it whatever the terms allow, but you can also sell it to somebody else), for a lesser price,
            or request Royalties off their sales.
            Ned Yeung, A.C.E.


            • #7
              it is a balancing act between the two for sure. Exposure can be as valuable as being given a percentage. I dont think at all that it would be inappropriate to ask for a small percentage, afterall if they sell well, it would be due to your creative art on the garment. I havent been in that situation either yet, but it doesnt seem inappropriate to me, maybe one of the other folks in here who have sold to apparel companies before will jump in and advice better.. or even PM you an appropriate range so you wont get sold short nor will you alienate yourself and lose the customer... I would think if they are a big enough company then cuttting a small percentage to you based on how many of your designs sell shouldnt be a problem.. unfortunately I cant send you a range because I really don tknow either what a good range would be, but If I were in your shoes I would ask for one.. but that's just me.. by the way welcome to GDF.. I see your in Charlotte, I was born and raised there and will be moving back in a few years once my wife is finished with school, maybe one day we can collaborate on some projects.. are you from Charlotte originally? If so, where'd you go to school? (sorry not meaning to threadjack, PM me the personal answers if you want.. )
              Last edited by aid4design; 09-28-2006, 01:39 PM.
              Hip Hop just died this morning.


              • #8
                I think it's inappropriate to ask for royalties, AND charge for the image. Do one or the other...
                Ned Yeung, A.C.E.


                • #9
                  Yeah, 80% of my work is purchased by my clients as part of a Branding Package (business cards, shirts, signage and the like) where the design time is charged by the hour, 20% is artwork I sell on garments I print. So this is completely new territory for me.

                  Thanks for everyone who responded so far. I'm pulling my hair out trying to figure out what to do.

                  aid4design - No I'm originally from Darlington, SC. I went to Art Institute of Atlanta for the beginning of my college, and wrapped up my degree at Trident Tech in Charleston, SC. We (my wife and I) moved here back in '01 when we both graduated form college.


                  • #10
                    Spaz.. I see. Charlotte is a great place to live. I miss home. ..been in Texas for 3.5yrs, got 3-4 left... worth the sacrifice to then be married to a Doctor.. But the plan is to move back, if youre still around I'd like to network with others in the area since I've been gone since '98(lived in Boone, NC 98-03) Check your PM, Im sending you my email, so we can keep in touch..
                    Hip Hop just died this morning.


                    • #11
                      i think D Frag had the right idea, negotiate, maybe you could go and see a profesional who deals in this type of stuff
                      When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened
                      But in my dreams, I slew the dragon


                      • #12
                        Panzer is right, you need a mediator. I would suggest calling a copyrights lawyer to draw up the contract. They know what's what and may even have a suggestion on how much to ask for.

                        If they want exclusive rights, then it is normally triple + the charge that you would normally do for "one time only" rights. This isn't based on your hourly wage, but the fact that you would not be in position to resell, modify or use parts of the designs somewhere else.

                        Based on the question you posted, the person is either new to copyright themselves, or is trying to catch you off guard.

                        It also depends on where you are based. For example a copyright sale in NYC will go for 2-3 times what I can ask here in the midwest. Even though the world is going digital gobal, there's still seems to be limitations in market profiles on what to charge.

                        For example a photographer who sells one time rights to a publisher will gain in the $$$ and if the buyer want full rights it could be $$$$ and up per photo. It took that photographer a second or two to take that photo, but he's not going to charge a pittance for his work, and neither should you.

                        Give options to the company that is fair to you, and let them decide.

                        If you want money, and credits, then put it in one of the options.

                        As far as percentages go, unless that was in your orginal contract, then the company may think you are greedy and won't deal with you again. Just as a possiblity.

                        However, if you treat them fairly with a fair price, not only will they return to you for the next run, but also give you referals by word of mouth. People in the industry talk and that can be even more beneficial to you then trying to wiggle a little extra on the side now.

                        Good Luck,






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