What Should Go Into a Contract?
So what should go in a contract? So the first thing you want to make sure is in there are projects specifics, what you'll be delivering, we often call those your delivery bles okay. The number of illustrations are design elements or photographs. If you're a photographer rounds of changes or edits the size and dimension of the work, the format in which it needs to be delivered. We talked about format earlier. So just getting this in writing. So that at the last minute they're like, well actually we needed it to be in 25 layers in this particular program and you didn't know that. You know, that's something that you want to know up front, who's responsible for finding or providing assets. So like this isn't is true, sometimes true. So if you're an illustrator and you are being asked to illustrate a famous person, you have to um, get legal permission if the photograph is not in the public domain to illustrate that portrait, if you're gonna use it for commercial purposes. So are you respons...
ible for finding and getting permission for the photo? Are they responsible anytime you're using a photograph? Um, or um, recently I did a cover of a magazine where I was illustrating over a photograph. Um, they got the photograph and got rights to the photograph. I wasn't responsible for that. But making sure you're clear on that any time there are other assets like product shots or photography that are going to be part of your work, how the client intends to use the work, what they're going to use it on. Also you want to get clear on the terms of payment. So um how much you're gonna be paid for the job and when the payment is due. So sometimes with really big projects the payments are divided up over a period of like the phases. So so like if a job is a six month project or even a project that's gonna take a couple of months sometimes so that you don't have to wait until the end to get paid your fee, they'll pay you half of it halfway through. So you want to make sure that that stipulated so that you can remind them to pay you when it's halfway time or once you've turned in a certain amount of work. So that's all there and then how long they have to pay you. So typical is net 30 so net 30 means they have 30 days from the day you invoice them two, write you a check or send you money that 30 is pretty pretty normal. Some I have worked with clients who say we work, we do not 45 or net 60. So that is something you can negotiate. I usually do with the client. You know if they really need two months to pay me then that's okay. As long as it's written down, it should also um Specify if there's any penalties for not paying on time. So I have a rule that if you don't pay me within 45 days then you are there's like a 10% fee or something. I have never ever had to um issue a complaint about not somebody not paying on time. I've been really lucky in that way. Right, Okay. By default, you own the copyright to your work. By default. It is yours You made it you own it. Is it smart to register it with the U. S. Government? Absolutely. Do you have to to own copyright? No. You may give the right to your client to reproduce the work for a specific purpose in your contract. But you still own the copyright. There's one exception to that which we're going to talk about shortly. You still own the copyright. You are giving them the right to use it on something. But you still own the original work. No one can reproduce your work without your permission. Unless you've already stipulated that write in a contract for a specific purpose. That's what the contract is for. If you do that, the contract should specify how the work can be reproduced for how long. Where And on what? So make sure that all of those things are covered. There is one exception and that is work for hire. And I'm gonna talk about work for hire specifically in a moment. Okay. Regarding rights. Pay attention to what kind of rights the client is asking for Where they would like to hold the rights. Do they want worldwide rights? Just one country for how long they would like to hold the rights for exactly what purpose, where will the art and designs be used for a specific product Only for a specific website get really clear on this because if they want the more rights they want, the more you should be paid. And this is another way to negotiate fees and contracts is um if they're not willing to pay you very much to make the work, then the fewer rights they should have. Technically, this is kind of important for licensing to where you're giving the way the rights for things to get put into a product and then you're making royalties based on you make a percentage of the sales. So you actually benefit from the right being sold and put on a product because you're making money based off the sale of the product credit. So, you always want um to the contract to stipulate how if at all you will be credited for the artwork on either on the product or the publication. Um, so make sure that you're credited last night. I was at a bookstore and I saw a book cover that I thought was stunning. And my first reaction was who drew this, you know? So I opened up to the front um, copyright page. I didn't see it there and I was like, I can't believe this cover illustrators name is not in the book. And then as it turns out it was on the back cover. But um super important because you know it's part of having your name in the world and and part of what you do. So make sure you're credited if if you can't be credit on the products like maybe negotiate with them that they're going to post about it on social media so that you can be credited or at the bottom of a web page or whatever. So think about what credit you want and make sure that that's in your contract. Alright. Work for hire contracts. I promised I would talk about this so often there is a clause or a specific contract that uses the word work for hire and companies are sometimes not up front about this clause. Um People have signed work for hire contracts and not being aware of it before. So you wanna take special care to look out for this clause and if one does exist in a contract make sure you have it slashed. So beware basically a work for hire contract stipulates that the authorship or creation of the artwork is credited to the client and not to the artist and that they will own the copyright to the work. Not you. They basically that contract means they have bought the copyright from you. They now own the copyright, You have no rights to that work anymore. Sometimes this makes sense, logos right? You design a logo for somebody. They should be able to put it on everything under the sun. Um, Sometimes like a packaging identity design. So I think it's more common with graphic designers than with illustrators. Um Sometimes it makes sense. However, if you do sign a work for hire contract and you're giving it away the rights to your work, you want to make sure that you are being amply compensated because you are literally giving you know, being paid to make something and handed over and never be able to use it again or do anything with it again and again. Sometimes that makes sense. The client in a work for hire situation can reproduce the work in as many ways as they would like forever and you will not be compensated further after the rights are sold. So make sure you feel amply compensated if you ever are to sign a work for hire contract.