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The Fundamentals of Drawing
Building Skills in Drawing
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Art Lessons: Licensing Versus Selling

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>> Okay.
I have a lot of people that always say,
Bua, what should I do?
Should I license my work?
Should I sell my work?
What's the difference between licensing my
work and selling my work?
I really need to know all those things.
And and you really should.
You gotta educate yourself.
Because a lot of people just get into
these crazy deals and then all of a sudden
these major conglomerates just own all
their, their work.
You know, soup to nuts in perpetuity.
And that's a really dangerous thing.
A good example is my grandfather.
Did the AMF logo for bowling.
>> Hm.
>> And I think he sold it for 20 bucks.
And he sold all the rights to it, didn't
get any residuals, no royalties, nada.
So many many artists out there and, you
know, a,
a lot of close friends of mine not gonna
mention any names,
have done very iconic paintings or images
and have gotten a flat rate for it.
And it has been exploited to the power.
So Darrin, what, what is the difference
between licensing and
selling and when should you do either one
of those?
What determines that?
>> That's a good question.
Sadly to say, often times the market
dictates what you can or
can't do, whether it's a sale or a license
and what amount you're going to receive.
If you're somebody who's well known and
been in the industry for a while, often
times you have a little bit more leverage
and can actually license your work.
Now licensing is really just giving
somebody the right to use it
in a certain way.
You're giving them a license.
Here's your license.
Here's what you're allowed to do.
You, you are allowed to sell it in North
America for two years.
You can reproduce it only on canvas side,
You can't do internet.
It can't be on.
You have restrictions on the use, on the
Things like that.
And, and at the end of that license, at
the end of that term.
All the rights come back to you.
Now sometimes in the digital world, those
rights extend.
Because once it's in the internet or once
it's out there you, you know,
it, you can't actually take it back in.
But whoever you dealt with,
doesn't have the right to exploit it in
that way anymore.
Often times, licensing is paid for either
as a flat fee.
I'm gonna pay you $5,000 for 1 year's
right to license this image.
Or it's paid in some sort of a, of a
quarterly basis on a royalty.
You know, if they're going to sell units,
for example.
Bua has a deal where he does.
His, his artwork is applied to the back of
Gelaskins and, and covers for phones.
You know, however many units are sold, Bua
gets a percentage of that income.
Selling is generally, you're giving up the
rights to that work.
Somebody's buying it from you, whether
it's a commission project or
whether it's a work for hire project.
I'm sure a lot of you people have heard
about the term work for
higher and what does that mean.
Work for hire comes under the copyright
And it basically means that somebody's
hiring you to do something for them.
And because their hiring you and paying
you, it can be in money,
it can be in credit, it can be in a
variety of ways of payment.
But because their actually paying you,
they get all the rights to that image.
And that means now they have the right to
license it or exploit.
I hear a lot of artists all the time, you
do too.
I'm so upset, I sold my work to this
person and
now I see it's on t-shirts everywhere and
they're making a gajillion dollars.
Well, if it was done as a work for hire,
then that's their right.
You don't really have more rights beyond
The thing is if you're thinking about,
whether it's gonna be a work for
hire project or a license project.
Often times the difference is when you're
licensing something,
you're coming up with the idea yourself.
It's your own original work.
You've actually completed the work.
And, you know, somebody else likes the
image of that work.
And they wanna put in on t-shirts.
They wanna put it on coffee mugs.
They wanna put in into, incorporate it
into a logo.
If somebody's hiring you as a work for
hire, they're kind of dictating.
Here's what we want.
We need you to deliver something that
looks like this.
We love your style and we wanna make your
style fit with our brand.
They get the rights to that.
They get the ownership rights, generally
>> If you, yeah, but if you go, if you're,
we, you know,
we have many friends who are DreamWorks
and Disney and Sony and Paramount.
They go to work every day.
They do original paintings, whether it's
on Photoshop or
traditionally and that company owns their
They're never gonna really be able to
leave there with that work,
because they own the rights to use it in
Just like they do if you're working at EA
just like if you're working at Nike, just
like if you're working at any company.
When you go there and you feel like you're
an artist and
you do the work just know that, that work
is theirs.
So really you get into licensing more in
the freelance world, not in the the,
the corporate world when your going to a
job that's a work for hire.
>> Yeah, generally that's a work for hire.
And the one thing that you wanna be
careful with is in your agreements,
your work for hire or, or, or your
Especially, if you're selling that work to
You wanna have the right to still use the
image of that work in your personal
portfolio for your own marketing.
Maybe it's on your website, maybe it's in
your physical portfolio.
You don't want them to have the rights to
not allow you to use that.
To come after you, if you're somehow
promoting yourself.
Cuz of course, you wanna be able to go to
a company and
say, hey, I did that project.
That was me.
See here's, here it is in my portfolio.
So, it's really important that you
maintain that right to use it for
your own personal marketing.
>> Yeah.
And also, be mindful of anytime that you
do, do work and
you are working for a company.
They technically, own that work.
>> Yeah.
In any course of,
of employment not necessarily independent
contractual employment.
But as an employee, you're working for
someone else.
And by default of that employer employee
relationship in most states,
they have the rights to whatever work
you're doing.
Whether it's you building a car, molding a
pipe, drafting contracts.
Those aren't yours.
It's the company's.
>> I was just doing in my sketchbook and I
thought I was gonna do.
No, it's not yours.
But it was in my skit?
It's not yours.
It was done, we were paying you.
You're on our dime.
Just be mindful of that.