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Label: licensing

Tuesday 11th March 2014Licensing Your Work

The dilemma of whether to license your work or not is one that most artists dream of. Of course, some artists find the idea almost insulting, a dilution of the power of the original piece of work. However, not everyone has such high-minded ideals about every single piece they've ever done. As lines between art and design and other "art-ifacts" become blurrier in the digital era, it's a question that more and more of us can hope to have to answer. It seems almost like a dream come true - you create one piece, and get to sell it over and over again, getting your work in front of as many eyes as possible. However, there are some tricky things to consider when it comes up.

First of all, there is that issue we mentioned earlier: does plastering your work over cheap posters and coffee mugs and t-shirts somehow diminish the value of your work? That's up to you to decide, of course, and it probably also depends a bit on who wants to license your work and how much they're willing to pay for it. It's not impossible to realize the dream of using licensed work to pay for day to day life, and enable you to spend more time on the art you refuse to license. That's the dream, as long as you can keep your "serious" art separate from your licensed works.

That possibility raises the next issue, which is a very serious one: what kind of terms are you willing to accept? Before you sign any kind of licensing agreement, make sure you examine it very carefully, or better yet have a lawyer look it over for you to make sure there are no hidden pitfalls that could trip you up later down the line. Make sure that your percentage is fair, and that you are allowed to create work that falls outside of the agreement - if they want the rights to everything you produce, suddenly you might find your 'serious' art on coffee mugs across the nation. (Note: this isn't legal advice, we're not lawyers - so be sure to consult with one before signing anything).

Another thing to consider is the possibility of using a fulfillment house to let you cut out the middleman and sell your artwork directly on a huge variety of different objects. There are a number of companies that work with your digital files to produce anything from iPhone cases to sweatshirts, although they all offer varying degrees of cost and compensation, so make sure you take the time to find a production company that makes it worth your while. If you have to sell 1000 of something before you see a profit, you might be in for some trouble. With a bit of careful searching, you can find a way to turn your art into money without the fuss of having to produce the final products all by yourself. Good luck!

Posted on March 11th 2014 on 08:06pm
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