As most of you know, while I make my living as a professional graphic artist, website designer, and webmaster, I’m also an author and a musician with the plus that my husband is a composer. Because I’m an author and a musician, that’s helped determine my final decision about how I’ll be offering my pre-made book covers and CD/DVD covers.
Instead of using a rights management company that I’ve been experimenting with the last several weeks, I’ve decided to go ahead and continue to offer the covers via this website, using my own licensing contract.
The reason I’ll only be selling them here is because I can offer you:
- perpetual licensing rights, and
- exclusive rights licensing opportunities.
An artist friend, David Revad Riley, has been using a service called FineArtAmerica.com for his POD. The service, according to him, is excellent, better than the majority, and the print quality is superb. Since I trust Revad’s judgement and experience in these matters, despite the fact our art is so very different, I signed up, this, after a long spell of having given up in disgust with the various online ‘fine art’ PODS I’ve tried in the past.
Several weeks in, and I’m pretty happy that I did go with FAA. I even paid for a premium membership.
Now here came the rise of dilemma: Along with POD, FAA offers, via pixels.com, a rights management and royalty free service…which makes the issue of dealing with licensing rights as well as prepping and uploading the images very much easier. (It’s always easier to let somebody else do it, and I’m not much fond of Getty Images, even though they lead the pack for commercial art and photography rights management.)
Having spent the better part of a month getting my own shopping cart installed here, then working through the nuances of terms and tweaking the download and upload mechanisms, this service came at a very vulnerable moment. You see, loading the imagery into and prepping my work for buyers to download on demand is very time consuming.
After a week of playing with various schemes, my ethical conscience began putting on the brakes. The big problems were non-exclusivity and a lack of perpetual licensing.
THE UNIQUE FACTOR
I know how tough it is for clients who have little-to-no budget with which to secure quality images for packaging and promoting their work. I also know how awful it is for a someone to see some image they selected for their cover or for an element of their cover used elsewhere on a competing work. (I’ve written about that issue before.) But that’s the problem with stock imagery. And if you don’t have the money or the skills to obtain or create something unique and original, either by changing the stock imagery or by hiring an artist, then, unless there is a source for something original that can’t be used by someone else–at least not legally–you’re stuck.
PERPETUAL USE LICENSING VS. ANYONE CAN BUY USE RIGHTS
My personal ethical standard: I want people who use my artwork, who buy my artwork, to have option to use that artwork for as long as they want to on the cover, case, or film promotional material without worry. Limiting licensing to two years for the artwork which the public identifies with an author’s, film-maker’s, or musician’s/composer’s work is absolutely wrong in my opinion, and a creative artist, be they an author, musician, or film-maker shouldn’t have to worry about when rights run out for their artwork. Perpetual rights to use the case/cover imagery on the specific product they purchase it for is imperative, along with use on promo- materials for advertising that work…online and in real world applications. The creative expression the purchased artwork packages is the result of that originator’s personal inspiration and genius, and that creative artist deserves not to have to worry that, in two years…or if more than X amount sells, they’re going to have to either stop using that artwork or, worse, are going to be vulnerable to higher fees or even lawsuits.
Wrong, wrong, wrong in my opinion.
So, bottom line, I’m going to suffer the indignity of having to use harder rather than easier because my conscience says that you deserve the opportunity to purchase exclusivity and perpetual use.