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How to phrase request for payment? Question for artists...
January 27, 2014 4:26 AM   Subscribe

Someone wants to use a watermarked version of an illustration I drew. Got some newbie questions.

Got a bit of a newbie art-pro question here. Someone (in Norway) found an artwork of mine online and would like to use it for her concert program. She attached the program, which shows my art with the watermark (featuring my web site address) dropped onto the cover.

She sent me a message asking for permission. I'm waiting for her clarification, but I think she's saying that she wants to use a non-watermarked image of the file, and she's requesting my terms. If so, I'll let her know my price (I've been charging $25 for this kind of thing) and will ask her to Paypal me the money before I send her the non-watermarked file.

It occurred to me, though, that she might be saying that she just wants to use my watermarked file in her program. Looks worse, but if she's doing that, then I'm wondering if I've got a leg to stand on in terms of asking her for money. My watermarked image is an inducement to buy my art, after all - otherwise I wouldn't put it on the webs. But what if she doesn't need the good file?

Can I just tell her no, you don't have permission to use my watermarked file without paying me? Of course, she could do it anyway. I don't want to be aggressive or weird, in case she turns out to be interested in buying more stuff from me.

If you're an artist, do you have a boilerplate bit of text you send people who want to use your art which they've discovered online? I always assumed a low-res watermarked image would deter unauthorized use, but I'm not sure. I'd also be interested to know what you charge per image in these situations.
posted by cartoonella to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
if she's doing that, then I'm wondering if I've got a leg to stand on in terms of asking her for money.

Yes, you do. Putting it on the internet is not granting everyone out there the right to use your work.

Can I just tell her no, you don't have permission to use my watermarked file without paying me?

Yes. The more tactful thing to do is to simply reply, "Yes, I can email a high-resolution, non-watermarked version to you for $25. If you want to proceed, let me know and I will PayPal you.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:35 AM on January 27 [6 favorites]


I wouldn't even admit the possibility of her using the watermarked version. Let her know that you charge $25 for use of your art. So, even if she wanted to use the watermarked version, it would *still* be $25. How aggressive you are on this is up to you, but that is the position I'd start from.
posted by Betelgeuse at 4:40 AM on January 27 [5 favorites]


By your logic, movie companies wouldn't be able to go after pirates if the torrents of stolen movies simply included the studio card at the opening of a film.

DarlingBri's coached reply is good.

Also, note that Norway is one of the most expensive countries I've been to in the world, given the oil payments to Norwegian citizens. I have paid more than $25 for a single beer in Norway. I'd up the price, if I were you. $25 is next to nothing.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:43 AM on January 27 [4 favorites]


You don't say if your concert promoter is professional or amateur.

I sold a picture from my old blog to a Polish magazine a few years go. The picture editor contacted me. The price was - his words - a good lunch. I think that is a good benchmark. $25 is cheap. If they are professional then they have a budget and this should be in their budget. No need to be embarrassed about it: "here are my fees for x."

If the promoter is amateur then it's an entirely persona decision if/how much you charge.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:49 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


How aggressive you are on this is up to you, but that is the position I'd start from.

I don't think anyone should be aggressive over $25.

I like DarlingBri's suggestion: "I can email a high-resolution, non-watermarked version to you for $25. If you want to proceed, let me know and I will PayPal you." That's a positive way to approach this and you are offering to provide something of perhaps greater value than the watermarked version.

But this made me laugh:

"Putting it on the internet is not granting everyone out there the right to use your work."

The fact of the matter is no one respects copyright on the Internet and the chances that you will be able to change anyone's mind are tiny. If she uses the watermarked version, let it go and get on with your life with the satisfaction that you can join the legions of artists and musicians that have been screwed by the Internet.
posted by three blind mice at 5:42 AM on January 27


25 bucks is super cheap, you could ask for a lot more. How big is the show, is she a pro promoter, do you know what the venue is? If it's tiny and the bands have no following, as a new illustrator, I would ask for 75 or 100. If it's a big band or venue, 250 or more for a spot illustration is not unusual in America. I doubt Europeans pay less considering their higher respect for the arts.

Now! The legal thing. They don't have a right to use your art. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you'll be able to get them to stop, or afford to make them with a lawyer.

If the placing your watermarked art into the program is confusing you, I can explain.

When graphic designers are putting together products, an illustration is an element just like the font and copy you're going to use. You make mock ups. Chances are, that person put like seven of those together with different illustrations and yours was the one they liked best. I'd bet dollars to donuts that they don't want to use the watermarked version.

Good luck. Make money.
posted by Blisterlips at 5:44 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


If she wanted to cheat you, she wouldn't have emailed you. Just ask for your normal rate.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:36 AM on January 27 [4 favorites]


The boilerplate language should include that: (words in caps should be replaced with specifics.)

ARTIST grants permission to LICENSEE a non-exclusive license for the one time use of WORK OF ART for PURPOSE starting on DATE and ending on DATE (so she can't use it dozens of times forever) for the fee of € or $ amount.

$25.00 is too small a fee, I think. If she'd gone to Pond5 or Shutterstock, she'd pay at least $49.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:45 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


How aggressive you are on this is up to you, but that is the position I'd start from.

I don't think anyone should be aggressive over $25.


It's not about the money. It's about ensuring that one is compensated (and recognized) for one's art and hard work.
posted by Betelgeuse at 7:04 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


  The fact of the matter is no one respects copyright on the Internet and the chances that you will be able to change anyone's mind are tiny.

I was pleasantly surprised when I used TinEye to find lots of people using a CC-BY image of mine without proper attribution. A short, polite request e-mail had most of them change their sites.
posted by scruss at 7:15 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


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