View Full Version : Copyright Question
August 1st, 2004, 05:55 PM
I'm a writer who doesn't draw, and I'm thinking of hiring an illustrator to make some sample character illustrations for a comic book I wrote for submission to publishers.
If I'm going to do this, how can I secure that the character idea will remain mine? For example, let's say I invented Spiderman; I go to an illustrator and I describe the costume and so forth, and he draws it for me. The comic book gets published and the publishers hire a different illustrator, who copies the design of the sample illustration. Won't I run a risk of having the original illustrator sue me for stealing his idea? Is there some kind of contract I can make with the artist? what should it specify?
August 2nd, 2004, 09:54 PM
If I remember correctly you can get your character or logo officially copyrighted by the government for less than 50 dollars, I think it gives you a certificate with the copyrighted ideas and if anything legal comes up that should be more proof than you need. Unfortunately I have no idea how to do this, you'll have to search the internet for more information. If you prefer a cheaper method simply stating that you own the character and story in a saved email or photocopied letter might suffice (having them sign or reply to the document would be best). In this way you could specify the details of the agreement too.
August 2nd, 2004, 10:06 PM
I would guess you could write up a contract that the artist would need to sign (kind of like a NDA) where he agrees its your character, story...etc, and you retain all rights.
August 2nd, 2004, 11:34 PM
August 3rd, 2004, 02:05 AM
Copyrights, and Trademarks $50 bucks Ha! Ha ! More like 300!
Anyways, if you just want to Art Direct an artist then make sure that is clearly written in your contract. Good luck in finding one though...and if you are not an artist, I highly suggest you give the artist some liberties, becuase he may come up with somthing alot better looking than what you have in mind.
But if you are a control freak, then good luck in even getting your work out there, becuase if..and only IF you find a publisher, they will want to have their say and opinions as well.
August 4th, 2004, 06:20 PM
Thank you everyone who posted so far. I've already copyrighted the script (it was less than $50), and the characters are all described in there; but I think that actually having the characters brought to life by an illustrator brings it to a new level of conception, and thus brings up more copyright questions: I mean, all because I invented Spiderman, doesn't mean I have copyright ownership of all drawings inspired by my idea, I don't think.
Anyways, if you just want to Art Direct an artist then make sure that is clearly written in your contract.
What exactly do you think such a contract should state? Have you ever done one like that before? I'm really serious about this, so if you can't give me a more precise answer, I'll have to speak to a lawyer for advice.
Thanks for the advice about giving the illustrator freedom. I am sure a good artist will add much more to the appearance of my characters than I could have devised alone.
August 4th, 2004, 09:30 PM
Legally, you can write what ever you want, how you want, as long as you get both signatures. It will hold up in a court. I wouldn't recommend you wasting your money on a lawyer for somthing like this.
If you really want to be safe, and throw some shackles on your artist,
just get the poor artist to sign a "work for hire" agreement. This basically states that what ever he creates for you, is yours outright.
---I'm going to hell for this. :S
August 5th, 2004, 11:28 PM
I see. That help's a lot, thank you.
---I'm going to hell for this. :S
O, don't say that!:[ I really don't mean to screw any artist over. O, now I'm really unsure what to do! There are so many great artists around, that I'd like to just hire somebody to be my comrade on the project. But things are just not that easy, as you know. I don't know, I'll think of something soon I hope...
August 8th, 2004, 11:25 PM
dude theres plenty of reliable and generous artists on CA > PM an admin or mod (points at self) to recommend some reliable artists. The artists arent all here to screw you over either - hell ill even do it if its something im comfortable that i have the ability to do. Put yourself out there - nothing matters until the actual moment you give away your idea.
Test the water.