For the past two years I have been paying a local artist roughly $62 a week (about $3200 a year) to produce sketches and paintings for myself directly related to a video game I wish to eventually produce. Stupidly, it has been off the book and no contract was drawn up.
I was wondering if anyone knows the legalities of my situation in regards to who actually owns the copyright on the work.
I asked the artist recently to sign a copyright transfer agreement but he refused and is asking for $5000 to transfer full ownership to myself for work created in the last two years and any work created this year.
In this time he has produced:
1 complete oil painting (~a4)
1 complete rough oil painting (~a5)
7 incomplete oil paintings (~a4)
1 incomplete oil painting (~a5)
2 incomplete oil paintings (~ a3)
~ 80 a4 sketches (variations and working till final).
I only make about $11,000 AUD a year as I'm a student and I'm beginning to feel boxed in, as if the artist is in charge.
I was young and stupid when I originally entered into business with this man and I believe him to be trustworthy but having said that, I can't say I know him THAT well.
I fell it is time to cut myself loose but am worried about what might happen.
The artist has some copies of the work he has done but not all and I want to know whether he is legally allowed to sell and make copies of these works or if he is entitled to use my ideas in his own working.
Should I negotiate with him on a buyout price or just take what I have and leave?
Any info greatly appreciated.