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Cernex
07-05-2013, 09:09 AM
So I had this funny little habit of coming up with characters for my tales and asking some friends to draw them. I enjoyed that, and did it quite a bit. Sometimes they added little things, but the descriptions of said characters in tales they were involved usually didn't involved such small details (perfect example: "Are the boots closed or with zippers?" "I don't know... surprise me").

Note that said drawings are always for personal use only. Never intended to do anything else with them besides some motivation (they work like that).

However, my question is, is this really a thing I should be doing? I mean, are there possibilities said drawings could get me into trouble even if I never used them on the published piece?

Corinne Duyvis
07-05-2013, 03:33 PM
I do the same thing. Even sent a drawing I commissioned of my characters to my agent and editor, who thought it was super cool. So I doubt it's an issue :D

Susan Littlefield
07-05-2013, 06:37 PM
Cernex,

I'm missing why you think these drawings could get you into trouble, especially if never using them in a published work. I think it's wonderful you use them as inspiration. :)

Old Hack
07-05-2013, 10:52 PM
The illustrator who did the drawings could sue you for copyright infringement for basing your work on his or her designs.

That doesn't mean he or she would have a case: just that there's a tiny possibility it might happen, and that possibility would increase if your books were a huge success.

If you've used details the illustrator introduced in the illustrations, rather than details which were already there, then the illustrator might have a case.

Cernex
07-06-2013, 01:39 AM
Cernex,

I'm missing why you think these drawings could get you into trouble, especially if never using them in a published work. I think it's wonderful you use them as inspiration. :)

Here's the thing:


The illustrator who did the drawings could sue you for copyright infringement for basing your work on his or her designs.

That doesn't mean he or she would have a case: just that there's a tiny possibility it might happen, and that possibility would increase if your books were a huge success.

If you've used details the illustrator introduced in the illustrations, rather than details which were already there, then the illustrator might have a case.

Debbie V
07-09-2013, 07:16 PM
To solve the issue Old Hack brings up create a simple contract stating that you own the characters including any details added to the drawings. They could still own the drawings.

Are your friends professional artists? Is there a chance they may market these drawings? If so, that complicates things from the perspective of sales. Also, would they expect any illustrations in your work to come from them (cover art).You could offer to pay for the rights to use their work or purchase all rights from them so they can't use it at all. In any case, having something in writing never hurts.

How likely trouble is depends on the friends.

Pthom
07-13-2013, 03:58 AM
I believe the key here is that Cernex is asking "friends" to submit drawings. Such drawings submitted this way (without financial arrangement) are gifts and the recipient may use them any way he wants.

However, if in the unlikely event the story goes to press and the publisher desires to use these sketches as basis for cover or interior illustration, THEN copyright comes into play because money exchanges hands.

Cernex, if you reward your friends in any way, either with cash or in kind, you then have paid for the drawings and need to follow the advice in the posts immediately above this one.

Old Hack
07-13-2013, 11:22 AM
Pthom, even if those drawings were given to Cernex without payment and are legally regarded as gifts (and I'm not sure that that would be the case here: he'd have to check with a lawyer to be certain), the people who drew them could still kick up some sort of legal fuss; working within the law doesn't prevent anyone from starting legal action.

And it's always tricky giving legal advice, or advice which could be taken as legal advice. Perhaps Cernex's best approach would be to ensure that none of the details created by his illustrator friends are incorporated into his work, and to stop using such pictures as inspiration. Which would be sad, but safer.

JournoWriter
07-14-2013, 06:03 AM
I can take action against the buyer if he or she uses that art in a way that produces income for the buyer.

IANAL, but I'm certain that the law is not as broad as you describe. Using your definition, reselling art, musical lyrics and books would all be violations of copyright.