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licensing update



Thanks to those of you who replied to my question about licensing my wedding
invitation design. If you are interested in hearing about what happened, read
on.

After talking to several people, including a local volunteer lawyer for the
arts, I do think designs like this can be copyrighted (some people told me
otherwise). There are many types of copyrights -- one for visual arts, which
this would fall under. It seems that when you create a work, it is
automatically copyrighted, but if you should ever go to court, having a legal
copyright can be helpful.

I did quite a bit of research and came up with a proposed contract to the
company that wanted to use my design (this was a handmade paper wedding
invitation which they wanted to make a die of to satisfy one client, but then
could potentially be "mass" produced). I asked them for $500 to use the
design for a year, and then we'd re-evaluate and come up with a new agreement
if need be. I also asked for a number of other things, including a
non-exclusive agreement, that I'd receive a sample of each job they produced,
that I'd own the dies at the end of the contract term, etc. I did purchase
Tad Crawford's book, which was very useful in writing the contract.

Well, they didn't go for it. They said they thought it was a reasonable
request, but they were too small a company to take such a risk. So, we went
back to our old agreement, which is that they can sell the handmade version
only -- and they purchase the paper from me for those orders. That was fine
with me. They've already received an order under that agreement.

Here's the last hitch, which doesn't sit so well with me. The customer who
originally wanted to use the design that would require the die was stubborn.
And the company wanted to satisfy their client. She wanted to use a
particular commercial paper. So the owner of the company helped her figure
out how to alter my design so that they could still use it! I know that this
is how design works -- you see something else and alter it slightly to make
your own new design -- but I feel a bit used in this case. I have a good
relationship with this company. They promote me and I promote them.

Enough on that saga. Good luck to all of you promoting your work!
Helen Hiebert

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