Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesVisual ArtsDrawing & Illustration · 1 month ago

Artwork resold without permission?

So, I have been working with this startup company. (at the time of signing up for this job, I was a sophomore in college. I'm currently taking a gap year tho) I emailed them asking if they had any openings as a concept artist. And luckily they did! Got accepted for the job and started making concept art for their visual novel game, as well as in-game art that I did not sign up for. In the beginning the lady that hired me told me that we would be working on a profit sharing model because their company did not have a budget set. I DID agree to that at first, being the unexperienced college student thirsty for something to get my career going. But after creating artwork for them for about half a year, I began to have doubts. My family and friends would always warn me about getting cheated out of my work and to be careful with these people, but I kept going. Finally in December, I decided that I would "silently quit" because I was scared of telling them that this was way too much work for no pay. (I realize now that I should have just been more up front, it would have been way more professional) But now it is Jan 24th. I follow them on Instagram through my side account, and they have been making stickers of the artwork that I created without giving me any compensation!! I don't know if they were right to do that, or whether I should email them to GIVE ME MY MONEY. Please help 

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  • Speed
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm not a lawyer, but I'm reasonably certain that your employer owns your work product, not you. This also means they can make stickers or video games or giant balloons of your work and sell them.

    Whether they paid you anything at all during your time there isn't the issue. It's whether you have any proof, like a signed document, that you agreed to profit-sharing. If you don't, you're most likely out of luck and have learned a particularly nasty lesson. They could easily claim you were an unpaid intern or working solely for experience to put on your resume.

    This isn't right or fair, but I suspect it's legal.

    That said, it's not a bad idea to get an attorney to write them a letter demanding your share of the profits from the work you created. They'll pay far more attention to that than an email from a former employee who "silently quit."

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    • uyane4 weeks agoReport

      @Tim Things have already been settled. I signed a contract the other day handing the rights to them in exchange of compensation for the 9 months I’ve worked there with 0 pay. It wasn’t a whole lot, but at least it’s something and I am satisfied. 

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  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    You should have read the fine print of the company, they are probably legal owners of your work, if you had sealed a copyright contract or registered with a notary in case of mass works you would have saved your project, but now it's too late, sorry, but at least it was one from what i read neh? See if you don't make mistakes with the others Ok?

    Good morning and stay with God 🙏😉

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  • John
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    I would answer but you'll just want to argue with me, too. You have no rights to the artwork, period. In fact, if you tried to sell it they could sue YOU

    • uyane4 weeks agoReport

      I’ve been very respectful to everyone that has answered, no need to make assumptions on how badly I’d react to your reply. And I’ve already settled things with the company. They didn’t own the rights before, but I have signed a new contract handing the rights over to them in exchange of payment.

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  • Tim D
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    "we would split the profits after the game was created"

    From what you write the game has not even been released. 

    Making stickers is never going to recoup the investment into making a game, so there is no profit to share as yet, there will probably be a loss (as in most startups) be grateful that there is no shared burden of loss.

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  • 1 month ago

    Hey! A courtesy paragraph or two would've been nice! Cheers!

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  • 1 month ago

    Are they making a profit from your work?  What does your agreement with them say?

  • 1 month ago

    You fail to understand that you were doing artwork that was 'for hire', meaning that the company that you worked for owns all rights to the art. You were paid for your artwork via your paycheck. None of what you did for them is under your own copyright. Sorry if you didn't understand that.

    If it was any other way then you would have had a contract to sign that indicated who owned the rights to all work done, and what versions of those rights were yours (stickers, t-shirts, rubber stamp art, mugs, whatever).

    But a 'work for hire', which is what you were, all art rights go to the company who paid you.

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    • uyane1 month agoReport

      And honestly if they had paid me accordingly, I wouldn't even have a problem. They didn't have a contract stating who would own the rights, just made me sign an electronic NDA on DocuSign. Now, I know that I should make a contract for my protection as well.

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  • 1 month ago

    What agreement if any did you have in place?

    Most places have a clause that anything you create for them while working for them belongs to them

    • uyane1 month agoReport

      We didn't have any agreements. The only thing that I signed from them was an NDA form.

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