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Licensing a marbled Design

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  • Jake Benson
    A design local company has asked me to reproduce a design for a booklet they are preparing. They plan to print 800-1000 copies, and use the marbling for the
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 15, 2008
      A design local company has asked me to reproduce a design for a
      booklet they are preparing. They plan to print 800-1000 copies, and
      use the marbling for the entire cover, so 10 1/4 " H x 14 1/4 " W.

      They want to know if they can reprint it again next year, possibly in
      a different color.

      Iris, you had written the following back in 2005:

      >I charge either $400 for an off the shelf paper or $550 if custom,
      but if that
      >goes beyond reason, like they want eight million changes, after a
      point I will
      >charge extra. It also depends on the budget and use though....this is
      a generic
      >fee. If it's a major huge company with international distribution you
      may get up
      >to $4000 per use. Make sure you make it clear that YOU retain the
      >They can copyright their edition or whatever, but you hold a prior
      copyright to
      >the artwork. So they cannot think that because they purchased usage
      and it's >in their project that they can sell your design to someone
      else now. This has
      >happened to me and it got very ugly. Make sure they are licensing not
      buying >out your artwork, and it's a one time use. I thing the Graphic
      Artists Guild will
      >have something you can copy in their guidelines book.

      I looked at the 2001 GAG guidbook "Pricing and Ethical Guidelines"
      yesterday, and found that it has changed a great deal from earlier
      versions. Gone are the guidelines on prices for the size and top of
      run, and ensuing royalty fees for subsequent reprints. I knew that
      the prices listed in the past had been considered high by other
      marblers anyways, but those guidelines were useful.

    • Jake Benson
      Hello Again, Here is the text from the section on marbling Graphic Artists Guild Handbook : Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, 10th edition (2001). pp 300-302.
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 15, 2008
        Hello Again,

        Here is the text from the section on marbling Graphic Artists Guild
        Handbook : Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, 10th edition (2001). pp 300-302.

        Marbling (Marbled Printing)

        Marblers are artists who create unique contact prints by floating
        paints and inks on a liquid size, manipulating the colors with special
        combs and tools to form designs, and applying paper, fabric, or other
        materials to pick up the design. Although no two pieces of marbling
        are exactly alike, mastery of technical variables can enable a marbler
        to produce designs that are quite similar to each other or to
        centuries old patterns. Many marblers concentrate on creating images
        based on classical designs that are traditionally used to decorate
        covers or endpapers of hand bound books. Other artists produce more
        contemporary images with oils, watercolors, or Japanese suminagashi
        marbling specialties.

        The immense popularity of marbling accompanying a renaissance of this
        long neglected art has heightened the demand for marbled images.
        Marbled designs are sought by ad agencies, graphic designers, magazine
        and book publishers, and clothing, home furnishing, stationery, and
        various other manufacturers for reproduction on everything from
        promotional brochures and package design to backdrops for television

        Illustration Prices & Trade Customs

        Because the expense of operating a marbling business is similar to
        that incurred by other graphic artists, and because the marbler's
        creations enhance the value of the client's product or service, recent
        survey data indicate that marblers are routinely paid reproduction
        fees. Most marblers protect their copyrights by registering their
        designs with the Library of Congress and by stamping a copyright
        notice that includes their name, address, and phone number on the back
        of papers offered for sale in art supply and paper stores. Because
        many papers are cut after purchase, some artists stamp their work in
        several places so that even small sections of their work can be
        identified. Despite these precautions, some users wrongfully assume
        that purchasing a marbled paper authorizes them to reproduce the
        design. For this reason, marblers must vigilantly protect their work
        against copyright infringement.

        Recent Guild research has found that factors affecting the pricing of
        custom work most often include setup and actual printing time;
        complexity of design; when different, specific coloring is desired;
        number of samples required; altering pattern scale; matching ink
        specifications; and cost of materials.

        Usual and customary considerations of fees for reproduction rights may
        include consultation time, intended use, extent of use (border, full
        page, spread), length of time for the specified use, and the number of
        rights purchased.

        Trade Practices
        The following trade practices have been used historically, and through
        such tradition are accepted as standard:

        1. The intended use of the art must be stated clearly in a contract,
        purchase order, or letter of agreement stating the price and terms of

        2. The artwork cannot be altered in any way, except for what occurs
        during the normal printing process, without the written consent of the
        artist. Since it is very easy to alter art electronically these days,
        the client should inform the artist if he or she wishes to alter the
        artwork and then do so only with the permission and supervision of the
        illustrator. Anything less is a violation of professional good faith
        and ethical practice.

        3. Return of original artwork to the artist is automatic unless
        otherwise negotiated. Clients are usually expected to make their
        selection of marbled papers for use within 14 days.

        4. Samples of the finished product are customarily sent to the marbler
        upon completion; this is usually specified in the contract.

        5. Artists normally sell only first reproduction rights unless
        otherwise stated.

        6. Fees for custom work are normally charged separately from any
        reproduction rights sold. Current data indicate that higher fees are
        charged for creating an unusually large number of custom samples.
        Additional payments are routinely made by the client for changes or
        alterations requested after the original assignment is agreed upon.

        7. Surveys show that fees for multiples of a marbled pattern(s) are
        often discounted below the per pattern fee.

        8. Payment is expected upon delivery of the assignment, not upon its

        9. If the artwork is to be used for other than its original purpose,
        the price is usually negotiated as soon as possible. Note that the
        secondary use of an illustration may be of greater value than the
        primary use. Although there is no set formula for reuse fees, current
        surveys indicate that artists add a reuse fee ranging from 20 to 100
        percent of the fee that would have been charged had the illusĀ¬tration
        been commissioned for the new use.

        10. Illustrators should negotiate reuse arrangeĀ¬ments with the
        original commissioning party with speed, efficiency, and all due
        respect to the client's position.

        11. Historically, artists have charged higher fees for rush work than
        those listed here, often by an additional 20 to 150 percent.

        12. If the illustrator satisfies the client's requirements and the
        finished work in still not used, full compensation should be made.
        However, historically, if a job is canceled after the work is begun,
        through no fault of the artist, a cancellation or kill fee is often
        provided. If a custom job is canceled, current data indicate that 100
        percent of the fee is expected. Cancellation fees for reproduction
        rights after the contract is signed but prior to execution of finished
        art have been found to be 50 percent of the negotiated fee.

        13. Historically, a rejection fee has been agreed upon if the
        assignment is terminated because the preliminary or finished work is
        found to be not reasonably satisfactory and steps to correct the
        problem have been exhausted. The rejection fee for finished work has
        often been more than 50 percent of the full price, depending upon the
        reason for rejection and the complexity of the job. When the job is
        rejected at the sketch stage, current surveys indicate that the
        customary fee is 20 to 50 percent of the original price. This fee may
        be lens for quick, rough sketches and more for highly rendered, time
        consuming work.

        14. Artists considering working on speculation assume all risks, and
        should evaluate them carefully when offered such arrangements. For a
        thorough discussion of the rinks, see the Speculation section in
        Chapter 3, Professional Issues. However, the creation of work
        initiated by a marbler for presentation and sale is commonly accepted
        in the textile and greeting card industries. Recent surveys have found
        that it is also standard practice to obtain a written guarantee of
        payment for creating any new work specifically requested by clients.

        15. The Graphic Artists Guild is unalterably opposed to the use of
        work for hire contracts, in which authorship and all rights that go
        with it are transferred to the commissioning party and the independent
        artist is treated as an employee for copyright purposes only. The
        independent artist receives no employee benefits and loses the right
        to claim authorship or to profit from future use of the work forever.
        Additional information on work for hire can be found in Chapter 2,
        Legal Rights and Issues.
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