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[License] When you hire an artist

mangaroomangaroo Posts: 419Member
Hi guys, I was wondering in situations where you have paid an artist to do for example a character or background for your game, did you draw up some sort of agreement on how the pictures will be used, or is enough to write it in paypal description of payment? Planning ahead a little but hiring my first few artists and couldn't find too much information about contracts etc, was wondering what you guys did


  • DimensionGamesDimensionGames Posts: 993PRO
    As a small independent developer I didn't feel the need for a contract with the artist I hired and am in the process of hiring another. I wouldn't worry in my experience artists feel once you've paid its yours to do with what you like. Hopefully someone with slightly more experience with artists can help you out.

  • osucowboy18osucowboy18 Posts: 1,307Member
    I have never signed, or made my artist sign a contract. The deal we have worked out is I'll pay half up front through a PayPal invoice, and after I say everything is done, I pay him the second half. I don't think you will have an issue if you don't have your artist sign a contract. Good luck :)

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  • tenrdrmertenrdrmer Posts: 9,934Member, Sous Chef, Senior Sous-Chef
    To be completely technical and legally safe, you need it. And honestly it protects both parties. However it is not required by law that you have it so if you trust your guy you will probably never have problem. It's just one of those things where you can go on pure trust or you can feel a little safer by having a contract. I know several people on here that don't have an contracts even for revenue sharing deals. To me thats crazy, but if it works for them it works and completely legal.

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  • mangaroomangaroo Posts: 419Member
    Thanks guys, i think i will take it easy for now, mainly to maintain the solid relationship and also that i expect i'd need a lawyer to draw up the contract which isn't really in the budget. Will be using paypal invoices as suggested as well. cheers!
  • butterbeanbutterbean Posts: 4,315Member, PRO
    I think contracts are good for revenue share, and are a must. However for artist work, you could probably get away with not doing it.

    Contracts are great, but are meaningless unless you have a rapport with your artist/programmer etc. Trusting who you work with is more important than a contract because the hassle of enforcing it would be more costly than anything.
  • ozboybrianozboybrian Posts: 2,102PRO
    I know you got your question answered but if anything where to go bad, i've got all my Skype logs and emails etc and paypal invoices.

    But it might help the artists peace of mind knowing he'd get paid.
    Keep in mind if something does go wrong word would get around.
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  • XerXer Posts: 6Member
    Contracts are pretty important, even if you have existing relationships that may not require one. It protects everyone involved-- the artist and the client. Get in the habit of utilizing a contract!

    A lawyer isn't necessary. A quick google search will yield results on how to write one. You can take an example generic contract you find online and change it up so it suits your needs. A good, simple contract covers information like:

    -what amount of work is expected. this includes revisions and final products.
    -when the work will be completed.
    -agreement on how often correspondence is made (so important!).
    -payment schedule (half up front, half at completion).
    -whether or not the contractor can use the work as a portfolio piece (important if you don't want to have them showing off work before you release the game).
    -who retains creative rights to the artwork.
    -whether or not the artwork can be used in a context outside of it's original purpose (examples include: another game, marketing material, web promotions, etc).

    While an ongoing email/skype conversation can technically be called a verbal or written contract, it is good to have this all in writing. It is only a page or two of information. While some things may be obvious to an ethical person hiring another ethical person, it also acts as a great stress reliever when objectives are clear and centralized. In addition, it stops arguments from happening when both parties know what must be done. This doesn't mean you can't be flexible, but it will prevent artists from abusing deadlines and clients from abusing work amount.

    Artists, if you are proud of your work and ideas, use a contract if your client does not provide one for you. For tiny jobs involving small amounts of money, a quick email with a list of what is expected can suffice. You don't want your client making a sequel to a hit game by reusing your artwork without monetary compensation, unless you were okay with that from the beginning.

    It also serves the purpose of making you appear reputable and trustworthy-- very important if you want to snag a big client/contractor in the future!

    That being said, it is good that some of you have healthy relationships with your artists! That is how it should be. :)
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