In addition, if you desire to see a selection of low resolution images that I reserve strictly for Licensees (you) to use and that I do not use to sell prints of in my own shop, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to send them to you in an e-mail. If you have a particular piece in mind that you already know you’d like to license, please include the name of that work in your e-mail, along with a link where you found it.
Licensing artwork is definitely an agreement that needs discussion and not a one-time conversation about the terms, so please be prepared to supply me with as much information as you can about what you’d like to do with my work. Some examples are:
- What will you use the image for?
- A printed product– what kind? What colors? What materials and companies?
- A digital product– what website? Is it an article? Is it for your blog? What does that blog, article, or website do, and who do they target as an overall audience?
- How will you print the item if you’re doing a printed product?
- Are you doing giclée or art print? Are you making hats? Are you putting together an art compilation book?
- What company will you use? What are their printing tools and process like?
- Where will these be manufactured? Do they manufacture goods in a sustainable and humane way? Do they pay starving/poverty wages?
- How will you distribute the image?
- What websites will you sell on?
- How many times do you intend to print the image? How many times do you intend to use the image on your website?
- Do you want to use an image that’s already made, or are you interested in commissioning a piece?
- Do you want to use an image that’s already made but with some alterations of your own?
And so on. As you can tell, there’s plenty to think about, and I definitely want us both to be pleased with and benefit from the agreement! Because whatever you use my work for will reflect on my brand, my reputation, my code of ethics, and so on, I may ask you further questions or make suggested changes, alternatives, etc. to better meet both of our needs. The more information you can provide me with in the beginning, the quicker I can make a decision for you and get started on signing an agreement with you.
In general, I will allow you to use my work on printed items such as apparel, greeting cards, bags, home goods, and so on. I do, however, have limits on what companies you are allowed to work with in order to stay true to my own code of ethics and values. For example, if you want to license my work so you can sell a water bottle design to the Nestlé company which plunders the environment at the expense of Indigenous people and the environment and uses slave labor, I will not license you my work because it violates my code of ethics to do work with companies that willfully harm marginalized people and damage the earth.
I do recognize, however, that we live in a capitalist society that forces our hand in certain ways, especially when we ourselves are marginalized. So if you are a marginalized person who lives in an area where there are few options for gathering affordable materials that are not produced and/or distributed by any of Nestlé’s subsidiaries in order to run your business, I’m not gonna hold that against you, and we can definitely draw up a licensing agreement. This is just one example of what I mean by this, so please feel free to discuss with me any questions or concerns you have about this.
If, however, you are an established company making six figures in net profit and are owned and largely run by white cisgender men, then sorry, kid, you have more than enough resources you can access if you choose to do the work, so I will hold you accountable for using sources that comply with my code of ethics more strictly.
Important Note on Ownership
When you license any work with me, you are not paying for and therefore will not own the rights to that work. I, as the artist, retain all rights to the work, including reproduction, unless we otherwise agree in writing in the relevant contract.
Royalties and Advance Fee
For all my merchandise licensing work, I use what are called Royalties and Advance Fee, which means that you will pay both an upfront, non refundable amount prior to me sending you the files and monthly royalties on the gross profit you receive from every use of my work after that, minus the advance fee amount. Here’s an example of how it works:
Let’s say Jada, the client, agrees to pay me a 10% royalty on her gross profit from any images of mine that she uses and to pay $100.00 as the non refundable advance on July 1st. Jada then orders her products with my work on them, lists them for sale, then receives $50.00 in gross profit for July from those items with my work on them. So for the month of July, Jada owes me no royalties yet because the accumulated gross profit she made using my images was only $50.00. If Jada then earns only $25.00 in gross profit in the following month of August, the accumulated gross profit is now $75.00 for the combined months of July and August, so Jada again owes no royalties to me for the month of August. If Jada then earns $30.00 in gross profit for the following month of September, the accumulated gross profit is now $105.00. So Jada will now owe me royalties on the $5.00 that exceeded the initial $100.00 advance fee amount for the month of September. This means that Jada will now owe me the agreed upon 10% of the $5.00, which comes out to $0.50 in royalties at the end of the month of September, and she will continue to pay the agreed upon 10% of gross profit each month until the end date of the signed agreement. So if she earns $60.00 in October, she will owe me 10% of that $60.00, which is $6.00 at the end of October, and so on until the end date of the agreement.
It’s worth noting here, too, that I will require receipts and any other relevant information pertaining to your sales every month, due at the same time of payment, in PDF format. This is non-negotiable, so please be sure that you can provide this monthly and at any time I request the records.
I accept payment for my licensed works via Stripe or direct payment for online payments, or I can accept payments in cash if you’re local to Brooklyn, NY; all payments for licensed work are non refundable and are required to be paid in full before I will send you the files you will license. I must receive the full amount of payment no later than ten business days after I receive your signed contract; if you don’t send the payment before the deadline or if the payment isn’t cleared to my bank account in time, the licensing agreement will be cancelled without refund, and you will owe $75.00 as a cancellation fee which will be due five business days after the cancellation date, no later than fifteen business days after I receive your signed contract. Please keep in mind the processing times required by your method of payment; if you submit the full payment on the 9th business day after I receive the contract, that may not be enough time for the payment to be cleared and deposited into my bank account, so be sure to provide yourself plenty of time for the payment to clear and be deposited into my account.
In order to avoid any delay, I recommend that you pay immediately upon my confirmation that I have received your signed contract. If you know you won’t have the funds to submit for payment until a later date, I would suggest that you not send me the signed contract until you’re sure you’re able to provide the payment– and give me a heads up! These fees and non refundables are largely there to keep people from wasting my time with requests they have no intention of following through with, not to rip you off.
I will not accept any payment prior to my receipt of your signed contract. If I have not confirmed in writing that I have received your signed contract, please do not submit payment for the licensed work.
My prices for licenses will vary based on the complexity, size, quantity, and additional requirements of your intended use, but all license prices start at a minimum of $100.00 for the advance fee and a minimum of 5% for the royalties; these are non-negotiable.
After signing our agreement and after you receive my files, I do require that you provide me with a free sample of the product(s) with my image on it for me to keep at no charge for either the product or the shipping and handling prior to you making the products public. This is something I do to ensure that the quality of your product is up to my own standards and will not be something that degrades the value of my brand or my reputation as an artist. You will need my prior written approval of the quality of the image use on your product prior to selling anything, so I highly recommend that you first obtain a sample for both yourself and for me before ever ordering a large batch of product in case it’s not of the quality I require. If you choose to ignore this and order a large quantity of items that I later do not approve, you will not be allowed to sell that batch of product and will be required to destroy or donate it as I determine based on the quality without any compensation for your loss. So please heed my advice!
It’s also a good idea to keep in mind any delays that may occur due to ordering samples. If you’re ordering several product types, I will require a sample of each for the initial production and for any subsequent changes. So if you print my work on hoodies, mugs, and notebooks, you will be responsible for sending me one sample of the hoodie, one sample of the mug, and one sample of the notebook until I give you written approval. I’m not going to be super nit picky just to be a pain in the ass, but I’m also not going to sign off on any products that I feel demean my work.
Keep in mind that we will discuss the quality of your products prior to signing an agreement, so as long as you order your products according to our agreement, I have no desire to purposefully rip you off by demanding something better than we agreed to. For example, if we agree to you licensing one image for a series of purses that are going to be offered in black, gray, and white, and the purses will be made with good quality materials and stitches from a reputable company, I will not suddenly proclaim upon receipt of the sample that you must actually outsource the purses to Gucci or some such. But if we agreed to those terms and then you decided to order a batch in red and yellow in addition to the black, gray, and white, or if you decide to have your cousin hand make all the purses, then I’m going to insist that you change it back to what we agreed upon. But hey, if your cousin makes better purses than where you going to order from and you can demonstrate that to me and also talk to me about it beforehand, I’m probably gonna give it the green light. I want to be flexible and work with you, so if you desire a reasonable change after we sign our agreement and you let me know in writing, I’ll try my best to work with you.
I will not accept licensing requests for any manufacturing of my works that include imagery and/or text that meets the following criteria:
- Goods that are hateful, violent, or oppressive toward any marginalized groups
- Goods that are, by my judgement, pornographic in nature, violent, gory, or otherwise obscene
- Goods that depict underage children
- Goods that depict animal abuse/torture
- Goods that deliberately replicates or plagiarizes another artist or artist style
- Goods that are or contains fan art or any art that deliberately replicates or plagiarizes a character created by an artist, author, company, etc.
- Goods that don’t align with my brand, reputation, or style (for example, if you’d like to license my work to sell pizza– I love pizza, but it’s not how I want my work to be used)
I also reserve the right to refuse to accept licensing requests for any goods or deals that make me uncomfortable or violate my personal values or code of ethics.
Please note that legally I cannot enter into any contracts or agreements with anyone who is not of age in the state they reside in. I personally feel this violates youth rights, but unfortunately, I won’t do much good to anyone sitting in jail for doing something against the law or being denied payment because an agreement is unenforceable when a parent refuses to pay for what a minor has signed. So please know that if you are under the age of majority in your state or country, your parent or legal guardian must be the person who signs this contract, and they will be the sole person responsible for upholding the terms of the agreement. Make sure to check your state’s (or country’s) age of majority; in some cases, it’s older than the U.S. federal requirement of 18 years old. For United States residents, you can check this out by going to FindLaw’s State Legal Ages Laws page.
Parents and legal guardians, I would like to take this moment to remind you that you cannot legally require your underage child to pay you back for anything you sign or agree to on their behalf, so if you would like to try to force your child into an unlawful agreement because you signed a lawful one with me acknowledging your responsibility to the terms, I’m not the person to do business with, and I recommend you look elsewhere for your desires.
Yay! You made it through all that! Thanks for taking the time to read these important notes, and if you feel we’re a good fit for your licensing needs, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below. Please note that you can use this e-mail address if you’re interested in getting a commissioned work to license, as well. Please also include a link to your website/shop, and I look forward to working with you!