By Lauren Panepinto
One of the hardest parts of the job for artists (and art directors) is dealing with legalities. Specifically Contracts & Copyrights. The "Getting You Paid" bootcamp Marc & I give as part of Drawn + Drafted has been one of the most popular (you can download the one-sheet and sample contract here) but there's no way we can cover every question and clause examples in one bootcamp.
So I was thrilled to stumble across (thank you, internet!) this fantastic resource maintained by Columbia Law School: Keep Your Copyrights
Look, I know contracts are scary, and registering your copyrights can seem overwhelming (it's not I swear). And when you have questions about contracts clients give you there needs to be someplace you can go and research.
So start here, and then also check out these other great resources:
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
—This is a link to the NYC chapter, but there's chapters in many cities/states that you can find by googling
—Different levels of licenses you can add to your website, to signal to/remind people that they can't just use your art willy nilly.
—Sample contracts specifically for Illustrators
—A good site for educating yourself and to forward people to when they ask you to do spec work. Another good site is the AIGA Official Position on Spec Work
And last but not least, Drawn + Drafted is working on not only taking the Getting You Hired Bootcamp online next, but we're also getting our fantastic lawyers at Kushnirsky Gerber to work on a special Legal Bootcamp in the near future. Sign up for our mailing list at Drawn + Drafted to hear about those projects as they develop.
And if you need a lawyer that understands artists and visual/legal issues, then I could not recommend contacting Kushnirsky Gerber any more highly. Tell them I sent you. (I mean come on, how many lawyers have a cool illustration on their homepage, amirite?)