Want more like this? Try searching the Archives for law.
Sony Pictures (“SPE”) have posted jobs on their site for storyboard artists and visual development artists, but you might want to read the terms closely before you apply. Mark Mayerson did, and his analysis suggests you may want to look elsewhere for work:
[…] Sony takes ownership of your portfolio material when you apply for the job. If you are submitting samples of work you have done for other companies, Sony wants you to assign the rights to them. You clearly don’t have the authority to do that for work you don’t own, so that means that you are not legally allowed to show Sony work you’ve done for other companies. Sort of defeats the purpose of a submission portfolio, doesn’t it? What’s clearly disturbing though, is that any original work in your portfolio becomes their property. This does not depend on whether they hire you or not, they get ownership because you applied.
Is Mark overreacting? Well, it’s hard to take that view when SPE’s own agreement says cringeworthy things like:
…any intellectual property or materials […] shall become the sole property of SPE to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law and will be considered “works made for hire” or “commissioned works” owned by SPE.
Or this little gem:
SPE […] shall be entitled to the unrestricted use of Submissions for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, without acknowledgment or additional compensation to you.
What the what now?? Maybe someone from Sony Pictures can speak up to clarify this?
(Thanks to James Provost for this tip!)
If you’re out to make a great app or better hammer, there will be copy cats galore. As for nice artists looking to do something with your own characters… what I really must warn you about are crafters who rip IP. Boy do I hate them. I’ll take giant corporate entities ripping on us over crafters any day.
See, when it’s the giant companies, it’s always some young new in-house designer getting lazy and throwing existing IP into the mix, figuring nobody will know. It’s an easy fix, they pay your legal fees and remove the product, done deal.
But crafters? They don’t have the $ to pay legal fees. But you will always have to pay yours, and you will always always have to stop every single one of them.
It makes tremendous sense, but it’s not something most of us would think about until we were in that position. The image here are a crafter’s copies of his work. Copying is not always the “highest form of flattery” you can pay someone.
Observers of the ongoing Kirby family v Marvel case have long wondered what Stan Lee would have to say on the subject. Now, finally, we get to find out. Last year, he and several others were called to give depositions in the case which involves the Kirby family’s quest to terminate Marvel’s copyrights on 45 characters Kirby helped create. Transcripts of these depositions have recently become public. It’s 4:00 AM at BC USA headquarters and I was about to call it a night when I noticed that this material had become public. […] this material is sure to be dissected at the atomic level for years to come.
Bold text is mine, because I thought it was pretty funny and perfectly astute. Still, from the point of view not only of comic book fans and Kirby fans, this is especially fascinating for all of us who “draw for a living” and a good reminder to read those contracts when they come across your desk. And when they don’t.