Art with Cause

Copyright notice: All original photographs, images, designs and text appearing in Art with Cause Blog are the property of J.Murray and are protected under United States and international copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced, copied, stored, or manipulated without the written permission from the Artist: Jessica J. Murray. No images are within Public Domain. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Friday, April 5, 2013

No, it is my intellectual property

I was in a social situation recently... meeting new people... having a good time..
Much of the conversation in the small group was typical "glad to make your acquaintance" type conversation:
First name? Jessica,
Do for a living? Office manager at a law firm
...and this is inevitably when someone in the group who already knows me says - But she is an artist, she works in an office just for extra money (well, to pay the bills because people do not support the arts like they should - because people think what I do is easy and not hard work and they think I should just give it away and not pay for it... sorry, this post might be a little rant!)

This one person in the group, was just a little 'off' to me... I can't say what it was, but I found that I had my guard up with her - but not with anyone else. (let's call her creepy girl - for lack of my ability to call her anything nicer)

So Creepy Girl perks up when she heard I was an artist and says; "YOU must draw me a picture!"
I pause before answering - there are potential buyers in every group - I need to choose my words carefully.
Creepy Girl continues: "I can pay you! Draw me a wizard."

I am still quietly thinking  -  but now I am thinking about something else:
  • On one of my terrible dates over this past year, I had one man tell me I must give him a blow job. (I don't do as I am told - just ask my mother.) As I started to steam inside and he knew I was going to say no - he must have thought he could sweeten the deal with: "I'll pay you."  At that point, I pulled out of my purse enough money to cover my meal (we were at a restaurant), and put it on the table, I stood up, and pulled my coat from off the back of my chair... And obviously misjudging my calm, quiet, and deliberate moves he says: "blow me... (and starts to describe how he wants it done - which I will spare you the details of)" Coat on - and I walked out the door. I never looked back. 
Creepy girl must have kept talking - heck she didn't stop talking the whole night. But I sat there comparing her request to a man requesting I play the role of a cheep prostitute. It gave me the same feeling.

So finally I said to her: I do not draw wizards - I have a portfolio of original art work you can choose from in a large price range - would you like to see my portfolio?
She wants a wizard - she thinks I am ignorant for missing the fact that she wants a wizard. I didn't miss it - I don't draw or paint wizards.She says she'll commission me to draw her a wizard. I said "great, we will set up a formal meeting time with my portfolio and my commission contract and we'll make it official - when is good for you?" and I swiped the screen of my phone to schedule her in.  I have never met a real art buyer who backed out of such an offer. (maybe they back out when discussing my abilities, styles, vision, and it doesn't work with their desired outcome - maybe they back out when they want a mural size painting that will take me 12 months and I tell them my price - but no one turns down the first meeting, except those people who want something for nothing.)

Its like I am a lil circus freak who can do a neat trick for their entertainment. (oh don't get me started about circus freaks!!!)

Eventually, the conversation moves on and she never schedules a meeting... but then she says to me: "So you work in a law office? I think I need a lawyer." (In my head I am thinking "ooo boy! here we go..." insert rolling eyes here) and, as was her usual conversational pattern, she continued speaking before I verbalized a response. "So I commissioned another artist to draw me a wizard - I ask every artist I meet, I collect them - and now she is selling cups and t-shirts with MY drawing on them."
"ok - so why do you need a lawyer?" Holy cow!! I got out a response!!!
"Because I commissioned it - I own it and the rights to it. She cannot continue to use it. I have even tried to get it copyrighted but I don't have all the answers about it to have it done and she won't give me the answers. It is mine now and I don't want her using it...." and on and on - without taking a breath.
It was fine that she carried on - my brain was exploding! I needed a minute!! She was trying to copyright someone's art work?! She was... wait... what?! owww my head hurts. where do I even begin???

"First - the law office I work in does not do IP law. You'll have to google search for an Intellectual Property Lawyer.  Second - I DO NOT KNOW THE LAW AND I AM NOT IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM GIVING YOU ANY LEGAL ADVICE. Let me repeat that: I DO NOT KNOW THE LAW AND I AM NOT IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM GIVING YOU ANY LEGAL ADVICE. So what I am about to say is my personal opinion, do you understand that? {she nods her head} Good what did I say?"
(well, I can't be too careful here, I am dealing with an idiot!) Once she repeats it back and I am sure she understands that she is not getting any legal advice... I say, "So you commissioned the artwork and the copyright? Do you have a contract?"
Creepy girl says, "Yes, and I have all the emails we exchanged. I said I was buying the artwork - So I get the copyright too."
So I try to explain that if someone buys one of my original works, I still own the copyright and can still mass produce the image unless my written contract explicitly restricts me. The more popular the image is, it increases in value. So the more any artist sells the reproduction, the more the original work is worth. So she should be happy her purchase is increasing in value. The work is still the intellectual property of the artist who created it.
She looked at me dazed... then she looked kinda angry... (why do I bother trying to explain things?)
She wants it because she wants to sell reproductions of it. She says it is her intellectual property because she thought of it and told the artist what to draw.
So I kindly told her to look for a lawyer who specializes in IP law and see if they can help her.
Not that anyone could.

Why don't people understand? Why? why? why?  My artwork is mine. Please pay for it - so I can make more.
ugh - it makes me want to crawl under a rock and hide there forever.

Side note reminder... all the artwork posted on this site is protected by copyright law. I would appreciate if you would purchase the art work and not steal it. I can, and have taken legal action against those who break the law. I hate to have to do it - I hate that part of being an artist - but it is necessary.  And to those of you who follow me regularly, and support me emotionally, and buy my art - Thank you!

Clip art is NOT a Jessica Murray Original

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm glad you did the rant--saves me from having to do it. People just DON'T GET IT, just as they don't get why you charge so much for "just" a piece of canvas (or in my case "just" an 8x10 piece of paper). You have my empathy.


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