So i am new to t-shirt design. And here recently I have designed my own t-shirt and posted it on a web page where t-shirts designs are reviewed. My design received a pretty good response. Witch resulted in three email asking how much the tee design would be worth. I responded $300 but for a one time print or time period of use. And once that time period was up the rights of the t-shirt design went back to me. The response on this was not a positive one, in the fact that there is still no sell of the design.
The reason for this post is to get some response on how this was handled. What should I have or shouldn't have done?
As Dave said temporary contracts are fine. However if I pay around $300 for a design I would probably expect to own full rights to it or at least exclusive apparel rights. I think that price is a bit steep for just a limited time run. You can think about it this way:
What prevents you, the design owner, from cashing in on my success on the design that I purchased for a limited time. I would be doing all the marketing, etc,. and if it becomes a big thing then you could always turnaround and keep making a profit from all my hard work after the time period is up.
So you see while it's perfectly fine to keep the rights to a design and even sell it for trial runs or whatever, in my opinion I think that price is more on par with the selling of a design with all rights transferred and that's probably how the person that contacted you sees it as well.
It'd mildly unusual, but wholly fine. Personally I would only consider entering into such an arrangement (from the purchasing side) if the rights were exclusive for that time period - preferably globally, but at least to a geographic area.
It's not unusual for people to be incredibly tight-fisted with what they're willing to pay artists, so you most likely just had people baulk at the price.
One of the challenges of licensing a design over a period of time is actually enforcing the terms and conditions of the agreement. For instance, if you license a design for 6 months and the purchaser gets 1,000 shirts made but only sells 500 over the 6 month period, what happens to the remaining 500? Can they continue to sell them? Do you order them destroyed? If so, how do you enforce that? If they don't comply, will you truly file a lawsuit against them? There is so much to consider that sometimes it makes more sense to simplify the process.
One alternative is to sell the design and grant the purchaser unlimited use for an unlimited amount of time... but... have two different price points, one for exclusive use (this would be more expensive) and one for non-exclusive use (this would be less expensive). For exclusive use, you promise not to sell the design to anyone else, but in return for that, you get more money. For non-exclusive use, you are allowed to sell the design to others, but you get paid less for it.
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