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Artist For Hire Legal Question on artist signature

1633 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  PositiveDave
Hi, I was wondering if anyone has any advice for me. I recently hired an artist to re-do an illustration for me for my t-shirt company. He was paid a flat rate and it was agreed that all copyrights will be transferred to me once the project was complete.

However I noticed in the final artwork he put his signature on the illustration. I have never seen this done before. Does this mean he is using a underhanded tactic to claim ownership to the artwork in hopes I wouldn't notice it? I have checked his portfolio and I noticed his signature is not on other artwork he has completed for other t-shirt designs.

I always check these things because I remember working with an artist for hire many years ago. He was okay with the first design as I got the original illustration. However upon getting a second design done he started to act unprofessionally and wanted a cut in any future profits while I risk all the money on the venture. I explained to him that he was an artist for hire and copyrights are transferred to me once payment is complete. He then signed that artwork similar to the current situation. My gut feeling is something is not right and would like some feedback from you guys as I have paid this artist a good chunk of money. I do not want to be taken for a ride down the road.

Thank you.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
What does your contract say?
I suspect that if the contract does not clearly state that copyright is transferred then it remains with the artist.
contact the artist and ask. If he was re-doing an illustration I would explain that the original did not have a signature and it wasnt something you asked for. It may be something he has started doing out of habit and the other art you saw is older. Or you may be getting ready to look for a new artist. luck to you.
For artists, it becomes second nature to sign your work so he might have done it out of habit. If you have a sign contract stating that you now own the design after payment and have proof of you paying him, you can delect his signature no questions asked. If you dont have proof of payment he could say you didnt pay him and he still owns the piece.
You could own the copyright,
own the exclusive rights to use the artwork, or,
have the right to use the artwork non-exclusively.
What is your agreement?
Thanks everyone for your responses. Yes I do have an official receipt and invoice from him. In it is shows the funds have been paid to him and he states that the artwork copyrights are transferred to me upon completion of the final.
Tell him the signature has to go!
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