These are the ethical guidelines I use to develop my business agreements with my clients.
In 1945 a group of artists and art directors in New York City, concerned with growing abuses and misunderstandings—as well as with an increasing disregard-of uniform standards of conduct, met to consider possibilities for improvement. They realized that any efforts must have the most widespread backing and, further, that it must be a continuing, not a temporary, activity. On their recommendation, three leading New York art organizations together established and financed a committee, which wrote and published a Code of Fair Practice for the graphic communication industry in 1948. In 1989, the committee revised the code.
Formulated in 1948, the Code was conceived to promote equity for those engaged in creating, selling, buying, and using graphic arts. The Code has been used successfully sInce its formulation by thousands of industry professionals to establish equitable relationships in the practices of selling and buying art.
The word "artist" should be understood to include creative people in the field of visual communications such as illustration, graphic design, photography, film, and television. This code provides the graphic communications industry with an accepted standard of ethics and professional conduct. It presents guidelines for the voluntary conduct of persons in the industry, which may be modified by written agreement between the parties. Each artist individually should decide whether to enter art contests or design competitions, provide free services, work on speculation, or work on a contingent basis. Each artist should decide independently how to price his or her work.
Article 1. Negotiations between an artist or the artist's representative and a client should be conducted only through an authorized buyer.
Article 2. Orders or agreements between an artist or artist's representative and buyer should be in writing and shall include the specific rights which are being transferred, the specific fee arrangement agreed to by the parties, delivery date, and a summarized description of the work.
Article 3. All changes or additions not due to the fault of the artist or artist's representative should be billed to the buyer as an additional and separate charge.
Article 4. There should be no charges to the buyer for revisions or retakes made necessary by errors on the part of the artist or the artist's representative.
Article 5. If work commissioned by a buyer is postponed or cancelled, a "kill-fee" should be negotiated based on time allotted, effort expended and expenses incurred.
Article 6. Completed work shall be paid for in full and the artwork shall be returned promptly to the artist.
Article 7. Alterations shall not be made without consulting the artist. Where alterations or retakes are necessary, the artist shall be given the opportunity of making such changes.
Article 8. The artist shall notify the buyer of any anticipated delay in delivery. Should the artist fail to keep the contract through unreasonable delay or nonconformance with agreed specifications, it will be considered a breach of contract by the artist.
Article 10. There shall be no undisclosed rebates, discounts, gifts, or bonuses requested by or given to buyers by the artist or representative.
Article 11. Artwork and copyright ownership are vested in the hands of the artist.
Article 12. Original artwork remains the property of the artist unless it is specifically purchased. It is distInct from the purchase of any reproduction rights. All transactions shall be in writing.
Article 13. In case of copyright transfers, only specified rights are transferred. All unspecified rights remain vested with the artist. All transactions shall be in writing.
Article 14. Commissioned artwork is not to be considered as "work for hire".
Article 15. When the price of work is based on limited use and later such work is used more extensively, the artist shall receive additional payment.
Article 16. If exploratory work, comprehensives, or preliminary photography from an assignment are subsequently used for reproduction, the artist's prior permission shall be secured and the artist shall receive fair additional payment.
Article 17. If exploratory work, comprehensives, or photographs are bought from an artist with the intention or possibility that another artist will be assigned to do the finished work, this shall be in writing at the time of placing the order.
Article 18. If no transfer of copyright ownership has been executed, the publisher of any reproduction of artwork shall publish the artist's copyright notice if the artist so requests at the time of agreement.
Article 19. The right to remove the artist's name on published artwork is subject to agreement between artist and buyer.
Article 20. There shall be no plagiarism of any artwork.
Article 21. If an artist is specifically requested to produce any artwork during unreasonable working hours, fair additional remuneration shall be paid.
Article 22. All artwork or photography submitted as samples to a buyer should bear the name of the artists responsible for the work. An artist shall not claim authorship of another's work.
Article 23. All companies and their employees who receive artist portfolios, samples, etc. shall be responsible for the return of the portfolio to the artist in the same condition as received.
Article 27. Examples of an artist's work furnished to a representative or submitted to a prospective buyer shall remain the property of the artist's consent and shall be returned promptly to the artist in good condition.
Article 29. Interpretation of the Code for the purposes of mediation and arbitration shall be in the hands of the Joint Ethics Committee and is subject to changes and additions at the discretion of the parent organizations through their appointed representatives on the Committee. Submitting to mediation and arbitration under the auspices of the Joint Ethics Committee is voluntary and requires the consent of all parties to the dispute.
Artwork ownership, copyright, and ownership and rights transferred after January 1, 1978, are to be in compliance with the Federal Copyright Revision Act of 1976.
Copyright © 1995 by The Joint Ethics Committee, P.O. Box 179, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10017
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