Friday, March 16, 2007

artwork ownership

We got an excellent question via email today about rights and ownership of the artwork contributed to the etsyjournal project, especially in relation to our possible plans for merchandise and reproduction books. This is an important issue, so I thought I'd share my answer here as well.

We want to respect everyone's creative property rights with this project. All our artists should retain ownership of their artwork. You created it, you own it. By signing up for the project, everyone agrees to "release" their work into the world and lose a bit of control over it via the collaborative process. But that doesn't mean it is any less your work in a legal sense.

Nothing will become the intellectual property of Etsy; Etsy will just own the finished books much like a gallery owns works of art. In fact, etsyjournal isn't specifically an Etsy-run project, so the company is even further removed from the artwork in that respect. While the staff is fully supportive of it, it's actually just a personal project Heather & I are doing together.

Before anyone's artwork appears in reproduction books (or any other sort of merchandise), we'll have to get their permission to reproduce it. Additionally, everyone will always get full credit for their artwork everywhere we display images of their work (blog, flickr, merchandise, etc) attributed to their real name and their Etsy username. Part of our goals for this project is to promote individual Etsy artists and their shops, along with creating a physical manifestation of the creative spirit within our virtual community.

I am hopeful that most of the artists who've signed up for this project will be excited at the prospect of their work being "published" (even if on a small scale). If someone decides they would prefer not to allow us to reproduce their artwork, we will honor that request.