What Does “Creator Owned” Mean?

The Artist - Self Portrait, William Orpen, 1917

What does it mean when a publisher or distributor says that the things they sell are “creator owned”?

It’s a great question, but (surprise!) it doesn’t have a simple or straightforward answer. … Read More

Work For Hire or Copyright Assignment?

By Giulia van Pelt via Flickr.com

Here’s a question that keeps popping up in my conversations with creators:

What’s the difference between a “work made for hire” and when I assign my copyright to someone else? In both cases I no longer own the copyright, so what’s the difference?… Read More

How to Prepare for a Negotiation When You Don’t Have the Time

By Dirk Knight via Flickr.com

“I’ve got to negotiate with someone in 30 minutes. What should I do?”

My usual response to this question is, “stall.” Postpone the meeting, call in sick, delay at all costs. … Read More

If You Have a DIY Contract, Do These Things

By Cody Geary via Flickr.com

When you first start working for yourself, having a DIY contract can make sense. There are a lot of good resources online so you don’t have to start from scratch, not to mention blog posts for just about every industry with Very Strong Opinions™ about what should and shouldn’t be in a standard contract.

Most importantly, DIYing a contract means that you can make sure … Read More

Understanding Rates in Context

By SamahR via Flickr.com

If I could wave my magic negotiation wand and change just one thing that would help artists and freelancers in their negotiations it would be this: I would have them share information with one another about what they’re paid.

Despite popular belief, power, bravado and money do not determine who the victor is in a negotiation. How well you do in a negotiation depends on … Read More

Negotiating With Clients Over Money


If one of your goals for the new year is earning more money, you’ve got two options: work more or get paid more for the work you do. I like the second option, personally, but I know it scares a lot of people because it means they’ll have to negotiate over MONEY.… Read More


By Austin Kleon via Flickr.com

The fear of missing out leads a lot of creators to sign bad contracts.

I know, because I’ve talked to a lot of smart, curious, professional creators who’ve signed bad contracts. And I know that signing those contracts had very little to do with how smart the creators were and just about everything to do with the fear of missing out.… Read More

What’s This “Orphan Works” Business About?

By Eva Rinaldi via Flickr.com

A couple days ago my Twitter stream blew up with angry declarations about orphan works and pleas for artists to write their representatives demanding that they protect artists’ rights.

I was more than a little surprised. Flabbergasted would be a more accurate description.… Read More

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What Does “Creator Owned” Mean?

What does it mean when a publisher or distributor says that the things they sell are "creator owned"? It's a great question, but (surprise!) it doesn't have a simple or straightforward answer.  That's because "creator owned" isn't a legal term. There isn't a legal definition of what the phrase means, and because


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