Never *EVER* Give Away Rights to your Work!!!

November 3, 2007

Copyrights in Second Life are a fickle thing, but can be easily managed by the magical “permissions” buttons at the bottom of your edit screen. Most artists in Second Life are aware of this– dare I say even paranoid about it– but when it comes to intellectual property, paranoia is sometimes a good thing. Please keep your radar up at all times, and remember to READ THROUGH ANY ARTIST AGREEMENTS ANY GALLERY HAS SET UP!

A fine example of why you should read the fine print was recently brought to my attention by the lovely Sasun Steinbeck, who has proven herself to be one of the sexier living “RSS feeds” for the Second Life art community :D. To save you the trouble, I’ll run you through the “Cannery show artist agreement (02 Nov 07) + conversation” and show you what you’ll need to look out for when reading through artist agreements :

Rezzable Productions LTD presents
A Cannery Gallery Art Show

<<Artist Agreement>>
This Artist Agreement is entered into by the Artist by submitting digital artwork and/or photographs (“Artwork”) from his/her avatar to Rezzable owned avatar Tate Watanabe tate.watanabe@rezzable.com

This means that the moment you submit your work to the curator of the gallery, you are bound by this artist agreement.

*Format for materials*

–Artists will need to submit files in size 512 x 512 pixels with full permissions.


–Artist will also be asked for original digital versions of Artwork to be submitted via email (may not be necessary)

Again: NO NO NO!!! This will give someone the opportunity to alter, change, or otherwise take credit for your works in your First Life as well! FULL PERMISSIONS ARE NEVER NECESSARY, NO MATTER WHICH LIFE YOU ARE DEALING WITH!

–Artwork which is not square should be centred on the 512 x 512 pixel canvas with either 100% white or 100% black matting (spacers). (Art can now be 1024 x 512)

*Artist requirements*
1) You will be asked to host at least one class or meet-the-artist event.
2) You are invited to the Wednesday dances. They are held at the Cannery dance floor from noon to midnight, SL time.
3) You are encouraged to ask your friends to come visit the event, to vote for their favorite pieces, and to buy stuff. This is **not** a requirement. All art is for sale, and you will get a portion of it!
4) In addition to the picture(s) you are submitting for the show, you are asked to submit a self-portrait. These portraits will NOT be sold, although they may be used for promotional purposes. (They may also be on trading cards, found throughout the sim.)
5) Please submit an artist statement. It should be at least a paragraph and as long as you wish. It should be submitted on a notecard.


Artist will be eligible to receive a portion of 25% of show actual Proceeds derived from merchandise and sponsorship.

Artists will recieve a portion of 25% of the show’s total proceeds. The other 75% will be pocketed by the owners of the gallery. There are plenty of galleries in Second Life that take no more than 25% commission on each individual work sold, if they take commission at all. Furthermore, you are only “eligible” for the money, as opposed to being “entitled” to it– this means that they could come up with any excuse to not give you your money.

Proceeds will be divided amongst individual photographers based on the number of photographs the individual photographer has in show and the total number of photographs in the show.

This means that artists who did not sell any works will still be getting a portion of the 25% artist cut made from the show. If your works sell, and someone else’s didn’t, the artist who did not sell any works in the show will be getting a portion of the money that YOUR work earned.

All distributions of Proceeds are at the discretion of Rezzable Productions Ltd.

You are officially not in control of any of the money that your artwork has earned. Period.
All Show participants will also be entered into a contest to win additional prizes at the discretion of Rezzable Productions Ltd.

*Artist Release*

With respect to the submitted Artwork, I hereby represent that I am the copyright owner of the artwork and have right for any and all images that appears in the photograph. I hereby grant to Rezzable Productions, its affiliates and licensees, the following worldwide, irrevocable rights:

(1) to use the Artwork without cost for the purpose of presenting and promoting the Show

Your artworks may be used for any promotional materials regarding the show they are in, and you will not be paid for it.

(2) to use and re-use, publish and re-publish the Artwork, in whole or in part, individually or in conjunction with printed matter, or in composite form, and in any medium, for editorial, commercial, promotional, and/or trade purposes associated with the Cannery Art Gallery Show and/or Rezzable Productions Ltd. I hereby waive any right to inspect or approve any copy that is used in connection with the photograph and release and discharge the Rezzable Productions Ltd., its affiliates and licensees from any and all claims arising out of use by Rezzable Productions Ltd., its affiliates and licensees, of the photograph for the purposes described above, including any claims for libel, invasion of privacy or breach of copyright.

The gallery can use the representation of your works in future promotional materials that have nothing to do with the show that your work is in. You will not be paid for this, either.

No Authority to Bind. It is expressly understood and agreed that the Consultant shall have no right or authority at any time to make any contract or binding promise of any nature on behalf of the Company, whether oral or written, without the express written consent of the Company.

Applicable Law. This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the England. The parties hereby submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Your works are now governed by the copyright laws of England, no matter where in the world you live. You can read up about England’s copyright laws here.

I am over the age of eighteen. I have read the foregoing and fully understand its contents.

You HAVE read through the artist agreement, right? Fine print and all? Reading through agreements like this is the FIRST and EASIEST step to protecting your intellectual property!It only takes a few minutes to thoroughly read through a document like this, so do yourself a favor!

After submission of Artwork you will be sent and email asking for confirmation of acceptance of these terms and conditions.
Let’s keep honest people honest and not put them in a situation where they could easily steal or take credit for your intellectual property.



  1. Nice work, Cy!

  2. Thank you for publishing this blog and your recommendations! I think many SecondLife artists are naive about the value of their artwork and are signing away the rights to it through ignorance. I did a search on Artists Contracts today and found many that are far better than the one offered by the Cannery. The other question is whether an artist actually needs a middleman in SL at all.

  3. Is an interesting post on copyright issues and our agreement for the art shows. we are always open to feedback and appreciate ideas on how to make agreements better.

    I agree completly that artist should always read agreements and make sure they understand what they are signing up to. In many cases people don’t and then they are badly surprised. I think we at least have an agreement and put it out to people prior to submitting artwork. I think in some instances artist give out stuff without any agreement at all.

    Couple of comments:

    * I don’t agree that artists should “never ever give away rights”. You have to give to get! It is more a question of what you get in return. We are propsing, promotion, some sales and exposure in SL/Web. People need to decide if it is worth it.

    * There is a difference between giving someone a full mod version of an object and giving away rights. In the first instance, we would need mod rights to adjust images etc. Transfer is of course needed if we are to resell images. It would be possilbe to sell images without Transfer rights and perhaps this is a reasonable thing to do–although more laggy. We are not taking rights for work other than in the context of the show.

    * You do of course need to have some level of trust if you are going to share artwork in a digital enivornment. But same issue is present with posting work on Flickr, people can easily download and use images.

    * the reason we ask for email versions is that they are higher resolution and we may make print editions or other RL products. It is optional for artists to submit these.

    * our idea on 25% is that we have a lot of costs to run a show and our estimate is that 25% is about half of the profits, so is meant to be an equal share.

    * on how we split the proceeds, the idea is that an artist is invited to submit work(s) for a show. The show generates some revenues that are then split up according to how many pieces each artist has in the show. It is perhaps a bit complicated, but was best we could figure out.

    We will review any further feedback on the agreement and see if we can improve wording for all people involved.

    Thanks again for a good post and raising important issues!


  4. Further to points raised here and from other artists, we are making some changes to the Agreements.

    Sho and I will be over at Artcropolis at 5pm SLT today to review points, comments and talk more about the Cannery and artwork issues.

  5. […] Seelowe says the old artist agreement is an unfair one, especially compared to First Life artist agreements. I disagree, as – something that all should […]

  6. […] I Try to Balance my First and Second Lives Just another WordPress.com weblog « Never *EVER* Give Away Rights to your Work!!! The Cannery Artist Agreement, continued. November 10th, 2007 Well, it seems as though my […]

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