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Discussion - Ethics on reselling another artist's work - The art of Thornwolf
Discussion - Ethics on reselling another artist's work
So a question came up in discussion and I kinda wanted to bring it to LJ.

Is it ethical, legal, and all around okay for someone to resell an artist's work after they were given it for free or purchased it?

Situations in point:

-You have some prints in your collection you decide you don't really want anymore or were part of a print folio that you don't much care for but would like to keep the ones you DO like, would it be alright to sell those via ebay or furbid with full credit given to the artist?

-You have an original work by an artist that you purchased but it doesn't really tie the room together, would it be okay to resell said artwork at an art show with full credit given to the artist?

-You have been given a piece of artwork as a trade or a gift that is relatively general in theme and might appeal to someone else. The piece no longer means anything to you or perhaps you need the money or the space and don't want to destroy the image. Would you be able to resell the artwork at a convention drama free without people getting all up in your shit for selling a gift/trade you no longer want?

IMO I think that it is perfectly ethical to resell an artist's work as long as it is done within reasonable terms (ie: youre not selling it to be mass produced, youre not selling the rights etc.) its done all the time. But I think in this fandom specifically that kind of thing is looked down upon for whatever reason even if it is well within their rights. I remember a time i found someone reselling my prints on furbid and another person reselling my originals on ebay because we were no longer friends and hated each other's guts and they didn't want my artwork in their house. I flipped my shit because it was like "omg violation" but yanno..it wasn't? and if i were in their situationI wouldnt want any of their art in my posession either especially if we had fallen out of good company. Its well within their right. I gave it as a gift and in another case, was already paid for my time, what should I care if they resell it? Its out of my hands. Nowhere in anyone's contract does it say "you must keep this forever and ever once it passes from my hand to yours". I have no right to get all up in their grill over it. Yeah sure it might hurt a little depending on the situation but..whatev. And if i see someone selling one of my originals again, I'd be pretty curious to see what it went for XD Chances are it won't go for the innitial amount anyways. *shrugs* I made my cash for my times worth, no ones making t-shirts or coasters, I lose nothing.

So please...discuss. I'm honestly curious what the general thoughts on this are.
52 comments or Leave a comment
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tarnac From: tarnac Date: September 13th, 2007 09:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Purely hypothetical...

...I own some Mitch de la Guardia originals. One's a pastel piece, and one is a very large painting. Should I one day decide this furfaggotry is beyond what should be in my apartment, I would do two things:

1> Contact Mitch and inform him of my plans to sell his work.

2> Sell that shit.

It's perfectly legal, ethical, and whatever to dump art you own. It's not cool if I were to make prints of originals I own from Mitch and make money off his work.

There ya go.
supochi From: supochi Date: September 13th, 2007 09:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd say it's perfectly ok to sell off art that was bought by or given to you. I think it's a nice gesture however to tell the original artist about it (unless you REALLY do hate eachothers guts) especially if the art was given as a gift.
foxfeather From: foxfeather Date: September 13th, 2007 09:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Art is property, if you buy it then you can resell it, like anything else.
If you purchased it, I wouldn't blink about it. I don't think just because it's art that it should somehow 'revert' back to the original maker any more than you should send your lawnmower back to Wal-mart when you get a new one :P
But in the case of original art, when applicable, I will contact an artist to kind of give them a heads up, if I know it is a really personal piece. Sometimes they will buy it back or just like to know where it goes.
When it's been given as a gift - it's kind of like reselling any gift. You can do it, whether it's in bad taste is a case by case basis sort of thing. I usually try to regift things that were gifted to me if they no longer have any meaning. It just makes me feel better.
hughe From: hughe Date: September 13th, 2007 09:55 am (UTC) (Link)
oo i hadn't thought of that. yes i think re-gifting gift art is probably the most ethical way forward.

but for anything that has been purchased, i reckon it can be sold, maybe with a heads-up for original if bought off the artist.
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profox From: profox Date: September 13th, 2007 09:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, what you bought is yours to do with as you please. Gifts are basically the same, someone transferred ownership to you without requesting compensation.

Caveat emptor, as usual: You can transfer your rights to somebody else (for instance by selling the item). You can also split rights if you had additional rights before the transfer (copyright, right of reproduction, etc). Doing a split requires of course formal agreement between the parties involved in the transaction, plus formal agreement from eventual third-party right holders.

Personally I prefer to give or sell an item to someone else rather than destroy it...
bloodhoundomega From: bloodhoundomega Date: September 13th, 2007 10:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Hm... I re-sold art that I had purchased after I didn't like it too much anymore and I think that's fine. It was a general piece and had been paid by me all legally and stuff.

As long as one doesn't reproduce the picture in masses I think it's fine. It's a bit different though when it comes to gifts, especially when they are kinda specialised... I dunno how to word that... maybe you'll get my idea anyway. ^^;
godzuki From: godzuki Date: September 13th, 2007 10:21 am (UTC) (Link)
One sec, Ill call Van Gough about that sunflowers deal, man was he pissed.

Dealers re-sell art all the time and no comeback, its yer property.

Hmm it makes one wonder if the art of dead furry artists in the future will become more valuable? Judging by the age of the fandom, not a day im likely to see...

godzuki From: godzuki Date: September 13th, 2007 10:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Van Gogh! Damn my lack of spell checking...sigh.
From: lvice_olven Date: September 13th, 2007 10:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Well... I believe that it's okay to sell someone else's artwork that has been given to you, if:
1. there are no original characters
2. you don't put it up for auction, that would be a dirty harvest of money. Nothing totally wrong but as an artist I'd feel very bad and would be upset on the person. Harvesting money on such thing like friendsip or friendly behavior of giving someone a picture is all a bad idea.

And I believe it's almost the same with making and selling prints of the picture that you bought or got as a present, how can someone actually dare to do this??? Unless you sell the picture with the rights but that would be incredibly expensive for the buyer. :P

I personally would never try to resell artwork that I got as a gift... I would maybe resell original artwork that I bought.
Some people make me feel sick...
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: September 13th, 2007 10:28 am (UTC) (Link)
wow such strong feelings! methinks youve had this happen before? Personally i have no qualms with auctioning it up as thats how this particular fandom tends to work anyways. I dont see it as harvesting money but selling it to who wants it most.

Prints IMO is outright though. making prints of another persons works without their permission to me is just..ugh. its one thing if the artist does it but if you didnt purchase printing rights its illegal.
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shinigamigirl From: shinigamigirl Date: September 13th, 2007 10:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't try to sell gifts or trades without asking the artist first and making sure it was ok (assuming I had a reason to sell a gift in the first place). Selling something you bought is perfectly OK in my opinion. I'd be very curious too to see how much one of mine would go for when sold by someone else. :P
andred_arts From: andred_arts Date: September 13th, 2007 10:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Well art is always traded look at Picasso's pictures or something else so why should it be different for not so "big" art?

I think it's okay to resell it and may you could tell the artist: Your original was sold for 200 USD you should increase your prices XD
silverfoxwolf From: silverfoxwolf Date: September 13th, 2007 11:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Well once something has been sold or given to you you then have the right of property over it. Unless there is a prestanding agreement such as mature artwork not being allowed to be sold on the open merket or a condition that says the buyer must offer first refusal to the artist. An interesting situation comes up as to price in that situation.

As a courtesy it's nice to let the artist know what your intentions are, but as we all know sometimes artists are the world's worst at replying to emails and people do have a limit to how long they will wait.

Saying that though I am highly unlikely to let go any pictures done of Silver. Yes most are very good works of art, but they are more personal then somthing I've bought of a random tiger or bird.

Although here is an interesting one for you, I was given six of the same print on a commission. I didn't ask for the prints, they were included free. When I told the artist about giving them away free they seemed very happy that other people were able to enjoy the art as well.
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tanidareal From: tanidareal Date: September 13th, 2007 12:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it is OK to resell simple prints if you don't like them any more, need money, or whatever reason you have. About originals and larger artwork (e.g. limited prints), I would always ask the artist first. Of course it also depends which characters are on the artwork. If they're copyrighted/personal characters (of yourself or somebody else), I would feel bad selling them.

I agree with Olven that I would be angry if anybody would sell original art of mine (they once bought) in an auction. I have also heard of people who are buying original art as "investment" (in order to sell it later, for a higher price)...

I would completely understand it, if somebody asks me if he may resell an art of mine because he needs money, other than if I coincidently find artwork of mine in an auction and somebody tries to make as much money as possible with it.

Of course people COULD do that, there is no law against it (also art is "just" property), but I think it is a sense of decency and respect not to do that (or ask the artist first).
altonwings From: altonwings Date: September 13th, 2007 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
If the artwork is something you bought, you control that specific piece. That does not mean that I have the rights to the image (unless negotiated separately), I cannot create copies of it, and I cannot falsify who the original artist was. A picture hanging on my wall is my property, however, and as such can be donated, sold, given away, thrown out, placed on an effigy of my ex-wife so that I can watch her burn... How's them apples, Kira?

*clears throat*

Now if the art was a gift and is no longer relevant, I still think it's in good taste to notify they original artist if you are just giving it away and allow them the option to take it back. That's just a social nicety, though, and clearly is not binding. I think it will be very interesting when some of the bigger name artists die, and their work becomes more valued as a result. Not saying it will, but I would be curious to see what would happen.

1 Okay, I would never actually do this, but it made for a great 'Robert is crazy' bit in the morning.
growing_rose From: growing_rose Date: September 13th, 2007 01:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
... Was that a Death Note reference, or pure coincidence?
vickimfox From: vickimfox Date: September 13th, 2007 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is it ethical, legal, and all around okay for someone to resell an artist's work after they were given it for free or purchased it?

It is ethical.
It is legal.

I especially know it is legal because the art collection marketplace is built upon this being possible -- buying and selling artwork.

I had a small business at one time dealing in animation art (production cels and such), so I became very familiar with the law regarding reselling of artwork. As long as the artwork was legally acquired as a gift, commission, or purchase, then the current possessor of the art can give it away or sell it again.

There is one place of confusion that trips some people and that is the matter of copyright. The buying and selling of artwork does not transfer the copyright of the art. Under the law, a separate clause in the bill of sale or a separate transfer of copyright letter must be produced in order for the transfer of the copyright to occur.

This means, when I buy a piece of art, say an animation cel of a Disney character, all I am buying is the pretty painted piece of plastic. I am not buying the right to use the art itself for commercial purposes or to distribute the art in such a way to violate the publishing rights of Disney.

Likewise, if I buy art from you or another artist, I am only buying the painted paper or electronic image. I am not buying the right of distribution and publishing, the copyright.
dustmeat From: dustmeat Date: September 13th, 2007 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
What he said.
shockwave77598 From: shockwave77598 Date: September 13th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whether a gift or not, it's still the person's property to do with as they wish. Ethically and legally fine.

However, I consider it to be tacky to give away or sell presents. So in my personal view it shouldn't be resold. But that's MY way - legally or morally it's okay for others, just not me. I treasure trinkets and stuff folks give me because it's an expression that they care. I remember that everytime I see it. Why would I want to sell that feeling for mere money?
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From: senotay Date: September 13th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm of the mind that it's ethical, legal, etc, if not very polite (in the case of a trade/gift, anyway XD).

Of course, I may ask that if you didn't really like the print, why'd you buy it in the first place :D
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: September 13th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Personally I've gotten lots of prints I don't particularly care for as gifts or in bulk as a portfolio where I only really wanted a couple of the images.
nambroth From: nambroth Date: September 13th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Goodness, yes it's ethical and legally okay. :}

I admit, I'd be a little bummed if a friend sold a personal piece I did as a gift specifically for them, but that is only personal feelings.
kevinblanchard From: kevinblanchard Date: September 13th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Though personalized artwork you do for a friend may have sentimental attachment for you, but to the person receiving it it is mainly still a decorative piece for their wall. If the piece no longer works with their current layout, design, decorations,etc. I'd think you'd much rather see it owned by someone who will enjoy and display it then have your friend shove it in a box and keep it purely to not hurt your feelings.
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From: animarelic Date: September 13th, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Once you buy it/are given it/etc, it's yours. I mean, I guess it feels a little different for gifts because it was something you were given free and are then trying to get money for, but if it was something you never wanted in the first place and you think that's the best way to make sure it goes somewhere it will actually be appreciated, then why not?

That being said, I never give out the originals of my gifts unless someone specifically asks me for them. A digital copy conveys everything the original would, and doesn't have to occupy physical space outside of a hard drive somewhere. If someone asks me for the original, I'll send it to them, but otherwise, the gift is just as good if they can see it, right? (I know the feeling of sometimes recieving something that's not quite what you expected - and it's nice to get anything at all, but then if you had to hang onto a physical copy, it's like 'ugh my house is so cluttered anyway'...)

And with all that said and done, yes art is personal to the creator, yes it's an expression of their talent and hard work and some times emotions. But when that expression is out, that's it. Now it's a piece of paper with things on it. It's property.
kevinblanchard From: kevinblanchard Date: September 13th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you. As long as they are not mass producing anything and giving the artist full credit I don't see why it would be a problem.

I mean if I was an artist, and someone had some of my work and didn't want it anymore, I'd much rather it end up in someone else's home then in a trashcan.
kitsumi From: kitsumi Date: September 13th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with most of the folks here: art is property, and you should be able to re-sell it. However, I'd want to contact the original artist not just out of social niceties, but because some folks like to be able to keep track of where their originals go. A lot of artists that have shows tend to bring in pieces from 'private collections', and label the art as being from the private collection of so and so. Personally I wouldn't really mind if my originals were sold/resold, though I might be slightly irked if they sold for a far greater sum than they were purchased for originally (hence the brilliance of Higgins' suggestion up above). However, even the re-selling of art is a way of getting your name out there, to which I don't object to.
demonvaska From: demonvaska Date: September 13th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll chime in and say that legally once you have been given/purchased an item that you're allowed to do anything you wish with it, but it would be polite in regard to gift items to contact the artist and offer it back first before selling it.

Similar story: long ago when The Beatles were still together the band bought a top-of-the-line Rolls Royce and proceeded to paint it with a wild color scheme. The Rolls Royce company freaked out and went to court to try and re-posses the vehicle claiming 'image' ownership. The court told Rolls Royce to basically go die in a fire.
martes From: martes Date: September 13th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Prints: OK to resell. (I've done it.)

Originals: OK to resell. (I've done that too, occationally) It's possible the artist, if they find out, might be hurt that you're getting rid of their art, but originals are resold in the fine art world all the time, so there's nothing legally or ethicly wrong with it. Just be aware you might have to answer why you got rid of artist A's art but kept someone else's.

(No matter how it's put, you're getting rid of someone's art. Most original furry art does not raise in value, so if it's sold you're basicly getting rid of it at a loss, and no artist want to see their art sold at a loss just to get rid of it.)

Gift art: Technically okay to sell, but I personally consider it very tacky. I've sold a couple gift peices when I was in very dire financial straits, and just prayed the artist didn't find out. If I found someone selling my gift art, partiularly peices I spent a lot of time on, I'd be very honked off.
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: September 13th, 2007 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
what if you're no longer friends? i personally don't like hanging onto art of a failed friendship and don't expect others to either, i'd rather someone else enjoy it.
ssantara From: ssantara Date: September 13th, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
To me, this kind of a redundant question. Art is an investment, is property and can be resold however the individual wishes too. Only if that person is reselling copies and using it against it's copyright is there a problem.

I have some valuable art from another artist I will be reselling on ebay soon. Mainly because I just do not want it and would rather pass it on to another person who would appreciate it more. I know I will make money off of it but that is the nature of the biz....

It is some good questions and good topics to discuss.
From: windancer_ifus Date: September 13th, 2007 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I personally think it is not right to resell an artists' work if it has a character or design that does not belong to the seller. If its their own character, I still think they should get permission from the original artist to sell it.
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