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Thread: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

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    Exclamation ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Note: this thread is out of date. Here is a link to the current comprehensive sales FAQ. However, the mspaquestions@gmail.com email address is not correct anymore - please contact copyright@whatpumpkin.com if you have a question not answered in the FAQ.

    As some of you may have already noticed, the rules have recently been revised as follows:

    Quote Originally Posted by Da Rulez
    Commerce:
    Andrew has respectfully requested that no one sell MSPA-related products or services without his explicit permission. We have also decided that business in general is not to be carried out through the forums. If you do any kind of commission work and would like to advertise it in your signature with a link (ie: Click here for commission info!) that's fine, but you may not make threads to sell your services or products, and you may not actively advertise said services or products in existing threads. It has become too difficult and too widespread to moderate effectively.

    Again, YOU MAY NOT SELL HOMESTUCK STUFF WITHOUT ASKING ANDREW. Please do not ask a moderator or a member of one of the creative teams to ask for you if you can't get through to him either. I know he's busy and difficult to get a hold of, but you're really putting them on the spot by doing so and that is quite unfair to them.
    What does this mean for those of you who are currently peddling MSPA/Homestuck-related wares?

    It would be a tremendous, TREMENDOUS help to the moderation staff if you could do your best to take down your own marketing. Even something as simple as wiping out the content of the original post and replacing it with "Sorry, no longer allowed!" or other such messages of condolence/explanation would be fine. We don't expect you to scrub every single post you've made, just the big ones with the most details.

    If you would like to have your thread locked (or even deleted, if it would simply be too much work to scrub it) so you can start anew without having all this TOTALLY ILLEGAL CONTRABAND sprinkled throughout, just let a mod know!

    If you have any questions or wish to report any kind of questionable activity, please don't hesitate to use the report function when applicable, or contact Blueberry, Tynic, Lexxy, or any other available moderator directly. I will also leave this thread unlocked for a time for questions/discussion.

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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    For those of you who are interested, he spoke on the matter himself on his formspring today:

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew
    And if you'd like to read a summary of US copyright law and how that relates to creative property and fan art, I wrote the following article about it on my tumblr:

    Quote Originally Posted by Lexxy's Tumblr
    And a handy visual guide by Scorium!
    Quote Originally Posted by Scorium View Post
    Remember kids:
    Asking permission and being allowed or denied is better than doing whatever you want, and not caring about the artist's feelings on the matter.


    Note: this thread is out of date. Here is a link to the current comprehensive sales FAQ. However, the mspaquestions@gmail.com email address is not correct anymore - please contact copyright@whatpumpkin.com if you have a question not answered in the FAQ.
    Last edited by Blueberry; 11-06-2011 at 08:50 PM.

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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    I am surprised no one has decided to post here yet, after you considerately left the thread open for discussion.

    I don't want to make some long and windy post about my thoughts so I'm going to try and crystallize my opinion, as irrelevant as it is. I can see why Andrew doesn't want unrestricted capitalization of his IP, but at the same time, commission work in fandoms is practically a fundamental operation of the universe. From lowly Sonic edits to hand painted WoW personas. If everyone who takes Homestuck commissions were to obey this new rule and ask Andrew via email, the man would be buried in mail. And how would that work? Would I have to ask per commission, with details of what it is I am asked to draw? Would I ask for myself and then get a stamp of approval across the commission board?

    I guess what I'm saying is, there are a lot of people in this fandom who have been getting a comfortable amount of pocket money out of commissions, and suddenly what they do and what they have lined up is possibly forbidden on high. There are a lot of questions left unanswered. If Andrew doesn't answer them, or give more detail about this new rule, some people are going to say 'fuck it' and do what they want anyways, and people who respect Hussie will stick to it but be unhappy that the 'jerks' ignoring the rule are still profiting. So all parties would benefit if Andrew explained more what this entails.

    Will he be saying no frequently? Or is this really just a polite formality? What might he refuse for? Content? Quality? If you are charging too much or making too much? If you are catering to too many people?

    Is he going to really stick to this? When he has a hundred request emails a day, will he reply to them? It's nice to say "use your judgement if I don't respond" but many would simply take that nervously to mean "no you arent even worth replying to" and settle for doing nothing. I imagine most people WANT to abide by this. We respect Andrew for what he has made. But when suddenly something you considered your personal business and right becomes a grey area of 'doing what you want' and 'offending hussie' it is probably going to cause some conflict.

    tl;dr
    i got a lot of questions
    also, "By Andrew's decree, there is to be absolutely no selling of any MSPA products of any kind without explicit consent from Andrew himself." really? are the clouds parting and a booming voice filling us in on the haps? dost thou have any more commandments from the heavens, moses? No offense, but if you want everyone to respect Andrew's wishes, maybe word that more in the spirit of mutual respect.

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    Perpetually Late kwinse's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Just my two cents, but the fact that people have been doing something (and will continue doing so) does not on its own make the act of doing that something right, legally or morally.

    People taking commissions involving IP they do not own (or own the rights to etc.) do violate the law, even if it is realistically impossible to stop them all.

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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    That's not your two cents, that is actual fact. That is the law's two cents. What you said is the truth of the matter, and always has been. But facts and laws are usually ignored because of personal opinions. I am saying that the lax policy before has made many feel entitled to profiting regardless of its actual legal standing. If the situation is unclear, or they take it to be a slight against their 'right', then some of these people will A) Keep violating the law and Andrew's request, and B) Now they might be assholes about it because they are actively facing and denying that what they are doing is wrong.

    I don't see how that profits anyone. I just see this, as it is right now, causing more drama than it needs to simply because it is vague.

    Also I hope I don't sound like I'm trying to argue with you kwinse, your point just gave me this thought process is all.

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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    So, related, if I want to, say, sell handmade sculpey figurines of Homestuck characters at a convention (which I do, in addition to other characters) how do I get in contact with Mr Hussie? How would I, say, send him royalties (like 30 to 50 percent of the profit) for the figures? I don't want to take his characters to make money, persay, but because not only are they fun and addicting to draw/sculpt, I know there's many people who would like to have the figurines because they wouldn't be able to make them themselves. I don't want to break the law or you know make Andrew loose money, but it's hard to figure how to get in contact with a guy who's always quite busy.
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Added to that, I'm sure there are people who just regularly take commissions, and regularly ask for commissions who would have no idea this rule change even took place because they don't go on these forums/don't follow Hussie's news.
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Quote Originally Posted by LuciferZ View Post
    Will he be saying no frequently? Or is this really just a polite formality? What might he refuse for? Content? Quality? If you are charging too much or making too much? If you are catering to too many people?
    As he said himself in his formspring reply,
    "I'd rather this not be about finding out exactly what I do or don't allow, and then just getting down to furiously attacking that wiggle room I give. "

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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Quote Originally Posted by twinTempo View Post
    So, related, if I want to, say, sell handmade sculpey figurines of Homestuck characters at a convention (which I do, in addition to other characters) how do I get in contact with Mr Hussie? How would I, say, send him royalties (like 30 to 50 percent of the profit) for the figures? I don't want to take his characters to make money, persay, but because not only are they fun and addicting to draw/sculpt, I know there's many people who would like to have the figurines because they wouldn't be able to make them themselves. I don't want to break the law or you know make Andrew loose money, but it's hard to figure how to get in contact with a guy who's always quite busy.
    On every news post on the MSPA page, his name at the top of the post is a link to his email address. That's how you get in touch with him.
    No longer official staff around here.

    Any opinions I state are mine alone and more than likely do not represent current thinking or decisions of the staff.

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    Scribe of Light Twigwise's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Quote Originally Posted by NotASenator View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by twinTempo View Post
    So, related, if I want to, say, sell handmade sculpey figurines of Homestuck characters at a convention (which I do, in addition to other characters) how do I get in contact with Mr Hussie? How would I, say, send him royalties (like 30 to 50 percent of the profit) for the figures? I don't want to take his characters to make money, persay, but because not only are they fun and addicting to draw/sculpt, I know there's many people who would like to have the figurines because they wouldn't be able to make them themselves. I don't want to break the law or you know make Andrew loose money, but it's hard to figure how to get in contact with a guy who's always quite busy.
    On every news post on the MSPA page, his name at the top of the post is a link to his email address. That's how you get in touch with him.
    Thank you very much! I'll get to asking permission, then.
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    super baller butt pirate Admin Blueberry's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Andrew is well aware of the sheer amount of work the fanbase produces, and he doesn't want to discourage that creativity at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by LuciferZ View Post
    If everyone who takes Homestuck commissions were to obey this new rule and ask Andrew via email, the man would be buried in mail. And how would that work? Would I have to ask per commission, with details of what it is I am asked to draw? Would I ask for myself and then get a stamp of approval across the commission board?
    I am not one of the people who has talked to Andrew personally about this, but my guess is that you should contact him with some examples of what you do and the sort of price ranges you charge. If he wants to take a commission then you can work that out with him yourself.

    Also, like I said, he's well aware of the amount of things that are produced, and the fact that he decided to make this announcement shows that he is willing to accept the aftermath, including responding to hundreds of emails.


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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    I got Andrew's permission to sell commissions a long time ago. How should I conduct myself on the forums and elsewhere? Maybe I should write after some of my posts "Sanctioned by Andrew" or something so people don't yell at me for ripping off his IP.

    Well, this isn't a problem for me or anything. I guess I'm only concerned because it feels a bit flaunty. Like, hey lookit me, I got permission, buy my stuff, etc.

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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Any posts specifically advertising commissions are no longer allowed on this forum, permission or not. I personally would probably deal with things on a case-by-case basis, but with the amount of traffic your stuff gets from the fandom you could probably add a note to your website (on the bottom of the commission info or the top (maybe?) of your plushie gallery?) saying something like "Characters from Homestuck used with permission of the author" or something like that.

    (feel free to wait for Lexxy and/or tynic to weigh in, I was just online and thought I would offer my 2 cents)


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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    I think it would be appropriate to just make a note on your sales site, "MSPA/Homestuck characters are property of Andrew Hussie and are offered with permission", or something like that, to note that it's officially sanctioned. Otherwise I wouldn't worry about it.

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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    I have two main concerns with this.

    1) As a commission buyer what rules are imposed on me?

    and

    2) What does Andrew consider "his property" anyways? Does this rule extend to fan-characters? What about the Troll race in general? Can we draw fantrolls? What about fannon races such as Bugs, Spambots, or Lyndians? What about humans playing SBURB? What about character from MSPAFAs?

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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Quote Originally Posted by LuciferZ View Post
    also, "By Andrew's decree, there is to be absolutely no selling of any MSPA products of any kind without explicit consent from Andrew himself." really? are the clouds parting and a booming voice filling us in on the haps? dost thou have any more commandments from the heavens, moses? No offense, but if you want everyone to respect Andrew's wishes, maybe word that more in the spirit of mutual respect.
    You raise a valid point here, and I've revised the rules thread as well as the OP in this thread to reflect this change. I frequently write the rules very dry and to-the-point, BUT I think this is more in the spirit of his own words :>

    Quote Originally Posted by Vero View Post
    Added to that, I'm sure there are people who just regularly take commissions, and regularly ask for commissions who would have no idea this rule change even took place because they don't go on these forums/don't follow Hussie's news.
    He fully understands that people are going to violate his request, whether on purpose or through lack of awareness. That's just how these things go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miff View Post
    I have two main concerns with this.

    1) As a commission buyer what rules are imposed on me?

    and

    2) What does Andrew consider "his property" anyways? Does this rule extend to fan-characters? What about the Troll race in general? Can we draw fantrolls? What about fannon races such as Bugs, Spambots, or Lyndians? What about humans playing SBURB? What about character from MSPAFAs?
    1) Even though I just did some reading up on copyright law, I'm not really sure what this means for you as a consumer. I think it's up to the artist to get permission, but if you purchase something that is made and sold without consent, that probably makes it akin to buying bootlegged/pirated content? Like, it's not legal, in any case, but it's not something I would fret too much over to be honest. Andrew isn't going to come after you for it or anything.

    2) It has nothing to do with what he considers his, and everything to do with what copyright law dictates. Fan characters and inspired works that don't actually have any content that Andrew created, but are based off his concepts, are fair game. SBURB is Andrew's, but the format of the comic as copied by fan adventures is a concept that isn't protected under copyright, so fan adventures are fair game as well.

    I actually spent several hours this morning reading US copyright law with regards to the arts and wrote an article about it on my tumblr, which I'll go ahead and edit into the second post of this thread under Andrew's formspring quote. I tried to make it as concise and understandable as I could, so hopefully that will help clear things up a bit?

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    before he destroys us all Stop Him's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Quote Originally Posted by Lexxy View Post
    Can’t I hide behind the "fair use" clause?

    Since revising the rules on MSPAF and posting my initial tumblr entry about Andrew’s announcement, I’ve seen a few comments here and on other sites, such as 4chan, stating that you can just call a piece of fan work a parody or satire and magically be absolved from legal persecution.

    WRONG.

    Parody and satire are only protected by fair use if the nature of the derivative work meets certain standards with regards to criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, as well as criteria based on the character of the derivative work, the purpose (commercial or nonprofit), and its effect on the potential market or value of the original, copyrighted work.
    I'd like to expand on this a bit, because Fair Use is one of the most misunderstood (and under-appreciated) features of US Copyright law.

    1) The standards for judging Fair Use are pretty subjective, and do not depend on having or not having any set amount of the aforementioned criteria. Many works that are very much for profit have qualified for Fair Use, for example, while just as many non-profit works have failed the test. It's much like asking a judge to decide whether or not something "is art" or not. Just because you may think something falls under Fair Use does not mean the next person will, and that next person may be running the court that decides your case.

    2) Which is the other important point: Fair Use is determined by lawsuits. Making some bit of fanart and saying "Fair Use!" does not protect you legally in any way. If a lawyer sends you a Cease and Desist order, you can say "Hey, Fair Use, dude", and possibly, if your case seems strong, they may back off, but they don't have to. They can still sue you. Hell, they can sue you regardless of how strong your case is, if they feel like burning the money.

    A Fair Use defense happens something like this: Someone sues you for ripping off their stuff. You go to court, and you say, "Well, yeah, I ripped off this stuff, but I think it's okay under Fair Use because of etc etc etc." You are, in essence, admitting to a Copyright violation, but saying it doesn't count for some reason. Then a judge looks at all the arguments and decides whether or not your work does indeed qualify as Fair Use, and see point 1 above.

    If you lose, you're probably liable for damages, and even if you win, you've gone through an expensive lawsuit.

    This is a civil matter, and does not operate under the same "innocent until proven guilty" standards found in criminal cases. In a case that hinges on Fair Use, it is presumed that you have violated the copyright, and it is up to you to convince the court of your innocence.

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    Finally changed my avatar Miff's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Quote Originally Posted by Lexxy View Post
    2) It has nothing to do with what he considers his, and everything to do with what copyright law dictates. Fan characters and inspired works that don't actually have any content that Andrew created, but are based off his concepts, are fair game. SBURB is Andrew's, but the format of the comic as copied by fan adventures is a concept that isn't protected under copyright, so fan adventures are fair game as well.

    I actually spent several hours this morning reading US copyright law with regards to the arts and wrote an article about it on my tumblr, which I'll go ahead and edit into the second post of this thread under Andrew's formspring quote. I tried to make it as concise and understandable as I could, so hopefully that will help clear things up a bit?
    The MPAA/RIAA haven't gotten copyright infringement to be a criminal act yet, so it's currently a civil action. That means that the definition of the law doesn't matter in the short term, as, theoretically, Andrew can just say "hey I own the idea of grey-skinned humanoids with red/orange/yellow horns and orange eyes and rainbow blood" and file a lawsuit that stands a good chance of at least going to trial where the court will decide whether the species is eligible for copyright protection.

    However, if he's like "nah, that's not specific enough to be totally mine" then there's no way he'd complain over it as long as he doesn't claim that it's protected under copyright.

    It may be up to the courts to decide whether a specific use is a violation, but anything in resemblance is still enough to file a case. (Such as all those people who accused J.K.Rowling et al. of copying ideas in Harry Potter.)

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    before he destroys us all Stop Him's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Quote Originally Posted by Miff View Post
    That means that the definition of the law doesn't matter in the short term, as, theoretically, Andrew can just say "hey I own the idea of grey-skinned humanoids with red/orange/yellow horns and orange eyes and rainbow blood" and file a lawsuit that stands a good chance of at least going to trial where the court will decide whether the species is eligible for copyright protection.
    Quote Originally Posted by US Copyright Office
    How do I protect my idea?

    Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.

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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Ok I'm stuck and I have no idea where to take this question, because it's not worth bothering Andrew with (it is a tiny scale question) :

    I have started on exactly one Homestuck-related commission shortly before this announcement, with permission from an art forum moderator. I really don't want to just bump my commissionee from getting a Scalemate since I've already begun making it. Is it ok to finish this thing and get it to them, and then be done with commissions? I really don't know what I should do...

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    super baller butt pirate Admin Blueberry's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Andrew has said that commissions that are already in process are allowed.


  22. #22

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    It sort of boggles my mind that people would even consider doing commissions of his characters without permission anyway.

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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    oh yes, i saw this on tumblr. still glad that we can make and give away things about his characters for free.

    on the note that he wants us to stop selling and profiting from his creations, i have to say i'm surprised he didn't do this sooner.

    although i wonder if he'd still be open to people selling them but splitting the profits between the maker and him?

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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    Quote Originally Posted by Blueberry View Post
    Andrew has said that commissions that are already in process are allowed.
    Thanks for the clarification! I missed that when I read this stuff over.

  25. #25
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF

    I have a law degree. However, the following is NOT legal advice.

    In response to the question about the purchaser of such illegally-commissioned works, I note that in general in the law, the very best and most righteous holder of property is one who is a good faith purchaser for value without notice. I am fairly certain this applies here as well.

    What does that mean? That means that if you purchase
    a) in good faith -- without malice or an intent to trick anyone or commit fraud or do something bad AND
    b) for value -- you properly paid a fair market value for the good (be it in $$$ or in trade) AND
    c) without notice -- without notice that something was incorrect, without knowing what you were doing was somehow wrong, without knowing an item was stolen or otherwise shouldn't have been sold to you -- this includes things that AREN'T illegal to sell, like the coffee you buy in the morning, because, well, you had no notice that anything was amiss

    then you are, by the law, almost 100% certainly always going to be the most appropriate person to hold absolute title to something that no one is able to take away from you.

    (A few jurisdictions have variations for real estate, not important here.)

    So, while I'm neither conversant on IP law nor officially a lawyer for a few more months, if you previously bought a commissionned item in the above manner (you paid a reasonable amount for it with a pure heart and had no idea at the time it was wrong), you shouldn't worry.

    If anything lexxy or others report contradicts this, go with them.

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