Selling Copyrights?

Hi Everybody,

This is my first posting in about 6 years. I have found myself in a
situation that I have no experience with and am hoping that I might
get some feedback that would help me out.

I have been commissioned to create a model mold for a charm and to
cast and finish 6 pieces. My customer has agreed to my price but may
want to get large quantities of the charms cast elsewhere and wants
to now how much I would charge for the rights to replicate my work.

How do I determine what is a fair and equitable arrangement. Are
there arrangements that are standard and customary?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Steve Wiser

I have no experience with selling Copyright rights in jewelry design
but I can tell you how it works in a few other situations. In
software and industrial design the contract virtually always calls
for the assignment of any and all Copyright rights to the party
contracting to have the work done and the party doing the work gets
paid either some agreed upon amount or at their standard hourly rate.
I’m sure that’s not what you want to hear.

In the publishing field it’s a little different but also widely
varied. Not uncommon is for the ghost writer to assign all Copyright
rights to the party contracting for the work but for the hourly
“rate” to be generous (somewhere in the $50 to $100/hour range is not
uncommon). (“Generous” depending on your perspective, of course.) But
these kinds of deals vary a lot depending on who is putting the deal
together and who will be selling and to whom too, could be the
writer, the “author” cited on the work, or a third party with any or
all taking some selling responsibility.

In commercial photography the deal is almost always that all
Copyright rights are assigned to the party that commissions the work
but in personal commissioned work the photographers have got
themselves a pretty good–for them–(in my opinion) SCAM going
against the naive public and are totally claiming all Copyright
rights for themselves so they can continue to charge exorbitant rates
for copies down the line or replacements if ever needed.

Hope that helps. I’ll be interested in hearing about real jewelry
deals too. (My guess though is that most fall into the

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of “Will It Sell? How to Determine If
Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a
Patent)” Info Sites:,

Steve - Your question is complex and unique in that the same
question might be answered differently for each of the members on the
list. I am assuming you either don’t wish to cast large quantities
yourself or you don’t have the facilities to do so.

My opinion is as follows:

  1. Is this a design you would use if you didn’t sell it to your

If so, how would you use it and how much money would you make from

If not, then consider:

Why not broker the large quanity casting and refinishing, charging
only for your actual time in finding the caster, the supplies and
quality control but keeping the design as your own, or Go ahead the
sell the design for a modest amount taking into account how long it
took you to create it, how unique it is and how difficult it will be
for you to come up with new designs.

Sheridan Reed