Indie fields are full of people desperate to get some sort of professional published credit to prove to others and/or themselves that they aren't crazy for pursuing this dream. I was never desperate. So while it took me 17 years to finally get into the comic shops, at the same time, it enabled me to avoid the Tony Caputos and Andrew Revs and Pat Lees and Josh Blaylocks and Rick Onleys and Stuart J. Levys and....folks, it's a jungle out there.
Hello, Anthony Draco. Draco is a devianTART who looked at a picture of Justin Bieber and decided to render it in pencil. (I haven't heard a single song by Bieber, so no clue what it says about his musical taste.) He posted it to his DA page. He got contacted by Darren Davis at Bluewater about using it for an upcoming Bieber biography comic. Davis has a tendency to forget about NDA's, as the link above demonstrates. So, without the NDA, here's a choice snippet of the contract for the art....
August 5, 2010
This communication shall serve as a contract between *my name here* (collectively ?Artist?) as independent contractor, and *** Productions for Artist to exclusively provide pin-up (collectively the ?Work?) for ?Fame: Justin Bieber? to be used as a pin-up and possible trading card published by *** Productions.
Artist will receive 2 complimentary books for the usage of the ?Justin Bieber? pin-up. *my name here* is a non-exclusive employee of Bluewater Productions for ?FAME: Justin Bieber? and this is a work for hire agreement. The artist claims no right to copyright or characters. Under a copyright ownership of ***. Artist makes no claims to copyright or title now or in the future. Artist owns the artwork and *** is just licensing it from them.
If you agree with the above please sign and return a copy of this communication.
Now, the problem isn't working for comp copies. Hell, I'd work on some projects NOW for comp copies (technically, that's what I did with The Supremacy, and that sold nearly 1K). But here's the thing -- comp copies are for shoestring publishers or collaborations, hoping it leads to better things. Given Bluewater knowing how to market these things, giving only two comp copies? Uh-uh.
Actually, this is really interesting from a legal perspective. See, Draco was within his rights to copy the image of Bieber and post it online. But if he attempts to sell the image or copies of it, THAT'S a copyright violation. It becomes a "derivative work", no matter how he was compensated, and the original photographer can go, "Dis iz a stick-up." Which would potentially shield Bluewater if they got sued. "Hey, we didn't know it was copied! We thought it was original! We even paid for it! 'Twart us, go sue that guy over there!"
I've long said, the only reason some people will pat you on the back is they are looking for a place to put the knife. Let's be careful out there.