How do I protect my copyrights for my children’s book using a freelance illustrator?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How do I protect my copyrights for my children’s book using a freelance illustrator?

Will be self-publishing a children’s book series. Can’t afford to hire an

official illustrator, so I want to use a freelance or art student. If the books do well, how do I protect my ownership of the characters images? Do they get a

portion of all book sales going forward? Do they own the rights to the characters because they drew them?

Asked on November 3, 2018 under Business Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Have they sign an agreement which states both that any illustrations they do for the book or project in question is a "work made for hire" and so the rights belong to you; and as a back-up, that "should any of the Work be deemed to not be work made for hire, the ilustrator hereby assigns any and all rights to [INSERT YOUR OR YOUR BUSINESS'S NAME] and will execute any forms required for such assignment." Basically, have them contractually agree that the rights are yours.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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