Licencing a model.

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  08 August 2012
Licencing a model.

First off I'd like to apologise, I'm sure you guys get this question regularly. I did run a search but didn't find what I was looking for specifically.

I have been contacted by a person interested in licencing one of my models. It will be used for a mobile phone app. A render of the model will be used, but I will just be providing the mesh. How best to go about this? I don't want to go through Turbosquid, as they take a big chuck of the money, especially for non-US citizens like me. Is there another site people could recommend? Or is there another way I could go about this, like setting up a private contract? How would I do that? What kind of licencing type would be best for me? Any advice people have on this would be greatly appreciated.

Also, this is the model in question (they want it without the holosight scope):

How much would you charge for licencing this model? I'm pretty new to things like this.
  08 August 2012
With the utmost respect, whilst expertly modeled, it seems a bit generic in design to be licensed. Why complicate matters? - just sell it to them and have done with it. The last thing you want is for them to stumble across a similar model that is being sold for 10 and is a few clicks away.
Posted by Proxy
  08 August 2012
Hey, if it's generic, blame Brugger & Thommet, not me :P I didn't design the thing, it's a real world firearm. It's been sitting on my hard drive for ages;, I was approached about licencing it, not the other way around. I think they chose my model out of the several they probably viewed because it of how close it is to the actual weapon. I am quite happy with how it turned out, it took forever to model all those grooves in :P. I put almost a week into the whole model, making sure it was as realistic as possible, and that everything was modelled in instead of depending on bump/displacement maps. Even the letters on the holosight are part of the mesh. A weeks wages for me is slightly more than a tenner :P

Still looking for answers to the questions in my original post guys! Would be good info to have not just for this instance but any future ones too.

EDIT: Oops you can't actually see what I was talking about from that shot. Here's another.

Last edited by AndyCGS : 08 August 2012 at 11:33 AM.
  08 August 2012
Originally Posted by AndyCGS: Hey, if it's generic, blame Brugger & Thommet, not me :P I didn't design the thing, it's a real world firearm.
kind of answered yourself there. Not much legal footing to stand on.
You can still resell it, but if you're going to license it you'd need to go through Brugger & Thommet first.
[Invivo Animation Reel]
  08 August 2012
Is that what the people who made these models had to do?

I'm just looking for a better alternative to Turbosquid, and to protect the mesh that I am handing over for use. I don't want it turning up in a game or other material a few years down the line without being paid for it. Thought people might know the best route in that regard.
  08 August 2012
Technically yes they owe them something, if you designed something from scratch and someone else duplicated it and was selling it wouldn't you want them to give you money for using your design?
  08 August 2012
Does anyone have answers to the queries I posted in my OP?
  08 August 2012
First risk; you may get a cease and desist from the manufacturer, but only if you have your licensing stuff available to the public. This probably will not hit their radar, but what the client does with it, may hit their radar. In that case the client receives the ceases and desist. They will have to deal with it probably. Just lawyer crap until an actual court case is filed. It's all a game, you just have to know how to play along.

If you don't sweat the legalities, move on like this;

You need to setup a licensing agreement. I will try to email you one in a few days that you can adapt and use. I used to license stuff all the time. Licensing paid for my wedding! I've got one piece of art that isn't spectacular at all, but I could license it to about 10-15 people a year for t-shirt printing and it did really well. After the big cash out on it, I trickled an extra $300+ a year out of it for about 12 years. Doesn't sound like much, but imagine having a couple of hundred properties like that.

You need to come up with a tier system based on these questions;
1. Do they want exclusive licensing rights? (Only they will license your model, no one else)
2. How long is the license agreement? 1 run (first print), monthly or yearly?
3. What distribution are they expecting with the license? (200 units, 10,000 units, etc.)

The answers to those questions dictate how much you charge. Come up with a number you can live with and not feel like you are loosing anything. Obviously exclusive rights brings a bit more of a premium. Give the client choices. It's all negotiable. Also, think about how many other pieces they could license from you. Maybe give them a bit of a break and see if they have a need for 3-10 more models to license.

You'll probably have to come up with a realistically reasonable number for them. Of course, you should do a little research and see what they can afford. Leaving money on the table sucks. Don't listen to what people say your work is worth. It is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. The "art buyer" as a client is typically known as, has a value in mind. Some things are worth more to some people than others. Check out my IP post from last week. An artist is probably going to win $150K for a beer logo because the client refused to pay the $80k and just made modifications to the original design. ($80k for a graphic design logo, I'm definitely in the wrong business with this 3d stuff).

Low end: I licensed an illustration for t-shirts to clients for $25 per year. These were after the initial first runs. They can use the design as much as they want with name drops on apparel. However, they cannot resell the design by itself and/or use it on other mediums (websites, ads, etc). The reality is, I can't audit the clients to be sure they are compliant. I just let paypal collect the funds and keep moving forward.

Higher End: T-shirt companies (check out Andy's Tees) pay artist decent money for automotive artwork and possibly give them royalties of $0.05-$0.10+ per shirt. The smaller the upfront pay, the higher the royalty. The automotive manufacturers license the right to print the cars. The printer or vender has to pay $2500 a year plus royalties to the manufacturer to license the logo and vehicle. Then they have to guarantee a quarterly amount in sales to generate a specific royalty amount (usually $5k). If they can't meet that quota, they loose their license and are subject to the manufacturer coming into their business and confiscating their merchandise.

The NFL, NASCAR, MLB all do the same thing. You have to pay license fees to print anything with their logo or property's (products, athletes, logos) likeness. They do it on a big scale. You can do it on a small scale and possibly a big scale one day.
(to bypass a celebrity, you can get away without licensing if you keep your distribution under 200 units - Tiger Woods lost a multi-million dollar case against an artist based on this rule) -

So bottom line; license the heck out of your stuff and get as much as you can while you can. The reality, you may not have the legal prowess or funds to chase anyone that violates your IP. However, if you are creating stuff based off another IP (i.e. a specific gun, vehicle or known character) you don't have any ground to stand on anyway. Using your own original creations will get you free and clear.

Royalities/Licensing IP = residual income = Working Smarter, not harder

Last edited by XLNT-3d : 08 August 2012 at 05:59 PM.
  08 August 2012
Excellent post, thank you! I will PM you my email address now.
  08 August 2012
I may have to clear out my PMs. I let my membership lapse. I should be able to scrounge up the word documents in another day or two for you. They are easy to adapt. I think one of them came from a friend that worked at Disney and it was a simple version of their license agreement.

Just remember one thing. Contracts/agreements are all negotiable (both ways). Whoever presents the licensing agreement first has the most slanted to their favor. Agreements are meant to be more advantageous to the original presenter of the document. For instance, if I am working as a producer or creative director, I usually have two contracts. One contract is between me and the client and it begins with all advantages and rights in my favor. Then I have a separate contract between me and an artist. It is also very heavily in my favor. This is when the negotiations begin and the contracts will usually get changed a few times to make each party happy. Be flexible and bend a bit to make a win win situation.

Negotiations with Client:
For instance, I can't always keep full rights to the property from the client, however, I can keep all working assets. If they want to buy the models and working .PSD and other files, I charge extra because there is a chance they will take the work elsewhere.

Negotiations with Artist:
Again, I negotiate for all rights including working assets. If it becomes an issue, we negotiate.

I can say that it is easier for me to find another artist or do the art myself. It's difficult for clients to deal with artists (suits vs creatives) and/or manage a project and coordinate it to completion. That's why CDs and ADs do very well.

Other than getting a few books on contracts (i.e. Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines:, you should check out a few books to help you understand how to negotiate with people.

- How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
- The Complete Negotiator by Gerard I. Nierenberg

these books are all written by American authors. So taking that into account, things may have to be modified a bit when dealing with clients from other cultures. However, taking the time to really understand their culture and point of view will help you find what they need and how to give it to them. Most of the information is still based on human nature and desire. Whichever culture you do business with, you should look for information from authors from the same culture as well. In my experience, dealing with Americans is different than dealing with people from Europe. Negotiating with Japanese is different than negotiating with South Americans. We do a little of everything at my office, but we also have several managers from each location.

Last edited by XLNT-3d : 08 August 2012 at 02:47 PM.
  08 August 2012
Another excellent post, thank you! I'll try to pm you again in a few days once you've cleared out your PM inbox.
  08 August 2012
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