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I have created a 3D model and a few animations for this client. They are asking for the 3D model so they can do some "additions".


If I can't persuade them to stick with me, what do you think is a good price for a copyright release?

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...always a tricky question to answer

The primary question is: do you really want to keep this client?  If they are asking this question then generally the answer tends towards 'no' for me - but every situation is a unique one.

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Always lame when someone asks for the 3d files. If this wasn't part of the deal or job in the first place, or this hasn't been negotiated in the beginning, it's always trouble. I've had a very nice client who loved my sketches of a character, and he wanted to buy the intellectual rights for that. We agreed on a price, set up the paperwork and both parties were happy and content. I also had another client asking for a 3d source file, and if I didn't hand it over, their client wouldn't pay the bill they owed to my client(about 40k bill) which put me in a position I didn't really had a choice. If I didn't give them the file, I would lose a very good client of mine, and they didn't get their 40k bill paid by their client. After several of these incidents I decided to talk to a lawyer who specializes in copyright and they made a terms of agreement, which I always forward to my clients. This did cost me quite a lot of money, but I was really sick of those questions and being put against a wall.


Also, when you say 'additions' or alterations to your model, that is something you have to agree upon. If you don't want to have any alterations or additions to your design or model, they can't , unless they have your approval for that (and your approval of the outcome they produce). You could say you'll be happy to make these additions or alterations for maybe a bit lower price for them, or that you have no trouble fixing things for them to keep the same level of quality. When you give your source files away, who knows who's going to work on them and what they might do to it (and destroy your work). If you have a very specific style, this could be a bad thing for your reputation. Others might recognize your style, but maybe not the amount of detail they're used to. 


IF you decide selling the files, make a very good price for yourself. When the client has the source files, they can make countless more things with it, visuals, animations, anything YOU could be doing for them at a fraction of the cost of the source files. 

But to answer your question a bit more to the point (sorry, I get carried away when these questions pop up): it depends. Who's the client, how big is the client (only local, national, international), are you selling just the files, but not the intellectual rights, and so on. The sketch I talked about in the beginning of this post, went away for 25k (for just a sketch and the intellectual property). Another 3d model went away for about 6k, without the intellectual property. So it varies. 

And again, always go for the 'no, I'll be happy to do it for you!'

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Was anything signed before you began work with the client? 


Very often I have to sign a bunch of stuff while freelancing... NDAs etc. And among them is usually a document that says that the copyright ownership of the work generated while I'm freelancing for the company is theirs. 


There is a grey area between this and the 'comissioned' route. Which is particularily applicable to someone with a certain style which is being bought into by the client. This is where I'd expect to see copyright buyouts - (or costed per usage amount or timeframetime for the imagery, a-la a photographers contract).


If your sitting close to the first camp, I'd suggest just billing for the time spent building the model. Although obviously all this stuff should be agreed in advance ideally.






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Great replies, thanks.


I don't do a lot for the client so I wouldn't miss the work too much but there's always the potential for more, but not if i give away the model.


Kingcoma, I've never invoiced for 40k before, you have some good clients and do great work by the look of it 😀


I asked why they wanted it and they said "just for some an meeting" whatever that means.


I think I really need to charge a lot for the model and just say goodbye.





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I'm with @rfanoni on this one. Whenever I model something for a client that is the main thing I am being paid for, so I always expect to hand over the model, for the client to do as they please with it for perpetuity ! If you have charged properly for the time in making it, that should be all you want right (presuming it doesn't have some intellectual property / creative content you added yourself over and above the reference that was provided) ? I don't know what your original agreement was, but I imagine the client thinks they own that model if they have paid you for making it originally.



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