My contract says that I paid for illustrations for a book and for its front and back covers. (I've completed the payment) Now they want more money and are saying that I need to pay for each copyright to transfer the ownership to me. Do I owe them more money?

  • 1
    Welcome to Writing.SE! I think this question is on-topic here, though it may be better suited to Law.SE. I'd suggest signing up for a full account and then asking this there.
    – F1Krazy
    Apr 14, 2023 at 18:47
  • 2
    Maybe you want a lawyer. Getting advice on such issues from random people on the internet turns out to have a big potential downside.
    – Boba Fit
    Apr 14, 2023 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


It sounds like you paid for a license of the work and not the copyright. According to Justia:

[L]icenses allow a copyright owner to retain the rights while giving someone else a right to exercise some of them, whereas an assignment results in a copyright owner losing control over the work.

A license might give you permission to use the image (that the artist owns) on your book but nothing else. You don't need to own the image if they gave you permission to use it. You would have to check your contract to see what exactly you paid for already and if that's enough for what you need.

See also Repeat client is suddenly demanding intellectual property rights! (which gives some perspective into the artist side of this)

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