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Advice Regarding Commercial Use and Unresponsive Designer

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Hey there! This doesn’t really fit any specific category but it does involve an artist TOS and legal stuff so hopefully this works here? If not let me know! 

Anyway, I’m stuck in kind of an odd situation regarding commercial use and what seems to be the designer of a character I own willfully ignoring me. About two years ago I traded for a design and since then I’ve been developing a story around them that I’ve been considering turning into a game. Before anything else I wanted to get everything squared away regarding commercial use so I didn’t step on any toes and violate any artists TOS. 

That’s what lead me to where I am now. I won’t name names as this is an advice seeking post but in short, I contacted the designer of one of the major characters in this story and they seem to be willfully ignoring me. Their TOS very clearly states to DM regarding commercial use and I did exactly that. One message explaining the project and asking about commercial use, and a follow-up about a week later as the first message had been opened but ignored. This second message was also opened but never answered. They have been active and replying to others, and have possibly soft-blocked me since last time I checked up on their profile I was no longer following them, despite having followed them several months ago, and was still following them when I sent both messages. 

Other than a comment here and there on their art and statuses, I’ve never really interacted with this artist. I traded for the design secondhand too so I didn’t even have direct contact with them for that either. As far as I know I haven’t done anything to upset this artist or otherwise end up on their bad side, so I’m honestly at a loss here.

So thoughts on what I should do? I suppose I should take their silence as a no but I want some other thoughts and opinions on this. 

Thank you! 


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  • Administrator

Unfortunately there's not much you can do. As per Boozy Barrister / Boozy Badger, the artist that originally made the design can pull it at any time if there is no transfer paperwork. I think your only course of action is to work with someone else to make a new design.

Though I am curious, does the artist know you're the rightful owner via trade now? I'm wondering if they think you're a rando who is asking about a character that they believe belongs to someone else.


And as a mod note, for everyone's safety: since this is a legal question please cite sources from professionals. Posts that are just your personal opinion will be hidden as we don't want to be responsible for shaky legal advice.

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Thanks for your response! I figured there wasn’t much I could do, which is a shame because I genuinely enjoy this characters design as it is now, but... c’est la vie. 

As for ownership proof, I linked the characters toyhou.se page, which was created by the original owner and displays the transfer logs of this character. Additionally my username is the same on toyhou.se and on the site I contacted them on, both I have used for at least a year and are well established, so I wouldn’t think I would cause any suspicions there but I suppose it’s possible. 

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  • 2 months later...

Is it possible the person you got the character from can also try contacting the artist to cement the fact that you are the new owner? (If you haven't done that already, of course!) Maybe that would help get the ball rolling in your favor. Best of luck to you!!

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