World Fantasy Award Design Competition Announced

The World Fantasy Award administrators, who decided last year to stop using the Lovecraft bust created by Gahan Wilson, have opened a competition to design the new World Fantasy Award trophy.

Lovecraft’s place will not be taken by another writer:

The ideal design will be simple and elegant, representing both fantasy and horror, without bearing any physical resemblance to any person, living or dead.

The winning design must be sturdy, and able to survive shipping undamaged.

The award statuette will need to fit on a base capable of displaying the name of the award recipient, the year and the award category. The size should be similar to that of the current award (approx. 10″ high x 4″ wide x 5″ deep). It will also need to be a robust piece of work that can travel safely-in the past, awards have been sent to South America, Great Britain, Europe and Australia, so they cannot be fragile, fiddly, prone to come apart or change form with age or extremes of temperature. In the world we live in, they are routinely subjected to security search, so please bear that in mind as well.

… There must be space for a plaque with the details of the specific award, the winner(s) and the year.

The deadline to enter is September 30, 2016. The first round of submissions should include drawings, and give an estimated cost to produce individual copies of the award — up to 20 may be needed in any one year.

Then, up to four artists will be asked to prepare a maquette (a scale model) for review. The board expects to choose the winning design from this group. The winner will be kept secret until the 2015 award winners are revealed at the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus on October 30.

The administrators’ announcement also stressed — with boldface type — that the winning artist will not receive any money for the work, which may have overshadowed the other perks being offered:

Whilst there will be no monetary remuneration, as the WFA is not a financial body and does not hold funds of any kind, the winning artist will be publicised as widely as possible. In addition, the winning artist will, for the next ten years, receive two complimentary memberships to the World Fantasy Convention. Also, that artist will receive two complimentary tickets to the 2016 banquet, and complimentary space in the Columbus art room. The winning artist will receive discounted art space for the ten years after 2016.

The new competition is a reboot of last November’s call for artists to submit new award designs. The earlier call did not mention any compensation, which at the time provoked John Picacio to author an “Artists Beware” post.

The latest announcement was greeted with a fresh expression of outrage by Mary Robinette Kowal (“MRK’s very strong feelings about the WFC award specs and paying artists”), a blog post paraphrasing her letter to the award administrators —

…So when World Fantasy announced that they were going to replace the existing award, I asked for more information.

Today I got it. And it is bullshit.

I say this with some pain. A couple of the people on the committee are friends and I feel like they should know better. So I sent back a letter saying that I would not be submitting a design and asking them to change their award criteria.

Here are the points I made, in a slightly edited for in order to provide more information for anyone who is considering submitting a design.

  1. “there will be no monetary remuneration”– World Fantasy is “not a financial body and does not hold funds of any kind.” Okay, fair enough, but if you can require conventions to give away memberships, then you can require them to compensate the artist for their time. There’s also this thing called crowdfunding that would allow payment of an artist and could be done in cooperation with another organization.
  2. “The copyright of the piece must remain with the WFA for the lifetime of the award.” — While a buyout is not uncommon for work-for-hire, it usually comes at a higher price to represent the value of the copyright. There are multiple legal options to allow the artist to maintain the copyright, while at the same time protecting World Fantasy’s right to use and control the use of the image. An unpaid copyright grab is unnecessary and inappropriate….

However, John Picacio responded more favorably to the latest call because the winner will now receive some compensation, even if it is not in cash.

On the subject of the World Fantasy Awards design competition: I’m glad I spoke out in November. I’m glad Mary Robinette Kowal shared her eloquence today. We stand with working artists. May I say this though: Let’s please not lose sight of the fact that the World Fantasy Awards administration is now offering to the winning artist two complimentary memberships for ten years + two complimentary 2016 banquet tickets + complimentary space in the 2016 art show + discounted art space for ten years in the the art show. This is a SIGNIFICANT improvement from their November announcement, and I credit them for doing so, and I credit ALL who continue to speak up on behalf of working creators throughout this process. I’m not sure if the new announcement as posted on Rodger Turner’s site is even fully finished yet, so I won’t share it yet in case further improvements are added.

For example, two WFC memberships per year multiplied by 10 years amounts to several thousand dollars in value.

But Picacio continues to make the point that better compensation will lead to a superior design.

Kowal and World Fantasy board member Ellen Datlow spent the day in a Twitter dialog. With fuller information Kowal agreed one of her objections did not apply.

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh for the story.]


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49 thoughts on “World Fantasy Award Design Competition Announced

  1. When we got a hangout for the kinky community in Sweden, we had to build everything from scratch. Walls, toilets, ventilation and whatever. I guess I spent around 1000 hours just the first year. Some of it in professional capacity, some of it as amateur. We had profesionall electricians, plumbers, carpenters and whatever helping us out. Because that is what it is to work in a community.

    What Mary Robinette Kowal is that artists, as a group, are the only ones that should be extempt from this. Computer programmers and System Developers who help build websites and administration should do it for free. Hosts and administrators should work for free. Artists should get paid. This for an award given away for free to honour among others artists.

    This is, to quote her, bullshit.

  2. I don’t feel it’s a cut-and-dried issue that World Fantasy “must” pay the creator of the next WFA trophy.

    There was, at least for one or two years, an honorarium paid to the winner of the Hugo Award base design competition, but that was dropped several years ago and now the design work is virtually done gratis — the MidAmeriCon winner is getting one free membership. Of course, as a fan award, there may be less pressure to prevent people from doing voluntary work in producing it.

    The World Fantasy Con is positioned as an elite and exclusive professional event. However, a lot of them have been run by fan groups who also put on Worldcons (or want to) — people I know well — and presumably couldn’t have happened unless carried out by unpaid volunteers. I’m not alienated by the idea that an artist could participate on the same basis. And with the package of comp memberships and other perks on the table, the winner will not actually be unpaid.

  3. I like the idea of a statuette of a wereman from elsethread.

    For extra horror, a wereman caught in mid transformation!

  4. To any gods or demons who may be listening: please, let it not be a dragon!

  5. Perhaps with the rise of Urban Fantasy, it should be a Metro gnome.

    I’ll get me coat.

  6. I thought we had all agreed on a statue of Jason Chimera of the Washington Capitals. (Or did some Canadian fantasy group call dibs on the Chimera statue?)

  7. “To any gods or demons who may be listening: please, let it not be a dragon!”

    Frankensteins Dragon.

  8. What do people have against Mesopotamian fertility gods? I think a grainy fish god statue would be cool.

    What?

    Aren’t we discussing Dagon?

  9. Some sort of dragon unicorn hybrid? Dragicorn? Obviously this would be a horse with a small lizard stuck to its head.

  10. To any gods or demons who may be listening: please, let it not be a dragon!

    See, now it has to be a dragon. Look how well that would represent both fantasy and horror.

  11. I think there’s a feeling of disconnect between “We’re looking for top quality professional work to represent the best of our profession” and “We want it for free”.

    What they are asking for is not amateur-hour stuff. It’s implicit in the requirements that they assume that applicants have enough professional experience to quote production costs for large runs, and that a discount on display space is a meaningful incentive.

    I have not attended the WFA so I can not speak to the number of professional sculptors that regularly pay to be able to sell their work there that the WFA sees this as significant incentive to attract a large pool of entries. If that’s really the case, the WFA may have been better off approaching their regulars and seeing if they would be willing to do the work in exchange for the exposure. If they did not think they could generate enough interest on a one-on-one basis from the professionals who already pay to attend (or were afraid of being laughed at on a one-on-one basis), I’m not sure why they would expect a better reaction from a public competition of those who don’t.

    If the WFA announced that they wanted to release a story collection at the convention to represent the best of the genre and asked for submissions on the basis that writers
    1) Would not be paid
    2) Would have to give up copyright to their work

    I don’t think there’s many professional writers who would take very kindly to the suggestion that they should be happy for the chance to do it “for the good of the community”.

  12. @ Ryan H
    “. . . the WFA may have been better off approaching their regulars and seeing if they would be willing to do the work in exchange for the exposure.”

    Given that most if not all of “their regulars” should be aware of this announcement, isn’t that what they are in effect doing? If I were a regular professional attendee of this professionally-oriented event, I might think that the publicity and exposure resulting from winning the gig would be be worth the time/effort/expense involved, leaving aside the indirect monetary worth of 10 years of two free memberships plus discounted art show costs.

  13. It’s the combination of asking for the copyright and not offering appropriate compensation for it that really troubles me.

    The con memberships are great, but they require an outlay of funds in order to take advantage of them. There are undoubtedly artists who regularly attend that will find this useful. For me, it raises a question of respect. If the manufacturer can be paid, why not the artist?

  14. Ryan H:

    I’ve only attended a few WFA cons and large expensive sculptures were not the norm. Wolrdcons, yes. Smaller venues, not really.

    It isn’t that they want it for free, they want to use the archaic system of barter as enticement. So, if certain conditions aren’t met–say a missed convention on the part of the artist–it’s no sweat off their brow. Sounds cheap to me.

  15. I see the argument that the memberships are a decent recompense, but I’m not quite convinced from the point of view of whether it will produce a quality result.
    Is there a good pool of artists attending or interested in attending WFC? If so, great, but you’re also restricting your likely choices to them. Non-USAians are unlikely to find it an attractive offer, and the same for less-established artists who would find the additional costs of attending WFC a burden that even the comp membership wouldn’t compensate for.
    I suspect time will tell: if this approach produces a high-quality competition then I guess it will be shown to have been justified, but if it ends up with 4 zombie-dragon-sloths…then not so much.
    Incidentally, if an upfront fee wasn’t feasible, what about an agreed ongoing fee per use?

  16. I don’t know WFC protocols too terribly well, but they do a souvenir program book. Are contributors paid for content in that? They typically provide members with freebies provided by publishers (at least according to their website they do). Does the WFC pay for the stuff in the bags or the bags themselves?

    As I understand it, this is a call for voluntary submissions with non-monetary perks in lieu of cash payment. I don’t see anyone who dislikes these terms being required to submit. The biggest sticking point for me would be copyright. Apart from that, the terms seem reasonable, so long as they’re clearly stated up front.

    In 8756, we no longer give awards collectively.

  17. How about that statue of Lucille Ball that was making the internet rounds last year?

  18. @Hampus Eckerman

    [self-serving bullshit cut out]

    What Mary Robinette Kowal is that artists, as a group, are the only ones that should be extempt from this. Computer programmers and System Developers who help build websites and administration should do it for free. Hosts and administrators should work for free. Artists should get paid. This for an award given away for free to honour among others artists.

    Dear Mr. Eckerman,

    Do you always misquote and misinterpret other peoples’ words or is it something that happens only with regard to Ms. Kowal? Did she ask anyone else to work for free?

    As an aside, do note that the authors themselves will be awarded not only with the statue, but with sizable benefits (even if those benefits are only of the “in-kind” nature). The producer of the award will be, obviously, remunerated for it – and no-one seems to be surprised by it! It’s obvious, that you need to pay for getting the awards done! But the designer of the award is supposed to be happy only with a kind word of thanks and the publicity. Don’t you think it’s… inconsiderate?

  19. If a professional artist believes that what the WFC is providing is fair compensation, that’s up to them.

    I get twitchy when it is framed as a competitive event.

    And ‘great exposure’ is such a canard. I can’t pay my rent, my phone bill or insurance with ‘great exposure’. Just be honest and tell me you’re begging for free work. I’ll have a little more respect for you.

  20. Hampus:

    One difference you’re missing is that, in your example, everyone donated their time and energy. The artist who goes to the WFC isn’t just being asked to donate their time: they’re also going to have to pay for a hotel room and transportation. Even if the winner lives near the site of the next WFC, ten years’ memberships means nine years of travel expenses: unlike your community center, WFC moves around.

    Also, WFC is paying the hotel. They’re paying for food. They’re paying the people who print the program book, not expecting them to do it for “exposure” of how good a job they did.

    WFC and the local groups that run individual conventions may be not-for-profit organizations, but that’s a legal term of art. It doesn’t mean they don’t handle significant money, nor that they can’t sell memberships at a price that is designed to produce a surplus that the organization can keep to use for its future projects. It just means there are limits on what those projects can be, and “put it all in the con chair’s pocket” is outside those limits (OGH knows a lot more about this than I do, but my former employer’s 501(c)3 tax exempt status didn’t stop me from collecting a salary and benefits).

  21. People keep saying that the renumeration is only “a kind word of thanks” or that it’s just “exposure”. Have you priced going to the World Fantasy Con lately? I don’t know what the discount on the art show space is worth, but the memberships alone are worth over three thousand dollars at a bare minimum. This years WFC membership is going for $250, preregistration for next year’s WFC is already $150, and I don’t foresee WFC membership prices going down. Nor do I know of any reason why they can’t be resold in the event of the artist not wishing to use them, like any other membership.

    Yes, the convention is offering to pay “in kind”, but the “in kind” does have a cash value, and it is possible to convert it to cash. And that cash value is several thousand bucks.

    Now, whether that’s an appropriate price to pay for all the rights to the molds of a sculpture, that I don’t know, not being an artist. But it’s not “just exposure”.

  22. It’s easy to attack zero compensation. But what dollar amount does a Picacio or Kowal think is professional standard for designing the WFA trophy? I understand they are reacting to what was presented. But if an amount of money had been included what would they be comparing it to to decide if the offer was adequate?

  23. Jubal:

    [pure assholishness cut out]

    “But the designer of the award is supposed to be happy only with a kind word of thanks and the publicity.

    Only a kind word…

    …and for the next ten years, receive two complimentary memberships to the World Fantasy Convention. Also, that artist will receive two complimentary tickets to the 2016 banquet, and complimentary space in the Columbus art room. The winning artist will receive discounted art space for the ten years after 2016.

    Please read the proposal next time.

    Vicki Rosenzweig:

    “The artist who goes to the WFC isn’t just being asked to donate their time: they’re also going to have to pay for a hotel room and transportation. “

    Tell you what. That seems like every volunteer for most cons. Even for the organizers that puts in hundreds or sometimes thousands of hours. Should they all be paid? Should all people who work to make conventions possible now be paid? Or only artists?

    I do think we must differentiate between for profit and non-profit.

  24. @Mike

    Obviously I’ve no idea about precise dollar amounts, but I’m confident a professional artist can do some sort of (time estimate * desired rate * handicap for chances of winning) where the desired rate is informed by their knowledge of their own potential income from doing something else. I’m sure the intangibles of having your name associated with the trophy would come into it as well.
    The way that the offered recompense will be of very different perceived value to different people also comes into play. (Although Cally’s point about resellability potentially solves that)

  25. I dunno… can amateurs get a good thing done in time for this? Maybe.

    But the “free memberships and art show space” is kinda like how you can “win a free cruise” except you have to pay all the taxes and fees and transport to the cruise. It feels like those dodgy timeshare presentations.

    The winner must ABSOLUTELY be allowed to resell the memberships, banquet, and art show space if they can’t attend due to airfare, hotel, etc. And these bennies should be severable from each other so they can be sold to different people — a writer isn’t going to want art show space. That would be some decent remuneration. If it can’t be transferred, the con is out nothing and the artist gets nothing if they can’t/don’t travel.

    MRK has a good point about crowdfunding.

    Here in 372 we’re too busy fighting barbarians to give literary awards.

  26. The con volunteering I’ve done has been in ways where I have significantly more control over how much or little time and energy I donate—including “I’m not busy at 3:00, do you need someone to watch the art show door?” as well as “yes, I would like to be on a panel about Le Guin, and it’s generally for cons I have already decided to go to. There’s a practical as well as emotional difference between deciding whether to volunteer for a con I’ve already decided to go to (for reasons including that I liked last year’s or the GoH interests me) and being asked to spend significant time and money for the benefit of a con I wasn’t already planning on.

    Cynical me is wondering, if WFC organizers are arguing that they can’t pay and need to own the copyright because a different group hosts/runs each year’s con, how can they bind the next ten years’ concoms to give the artist those free memberships? Similarly, on the theory that the artist’s time is worth something, 20 memberships that could be resold for $150 each iff they can find buyers every year from now to 2025) is worth less to them than $3000 they could spend now, or even a commitment to pay $300/year for ten years. Payment in kind is only a good deal if you actually want the thing that you’re being offered. (I would for example be willing to barter for housecleaning, but not for a year’s supply of Turtle Wax.)

  27. Given all the complaints and bad publicity about last year’s WFC, this doesn’t seem like the best time for them to be begging for donations. They’ve damaged the value of their brand, which reduces the value of the compensation they are offering.

    I tend to agree with lurkertype—the offer would be a lot more appealing if the tickets could be resold. But if you’re going to go that route, why not just offer the cash with an option to convert it to tickets?

    As for the copyright ownership, well, that’s a subject of hot debate in the Free Software community. The WFC is probably better positioned to deal with potential infringement cases, and the work is going to be strongly associated with their brand, so protecting it is going to be far more important to them than to the artist. At the same time, they could easily arrange to be the exclusive agents for the copyright without any need to actually own it. That would make it easier for the rights to revert to the artist if the WFC were to stop using it for some reason. It would (or at least could) provide better protection for both parties. But it might require lawyers, an expense both parties might prefer to avoid. So…mixed bag, mixed bag.

  28. Eh, any event that markets itself as being ‘for professionals’ and charges $250 a head can afford to pay for design work, particularly when that work is going to be a major part of their ongoing brand and identity.

    This isn’t really my specific area, but something typical for this kind of work would be picking a six or a dozen artists with good recommendations and offering couple hundred for design sketches with estimates. Then pick the two or three that you like the look of and spend a few hundred more to get a model/further development on each of them. Then the winner gets picked for a final full-sized real thing. If the final cost for the convention ends up being under $5000 for everything then they are doing very well indeed. If that seems high to you, figure that the final designer is likely to spend 50-100 hours by the end of this, outside of any material costs.

    If you want to do it as a contest, you don’t have to pay out for the initial design stage, but you likely have to raise your total payout if you want professionals to get involved. No one runs a design competition because they want the highest quality result. You run design competitions as a form of advertising and attract interest.

  29. I just read the announcement in full and I noticed something which I think needs to be clarified a bit. It says two memberships, but there are attending memberships and supporting memberships. Clearly, for 2016, at least, it would probably be an attending membership. But it’s by no means specified as an attending membership in the announcement.

    The devil is in the details. Near the bottom, there’s the following: “Everyone who is invited to submit (not just inquiries) a viable entry will receive a membership (at staff rate) to Columbus or a supporting membership (if you are unable to attend).”, so that might mean they’re talking about attendings specifically for the winner, but I’d want to nail that down ahead of time, if I were considering entering.

    Here in 372, I’m not thinking about anything other than a safe place to sleep and my next meal.

  30. Vicki Rosenzweig:

    “The con volunteering I’ve done has been in ways where I have significantly more control over how much or little time and energy I donate—including “I’m not busy at 3:00, do you need someone to watch the art show door?” as well as “yes, I would like to be on a panel about Le Guin, and it’s generally for cons I have already decided to go to. There’s a practical as well as emotional difference between deciding whether to volunteer for a con I’ve already decided to go to (for reasons including that I liked last year’s or the GoH interests me) and being asked to spend significant time and money for the benefit of a con I wasn’t already planning on.”

    I have been organizer for conventions and fairs, unpaid, and my experience is that you have little control then over how much energy you spend. When you are in, you are all in and have to spend whatever necessary. The other option is quitting.

    Should we then say that all people in administration, in preparation, of conventions should be paid? All people working around them? All qualified people who others are lost without? And why presume that artists would never like to go to this convention?

    For me the question of payment has one reason: Priority. You pay a person because you want the person to not prioritize paid work over the conventions needs. You pay the person, so there is lesser chance the person will quit. Because that happens.

    It is not wrong to ask people to donate their free time, regardless of if they are artists, computer programmers, accountants, engineers, administrators or whatever.

  31. Vicki Rosenzweig on March 31, 2016 at 3:49 pm said:

    Cynical me is wondering, if WFC organizers are arguing that they can’t pay and need to own the copyright because a different group hosts/runs each year’s con, how can they bind the next ten years’ concoms to give the artist those free memberships?

    Because they can make it a condition of bidding. It’s sort of like how Worldcon bids are bound to follow the WSFS Constitution, and thus have a small number of required things: Present Hugos, hold a Business Meeting, and conduct the Now+N Worldcon Site Selection. But the individual Worldcons do not own the WSFS intellectual property (the service marks on “Worldcon,” “Hugo Award,” the Hugo Award Logo, and so forth). Those are owned by WSFS as a whole, and managed through the WSFS Mark Protection Committee. An individual Worldcon cannot, for example, sell exclusive rights to the name “Hugo Award” because the individual committee doesn’t own them.

    Speaking of the Hugo Award logo, that was designed in a contest, with the winner, Jeremy Kratz, received a glass trophy featuring the winning design, a $500 cash award (sponsored by SCIFI and paid out of a past Worldcon’s surplus), a membership to a future Worldcon, signed copies of Neil Gaiman’s Hugo Award-winning novel American Gods and novella Coraline and the collection Fragile Things, including the Hugo Award-winning short story “A Study in Emerald,” and the right to identify himself as the designer of the logo and to use it in that context. WSFS owns the logo. You can see the Hugo Award Logo Contest rules for the full details.

    One distinction, I guess, is that WSFS is a non-profit organization, as are the individual Worldcons. World Fantasy Conventions need not be run as non-profit organizations, and some committees have been explicitly run on a profit-making basis for their organizers.

  32. I want to be clear, since this part didn’t get quoted, that I think that this package will be attractive to some artists and be of benefit to them. It is the combination of the copyright requirement AND the lack of monetary compensation that I have trouble with.

    Now, may I draw some distinctions here between the situation for other volunteers and the artists? WFC bills itself as being a professional convention for writers, editors, and agents. It’s focused on writing. While there is an art show, it’s a fiction convention.

    1. I believe that administrative volunteers gets reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses so there is a time cost, but not a material cost. The artist faces not just a time-cost, but also a material cost in producing a prototype.

    2. Most people who volunteer are not volunteering to do something that is their day job. Obviously some do, but usually you’re at a con to escape from the day job. Art is the artist’s job.

    3. Administrative volunteers aren’t being asked to give up their copyright.

    4. Administrative volunteers aren’t being asked to create a symbol of the event that will be used for the next [x] years.

    To put this another way… I’m doing programming for the Nebula awards, totally as a volunteer. I volunteer on panels at WorldCon. But when conventions ask for a puppet show, that… That’s my job. I don’t volunteer to do puppetry. We crowd-funded for WorldCon because they couldn’t afford us. I turned down WFC because they couldn’t afford us. NerdCon could, so we did a show.

    Puppetry is my job and doing it for free means that I have to turn down paying work. I’ve had to fight to get paid, to have it recognized as a job in the first place.

    This is not unique. Every artist faces this.

  33. Mary Robinette Kowal on March 31, 2016 at 5:02 pm said:

    I’ve had to fight to get paid, to have it recognized as a job in the first place.

    This is not unique. Every artist faces this.

    And that, I think, is the crux of it. Like Hampus, I’ve donated thousands of hours of my time for various projects, but nobody has ever suggested that doing so was in my best interest or that I was receiving some sort of benefit by way of social capital from my endeavors

    If I were an artist, this would not be true, because artists do face this routinely and I’ve been told on numerous occasions that it’s galling.

    I would certainly support a crowdfunding effort to pay for materials and submissions and if future World Fantasy Conventions could be made to offer memberships as a condition of their bids, I don’t see why financial remuneration would not also be an option.

  34. “Like Hampus, I’ve donated thousands of hours of my time for various projects, but nobody has ever suggested that doing so was in my best interest or that I was receiving some sort of benefit by way of social capital from my endeavors.”

    Let me just say that I am 100% against working for exposure. That is not an “honour”. That is wanting work for free. If an artist doesn’t already feel a connection to WFC, wanting to volunteer work because they think it is for a good cause, they shouldn’t join this design competition.

    That artists should be compensated for material costs is a given.

  35. Funny how a con with no board members* and a determined focus on fans can afford to pay an artist $500, fancy books, and an acknowledgement of copyright, while a professional con that has a board and charges more for memberships (and sometimes is for-profit) expects artists to work for free.

    I didn’t see anything in there about even reimbursing the winner or finalists for material costs.

    It’s considered silly here in 4580.

    *Or Hugo board members. Yes, I’m still pointing and laughing at that guy.

  36. I wonder if it would be possible to crowdfund appropriate pay for designing the award.

    On the down side, running a crowdfunding campaign is probably a great deal of work. So it comes down to who is going to volunteer to do that…

  37. @lurkertype: In fairness, the board overseeing WFC charges nothing for memberships; the individual cons that put on WFC charge for memberships.

    @Various: I’m not clear on whether the memberships given to the winning artist could be re-sold; I’d expect not, since comp’d memberships usually aren’t. E.g., if I invite X as a guest, and X can’t make it, they can’t sell their membership to Y for $lots – it’s non-transferrable.

    WFC’s board seems to be saying they have zero money – only control over the bidding/awarding of WFC. But surely they could come up with something a bit more tangible; they have SFF professionals and past/future WFCs on tap, surely. Heck, they’re putting obligations on the next 10 WFCs; how tough would it be to require the next 10 WFC bids awarded (since I’d guess they can’t change terms on awarded bids) to each donate $50 or $100? That’s a pittance for a WFC budget, methinks. Or is there some tax or other legal reason they’re trying to avoid this?

    BTW I’d probably donate a little towards crowd funding. In Soviet year 4560, funds crowd you!

    ETA: @Cat – yes, someone (really, someone connected with the board) would have to run it. ;-( Hmm.

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  39. Since Mary Robinette Kowal was kind enough to write a comment further explaining her opposition to the terms offered in the WFA announcement, and clarifying that they might be attractive to someone, I would also like to hear an answer to my question about what the threshhold amount of payment would need to be for them to be acceptable to her?

  40. My clarification was in my original post.

    Threshhold payment for a buyout. Personally? Honestly, I won’t do buyouts unless there’re a lot of zeroes. I backed out of a feature film once for exactly this reason. I mean… shoot. I’ve written fiction for Doctor Who and retained the copyright on my story.

    So, really, there’s no need to ask for the copyright.

    Price. Look, context is important when talking about money. I think the Hugos $500 is totally reasonable as an honorarium for a fan-run convention, because it acknowledges that there is effort and material AND they also allow the winning artist to manufacture the awards and thus get compensated in that way as well.

    They also don’t try to buy the copyright.

    Even so, I would laugh at that price if it were a commercial organization. Part of what you are looking at is what the organization is going to do with your work. A one time thing is totally different from something that will be in use for decades.

    Just as a measure of comparison, buyouts for photos come in around $2000 and that’s not for something that’s as high profile as this. Also, mind you, that’s for an existing work, not something that is created specifically to be the symbol of an organization. WFA has made it clear that “this is not a commercial opportunity” which is a good distinction to draw, but if this were a professional job, I would expect it to be a lot higher than $2000.

    So, context.

    As I said in the original post, I won’t be pursuing this but I also understand why other people will, and there’s no shame in their choice.

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