Advice wanted: how to hire an artist for “open” work but best support the artist

So – we are hoping to hire an artist to do some contract work for “Gut Check” the microbiome game.  And we need some help and advice.  We would like the game and all the art associated it to be released under as broad an open license as possible.  But we would also like to support the artist as much as possible.  It seems to me there are two general strategies for doing this.  First, we pay extra money to the artist relative to what they might get normally in order to free up the art into the public domain.  And the second is to somehow work out a license and copyright arrangement where the use of the art for the game can be “free and open” but where the artists retains rights for using the art for other purposes.  I can figure out how to do the first option (and this is my preference I think).  But I have not been able to come up with a good strategy for the second option and thus have nothing to really compare the first option to.  So – please – any examples or advice would be greatly appreciated for strategies for releasing artwork openly for one purpose (e.g., our game) but where the artist would retain rights for other uses.


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Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.