We all know Graphic River’s “3 variations rule”. At first take it seems fair cause it prevent authors bulk their portfolios and the marketplace with easy-to-make & with no-further-value derivatives. But what of the cases that the derivatives are not easy-to-make, have added market value and/or need to be more than 3 in order to make the whole effort complete, worthwhile for the author as well as price friendly for the buyer? Would you say then that this rule is, not really unfair but… inadequate? I’ll start by setting out a personal example and I’ll generalize as I go along.
I recently developed a cartoon blue bird character to be marketed with Royalty Free (RF) licence via RF agencies like Envato. The idea was to create a character that could give visual aid to someone’s twit. The whole project consists of 15 illustrations/poses that covers a variety of emotions and situations. The study for the basic character’s style and a set that would be complete took more than half of the whole project’s time .
I packed these 15 illustrations in 5 items of 3 poses each. The first 3 in line were approved and placed in the library on the $6 price range and the latter 2 were rejected due to the “3 derivatives rule” with the underline suggestion of making three 5-poses packs to include all. My guess is that the 5-pack items would be at the $8 or $9 price range. My experience from other agencies I uploaded this and other sets as single files is that 70% of the buyers prefer to purchase only one illustration as fit for their project and only 10% purchased bunches of 3 or more. If this statistic stands true it makes the 5-pack price unfriendly to 9 out of 10 potential buyers. On the other hand 3 single-pose items would dismiss 80% of the project and a 5-pack at $3 or $4 price range would make the effort not worthwhile. (you can see the approved items here: http://graphicriver.net/item/blue-bird-happysmartyopen/3472123?WT.ac=portfolio&WT.seg_1=portfolio&WT.z_author=gnazlis http://graphicriver.net/item/blue-bird-shocklolemotional/3472864?WT.ac=portfolio&WT.seg_1=portfolio&WT.z_author=gnazlis http://graphicriver.net/item/blue-bird-strictseriusvicious/3473049?WT.ac=portfolio&WT.seg_1=portfolio&WT.z_author=gnazlis)
There are subject categories like cartoon characters, logos, brand IDs or Icons that intake the possibility of having many more than 3 marketable derivatives, if worked thoroughly. There are many authors that wants to do the extra work in order to produce an outcome that meets their highest standard. Having this outcome available, at a fair price is at the best interest of all involved. I acknowledge that the “3 derivative rule” helps keep the library in order and prevents “junk” from reaching the marketplace. On the other hand it closes the door on many more market-worthy creations and tend on “policing” certain categories into unfriendly prices, either towards the author or the buyers or both. I believe that a restriction approach creates a gap that needs to be addressed by both the GR team as well as authors. Neither can really determine the marketability of derivatives. We should allow the market decide for that. A restrictive rule can only mean loss of revenue for both GR and authors in exchange for the necessity of the library’s order.
My take on this issue is that the “3 derivative rule” could be replaced by an option that produces revenue and keeps the library even neater. I suggest creating a folder/item option that could be called “Project”. An authors could put in one “Project” as many derivatives as he determines are marketable and split them in equally priced items. This “Project” can have the same presentation structure (thumbnail, preview) as all other items. When buyers visit it they’d be presented with an interface that allows them the option to choose to purchase any number of derivatives or the whole “Project” at proportional prices (something like the option i-Tunes gives of buying a whole artist’s album or individual tracks).
For instance, let’s say one creates 15 poses of the same “Santa-Claus” cartoon character. He/she can put them in only ONE “Project” and let the buyer buy as many poses as he needs with a price structure as follows: one pose for $3, two for $5 and every one after that for 1 extra $ or alternatively buy the whole “Project” for $12. This way there are no restrictions neither to the buyer nor to the author and GR, given this option, could impose a “no derivative” rule and have the library even neater. Envato’s advance and versatile preview system makes it ideal for such an option. This would convert a “restrictive rule” all RF agencies have to a “creative solution” no other agency has. I believe it would give a boost to exclusivity on both the authors and the buyers by producing an environment that encourages more creativity and fair pricing…
Fellow authors and GR staff I’m interested on hearing your take on this
George Nazlis illustrator – author
note 1. The prices ($) would still be set by GR and would be based on a single purchase, for instance: first item $100%, second $60%, every other $30% , Project $80% of the sum of all individual items.
+1 This is a very good idea ! Let’s hope it’ll mean something for GR Team and change something.