The great question, “How do I charge for my artwork time”?

This comes from the screen printers and charging their customers for the making of the screens and the time it takes, which also includes creating the artwork as well.
Since Dye Sublimation doesn’t require the use of such screens there is, of course no cost involved. However there is just as much time involved in the artwork, which does indeed need accounting for.

There are also legal implications with charging customers for ‘artwork’, and does need to be worded correctly. You are selling your service in creating a suitable, printable artwork file. You are NOT selling the finished artwork ready file (unless you actually intend to do so). For selling the file would in effect change the ownership rights under the US Title 17 of the Copyright Code and would require to be priced accordingly. This finished artwork file could be expected to sell for $100.00++ There is no standard, or general figure and is purely based on the owners discretion for loss of income that could be generated from that one piece of work.
So are you charging for SETUP, or ARTWORK? Who then owns what, so far as rights to re-reprinting?

Let’s look at Charging for our time doing the needed artwork. This can easily consume a couple of hours with a more complex custom job, or simply only take fifteen minutes. We could use the same principle as the Screen Printers and require a minimum order quantity to help offset the time spent on artwork, and charge a lower fee for this time. However because sublimation is primarily a process of single items, it could cost sales if minimums was to be required. Another option is to promote NIL artwork charges as a way to increase sales and customer service, thereby profit from sales volume expecting to cover cost of time spent on artwork. Remember we are accounting for our time in creating the printable artwork, and not selling the artwork file itself. So you are charging for ‘SETUP’ and not ‘Artwork’. Wording as ‘Artwork’ may be mis-interpreted by the customer as they are paying for the Artwork rights, to include re-prints. This would mean the customer going to a third party printer to reproduce your work, costing you the loss if income but also the third party infringing on your work.

When selling the Artwork itself with or without the finished printed Item, would be the transfer of your files to the customer. Generally by way of a compressed zip file containing the various formats of the work. ie AI, EPS, PDF etc. These would also be free from watermarks and include a letter of release or ‘Licence’ stating new ownership rights.

So while on the subject... What are the implications of accepting the customers artwork, photos and even computer/internet screenshots?
This very rarely excludes the time usually spent on ‘artwork’, and will generally still require that the photo etc to be edited in some way.
Photos – Are owned by the photographer, either the business or an individual that took the picture. So a letter of release should be obtained, especially if school photos, team photos and such.
Screenshots – Amounts to ‘theft’. The taking without consent someone elses work. In this case the original source should be tracked/traced and permission sought for reprinting. Failing to carry out this is covered by Due Diligence, and would be termed an infringement of Title 17. Tracking down owners should be included in time charged to the customer, but also can be found in any of the many Facebook designer groups. Another useful source for tracking images is the use of (reverse image lookup). So message to the creators – ALWAYS watermark your work! This is extremely helpful in finding you. If no watermark is used, it then becomes a ‘fight’ to prove first ownership (Simply showing that you have the same work, or complained first DOES NOT prove anything).

LEGALITIES. The term ‘Personal use’, ‘family purpose’ or ‘giving away for free’ Still equals theft of the artwork and punishable in court for infringement of Title 17 Copyright Code. One of the other main reasons for prosecution is the fact that you are profiting by advertising the use of said artwork without obtaining the correct license.
ps. Changing the original artwork by altering the colour(s) is still classed as an infringement – FACT. There is no mention within Title 17 of any percentage that any work can be altered to escape prosecution. If it still looks like, resembles the original then you are at fault - FACT.

Many companies also use a disclaimer to avoid prosecution.

Work accepted by The Laughing Professor is on the specific understanding that under the UK 1988 Copyright and Patents Act and US Title 17 Copyright Code the client undertakes that he/she has obtained the copyright release or license for material submitted and will indemnify The Laughing Professor against any breach of the law. An order accepted by The Laughing Professor is on the understanding that the client assumes liability for any resulting violation of copyright in any action brought by a third party.

This is NOT legally binding, and only serves to alert the reader that you are indeed aware and will refuse to accept their order to print their request.