I've always considered myself an artist. Not of the pretentious variety, as you can tell by my work, but because I can draw pictures with some degree of talent. I started drawing Charlie Brown in the first grade, and ever since I resigned myself to the fact that I could never replicate the drawing style of Charles Schulz or any other artist, I have been experimenting with my own character designs. It's presently a mixture of Peanuts and Japanese anime, but it is, as it always was and will be, a work in progress.
Notice how I never mentioned "money", or "business", or "end user content license agreements". That's not because I'm opposed to the commercialization of art, but rather I'm lousy at it. I'm sure several freelance employers have gotten some sweet deals because I have no idea how much to charge, and if I did, would I really be worth the money?
I used to sell smiley licenses for $100, which enabled the buyer to use any of my present and future smilies in their product in perpetuity. My family told me I was charging too little. Probably so, and I suppose I could compare similar products from around the web, establish an hourly rate that is a fair reflection of my experience and skill, and all of that stuff. But as I said, I'm an artist, and would much rather animate a cartoon than fill out a time sheet.
Plus, there's a question about what really qualifies as "for profit". Selling instant messaging software that contains my graphics certainly applies, but what if a free forum administrator uses them? Would the extra members my smilies might attract, who in turn click on banner ads that make money for the webmaster, qualify? I don't know and I don't care.
So here's a compromise that I hope will work well for everyone. If you want to use my smilies in your product or service, go ahead. I just ask that you credit me with my name and website or with a link, as well as make a donation. Donate whatever you think my work is worth, because I can't put a price on it.
And even if you're not using my graphics for your own financial gain, please feel free to chip in a few bucks anyway. After all, you don't REALLY need fries with your Big Mac, do you? Wait, what am I saying? Of course you do! Okay, bad example, but you get the idea.
Well, that's about it. I hope I've explained why I'm implementing an honor system. Please don't take advantage of the fact that I'm just one guy without a legal department. Although, either way, the artist in me would love to see my work spread over the entire internet just like those adorable LOLcats.
~ Mike "Mazeguy" Perrucci