As someone who's on Photo.SE the "pricing" question comes up all the time from newbs about to embark on hanging out a shingle, and it often gets closed as too localized, or opinion-based, but some of the them do make the cut. And questions on intellectual property, fair use, best practices, and model or location releases do get their time.

I'm guessing similar questions might arise here on A&C with newbs about to embark on their first gallery show. Would something like "Can I sell a painting I made of someone else's photograph?" or "How do I handle a dispute with the gallery on how my painting is hung?" or "When do I need a contract for a commissioned piece?" or "I'm trying to break into the self-published comics world, how do I determine a good print service?" and the like be considered on-topic questions?

  • 1
    freelancing.stackexchange.com is probably the correct SE for those questions but I'm not active there so check out their help/meta first.
    – BSMP
    May 16, 2016 at 19:01

3 Answers 3


When it comes to legal questions, including those regarding copyright and trademark, those need to go to Law.SE. Every country can have different laws about this and there's no way for us to actually answer these questions without leaving our scope far behind. We also don't want to run the risk of saying "that's totally fine" and being wrong and then being at fault for giving answers like this.

Really, the only good answer to a law question is "Ask a lawyer in your area".

Business is the same. We are not business-people, even if some of us happen to run businesses. Questions about running your art/craft-related business should be asked in a business-centric place.

A similar rule exists on Cooking.SE. - While questions about cooking, equipment, and ingredients (even on an industrial level) are all perfectly on topic, questions about cooking career advice or the restaurant/hospitality business are not.


I feel this site is more about the creation of arts and crafts more than the selling and or purchasing of art. While your question example don't cover purchasing I think I can bundle up both cases here.

"Can I sell a painting I made of someone else's photograph?"

"How do I handle a dispute with the gallery on how my painting is hung?"

I think questions like this, while you could argue them useful, would be too localized to either the OP or that general geographical area. In the case of the former, it is too broad as it depends on several variables "Contact the photographer or vists website for details....". If you would include those details I would expect it to then be too localized.

When do I need a contract for a commissioned piece?

I'm trying to break into the self-published comics world, how do I determine a good print service?

Same with these and you could argue a couple of close reasons. Opinionated and potentially too localized would fit here as well.

While these could be good questions as far as questions go I think they would only have value for the OP and maybe a couple of others. The only way to broaden it would devalue the answer.

Unless we see some good examples from the community that don't fit close reason my hunch is no.

For something like: "Can I sell a painting I made of someone else's photograph?" I do think we could have a meta that talks about that one question and have a community wiki response. When users do ask the question we could close it and direct them to the meta which would have some general guidelines for copyright information (more so when to start looking for answer not actual legal advice) so as to not leave the OP dry.

  • I'm not sure I understand the last section about the meta question. Why would it be on meta instead of on the main site?
    – Catija
    May 17, 2016 at 18:40
  • @Catija I would think because there would not be an actual/true answer . It wouldn't be possible. The meta would just be a stepping stone to try and be useful so as to not just tell the user "Sorry, we don't do that here." Instead it would be "This is not the kind of question we can answer. have a look [here] and maybe that can help you get started". Might not be a good idea but I wanted to think of something better than a close reason or a stop sign.
    – Matt
    May 17, 2016 at 18:42
  • I think you're talking about something similar to the close target questions that Cooking.SE has for things like "is this food I left on the counter safe to eat". Every question with that topic gets closed as a dupe of it and the question itself is protected. There's also the possibility of using a historical lock with the explanation that the question is off topic but there is enough interest that a general answer is provided... that being said, whether on main or meta, I think it's something that should wait until we actually see a pressing need for it.
    – Catija
    May 17, 2016 at 18:46
  • @Catija Agreed mostly because we can't come up with all responses like this at the get go. I was trying to suggest that When users do ask the question... but I needed to make that clearer. Would be hard to see where these would go. I should hope a historical lock wont be needed as people would have to answer these (hopefully) off-topic questions.
    – Matt
    May 17, 2016 at 18:51

Why would it be explicitly off topic?

Certainly fishing questions that are looking for general advice on how to grow their business or career should be off topic. There is no one right way and such questions are likely to be contentious about the "Right" way to do something. These questions just do not work well in the SE format.

Also general business questions that apply to pretty much any business and not specific to Arts and Crafts, or at least the problem is not seriously changed with the addition of arts and crafts, should also be off topic.

However focused questions about Arts and crafts business should be on topic. Some business topics I could see as being useful:

  • I am having trouble finding an effective way to display my handmade cards at shows
  • I make delicate crafts that I sell at markets and now I have had several customers that wanted refunds because their small children broke them
  • I create my crafts in Japan and have several potential customers in the US. I use a material that is only indigenous to Japan and the export of the raw materiel is strictly controlled but finished products are allowed. The items have a high enough value that they will need to be declared to customs. What do I need to include in the declaration?

I think in general all of those questions are business centered but should have a place here.

  • 1
    I don't see your first example as a "business" question... Personally, I don't think it'd be a problem... whether you're trying to display your craft at home or at a craft show, it's a question about display, which is fine. Dealing with customers is not specific to crafts and there are too many different ways to address it. Customs stuff - again, this question needs to be asked of a forum that specializes in that topic... possibly one dealing with law. We have no way of knowing all of the customs rules that relate to every country on the planet.
    – Catija
    May 17, 2016 at 15:08
  • @Catija - Just because **You**(the you here being anyone on the site) do not have the knowledge to answer a question does not make the question unanswerable. There are experts who may have knowledge of the topic that could answer it. It is OK to have questions not answered if no one that has read the question has the answer.
    – Chad
    May 17, 2016 at 15:18
  • As for the first question, it is business related and not about creating arts and crafts. For the second question certainly it is common to many parts however many of our users will have expertise in dealing with customers as a vendor at craft shows. It should be allowed, and there is no good reason to disallow it.
    – Chad
    May 17, 2016 at 15:20
  • We (as a site) are not experts in exporting stuff. We are experts in arts and crafts.
    – Catija
    May 17, 2016 at 15:27
  • No but someone may have the knowledge to help someone else out. That is the whole idea behind SE. The point of that one is that exporting the raw material is restricted. I would agree that a general exporting question that does not have a specific arts and crafts angle would be off topic
    – Chad
    May 17, 2016 at 15:38
  • Someone may also have knowledge of photography, law, or making peanut butter... it still does not make it on topic here. The point of SE is to have highly-specialized groups of experts on a topic. "Exporting" is not our topic, regardless of an arts and crafts angle.
    – Catija
    May 17, 2016 at 16:20
  • 3
    The point of individual stacks is not to ask a tangentially-related question and hope experts of that kind may also come to the stack. This stack is about creating and maintaining handmade items, not buying or selling them. The examples you provided are essentially generic small-business questions where you could substitute the crafted item with any other good.
    – user24
    May 17, 2016 at 16:20

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