©Jaimee Todd 2012
So I know I have talked about copyright several times on this blog in passing but I wanted to go back to some basics that I thought were important for artists, especially in the digital. So let’s get started:
Copyright and What it Covers:
Copyright is a form of intellectual property that protects an artists (or author’s) right in the work that they create. It covers:
Two dimensional and three dimensional works of fine, graphic and applied art
- art reproductions,
- charts, models
- tech drawings
- architectural plans
Of note, copyright protection doesn’t extend to ideas.
To be receive copyright protection, a work has to be original (i.e. you can’t copy off someone else or rip-off their work) and creative (meaning the work should have some aesthetic value). Copyright also protects specific people, which include:
- US citizens and permanent residents
- Stateless people
- Nationals or permanent residents of countries that are members of the Universal Copyright Convention (which is one of the two main international copyright agreements).
So, when does copyright arise?
Technically, an artist automatically gains copyright over their work the minute they create it. According to the U.S. Code, copyright exists when it is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, which means that you have copyright in anything that can be reproduced (like a painting, photograph, writing, a music recording, etc.). In other words, you don’t have to register your work with the U.S. Copyright office to actually receive copyright protection or add a copyright symbol to your work; however, since copy infringement happens frequently, it’s a very good idea to give notice of your copyright in your work and register them with the Copyright artist. Let’s start with proper copyright notice.
To help protect your copyright in yoru images, particularly when you’re posting your images online to either use the word “Copyright” or the © symbol, your name (your initials do suffice) and the year the image was published, i.e. publicly disrubted. So it would end up looking like one of the following:
Copyright JT 2012,
Copyright Jaimee Todd 2012,
©Jaimee Todd 2012.
Please note that you can only omit the year the work was published when the art has been reproduced on greeting cards, postcards, stationary, jewelry or other products. Remember, placement is to give an ordinary person notice of your copyright so it’s best to put it where it is readily visible.
In my next blog post, I’ll talk about how the advantages of copyright registration and how to do it!