Copyright and Graphic Design

Something that they don’t seem to teach at my school seem to be the legal things in relation to art and graphic design.  I have taken beginning business law, and other business classes, but they do not have the practical/ legal side of the art world. It seems that I have to do the research and learning on my own.

This week, because I wanted to post my thesis work from the Polygons, I wanted to know if I had any copyright issues since they have the right to their image, music, etc. Did I have the right to post the work I have done for them? As long as I cite them with their copyright and information, I seem to be all right. Here are something’s I learned…

First lets define a copyright:

Copyright is the exclusive right to control reproduction and commercial exploitation of your creative work. Copyright protects any kind of artwork, including illustrations, photographs and graphic design. Except under certain circumstances (see “work made for hire” below), you own the copyright in your work at the moment you create it in a “fixed” form of “expression.” A fixed form of expression is any tangible medium that can be perceived by humans, including traditional forms—such as paintings, sculptures, writings—and new forms that require a machine to perceive (e.g., GIF files, CDs, websites).

 

Here are the highlights from what I have learned. Everything something is created the creator owns the right to the product, to a certain extent. Things that are designed, as long as it’s original, are owned by the designer. Unless they work under someone else, have a contract in which it says that the client owns all the rights, etc., the designer has the rights.  Other major thing is that unless you file for copyright you can only really stop them with a “Cease and desist” letter, to sue you must file first. (BTW don’t take what I say to be pure fact, these are things I have learned, and hopefully they are correct, but I don’t have a degree in this nor have I taken classes on it. So do your research or get a lawyer.)

Check out the sites I have found about copyright and graphic design.

http://myows.com/blog/copyright-basics-for-graphic-designers-part-1/

http://www.creativepublic.com/copyright.php

http://cpm.aiga.org/legal_issues/copyright-basics-for-graphic-designers

http://justcreativedesign.com/2009/01/14/logo-design-copyright-laws/

http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html

http://graphicdesign.about.com/od/copyright/f/own_rights.htm