Copyright Info for Artists

A member of a mailing I read just posted this link to the Journal of Biocommunication special issue about copyright and its protection for artists.   This is a publication that serves the medical illustration community.   But don’t worry.   Copyright issues cross all mediums, including textile, of course.  

From the publisher’s comments: “Our current SPECIAL ISSUE focuses on aspects of artists’ rights, and broadly covers subjects of illustrators’ rights during the late 1800s. We also include articles that discuss more recent issues surrounding existing copyright law, copyright registration, artists’ rights, and the current U.S. Orphan Works legislation.”

Copyright protection no longer consists of mailing a copy of your last work to your home in a sealed envelope.   Make sure to read the article Perfect and Strengthen Your Copyrights  by Cynthia Turner.

“Copyright is the law of authorship and grants a body of exclusive rights to visual authors. This paper presents a survey of the meaning, scope and profound validity of copyright, and notes some of the increasing pressures wrought by the digitization of the world’s creative works and the rise of anti-copyright advocates. Although proposed orphan works legislation would override the protections afforded by registration, it remains a prudent choice for artists under current law. A brief guide to registering and searching the new eCO (electronic Copyright Office) assists visual authors with the online registration process and monitoring of their public records.”

and continues on to explain,

“Copyright is the law of authorship. It is quite simply a visual author’s exclusive right to make copies of his or her work, authorize others to make copies, and stop those who make unauthorized copies. Copyright has also come to mean the body of exclusive rights granted by law to visual authors for protection of their work.

. . .

Copyright automatically protects an original work of authorship the moment you fix an idea in a tangible medium of expression. The ownership of that copyright automatically vests with you: an author’s right is based upon the act of creation itself. The copyright confers a specific set of exclusive rights to you, and to others authorized by you, to 1) reproduce the work, 2) prepare derivatives based on the work, 3) distribute the work under your terms, 4) perform the work, or 5) display the work publicly.

. . .

Artists rely on copyright for creative control over their works. Copyright’s protection of original authorship guarantees an artist’s independent voice, now and for posterity. Copyright preserves the integrity of your work, prevents corrupt editions, and protects the privacy of your unpublished works and early drafts.”

Cynthia includes directions in the Appendix to her article on how to register your work for copyright.   

Now, even though my kids will contest it, I did not need copyright protection in the 1800’s but do need it now.   All artists need to be aware of current copyright issues.   This Special Issue of the Journal of Biocommunication is a good resource for all artists.   

I hope this information is useful to you.

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