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Copyright & Wrong - Intellectual Property Rights for Designers


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Slideshow for a presentation I gave to UMBC students that goes over the basics of Intellectual Property laws in the U.S.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or legal expert and information contained in this presentation should not be taken as explicit advice or in lieu of counsel from a *real* intellectual property lawyer.

Published in: Design
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Copyright & Wrong - Intellectual Property Rights for Designers

  1. 1. Copyright & Wrong Intellectual Property Rights for Designers Presentation by Sean Heavey
  2. 2. • Who here is from UMBC? • Who is going to graduate this or next year? • Full Disclosure: I am NOT a real lawyer. • You should not use any advice or information you receive in this workshop in substitution of that from a real lawyer. Opening Remarks: Polls & Full Disclosure
  3. 3. Who remembers these controversial posters?
  4. 4. “Fine Art” versions not part of A.P. copyright suit.
  5. 5. Don’t worry, he’s still getting plenty of work.
  6. 6. Intellectual Property Basics
  7. 7. • Specific creations “of the mind” that can be protected under law. • This includes, but is not limited to: visual artwork, graphic communications, logo designs, website designs, written documents, poetry, architectural plans, catchphrases , choreographed dance routines, mechanical schematics, musical compositions, lyrical compositions, speeches, and (for the time being) your genetic material. What is “intellectual property?”
  8. 8. • Copyrights - right to copy, distribute and adapt an original work: art, writing, designs, music. Rights can be sold, licensed etc. • Trademarks - exclusive right to use and display: names, words, phrases, logos, symbols - anything used to identify a company, product, service or brand. • Patents - right to make, use and sell an invention What kinds of intellectual propertycanbeprotected?
  9. 9. Copyright: Ideas vs. Expression
  10. 10. • NOT general ideas. • Ex: revolutionary army of pandas • Only specific, original expressions. • Ex: See right. • Short phrases, titles, font designs not copyrightable. What kind of works can be protected by copyright?
  11. 11. • If designer is employee,, work is considered “work- for-hire” and employer has automatic ownership and copyrights. • If designer is freelance, non-employee, contractor: designer has automatic ownership of work, IP and copyrights; client has ownership of actual produced material - prints, websites, videos • In-house contracts will likely include “work-for- hire” provisions. Who owns copyrights on a body of work?
  12. 12. • Automatic copyright • Copyright good for your lifespan + 70 years. • If work-for-hire owner has 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever comes first. • After copyright expires work is “public domain” and free to use. • Copyright Notice - © - not necessary. • Work must be registered to sue for damages. How do you copyright your work?
  13. 13. Working with Copyrights
  14. 14. • Consider this: will you benefit by keeping the rights to the work? Can you repurpose the designs later? • If the client wishes to own copyrights and/ or IP of your work, they should pay extra for the ownership. • Clients may demand the contract state that the relationship is “work-for- hire.” • Rights can also license for a limited period of time. Should you keep your copyrights, IP ownership?
  15. 15. • Limited exception to the exclusive power of the creator. • Permission not needed if use of the work is not to compete within the work’s market. -ie. bio article. • Factors for consideration: purpose of work - profit, nature of the original work, amount of work used, effect the use of the work will have on the market for the copyrighted work. What is “Fair Use?”
  16. 16. • Non-profit licensing system created to expand the amount of free work available for use and distribution by the general public. • Includes “baseline rights” as well as modular licensing agreements based on: attribution, non-commercial, non- derivative and “share alike” principles. Creative Commons Licensing
  17. 17. • Use your own work. • Smart use of sources: public domain - NASA, National Archives, Library of Congress, creative commons (under some licenses) - flickr, behance, Corroflot • When in doubt, ask for permission. • Carefully read everything before you sign. How to avoid being sued.
  18. 18. • “If there is no copyright notice, it is not copyrighted.” • “If I’m not making money, it’s not a violation.” • “If it’s on the internet, it’s safe to use.” • “If I make changes to the original work, it’s OK.” • “If I attribute the work, I can copy, alter, use and profit from it.” • “My Star Trek/Desperate Housewives crossover fan fiction erotica art is an original work and does not violate copyright laws.” Common Copyright Myths
  19. 19. The End