Copyright Concerns-Do You Need A Copyright

Copyright Concerns and How They Apply to your Created Works

As a fine artist, the copyright concerns are never ending.

I see copyright concerns throughout the year each year with several artist ceasing promoting their art. For example, just last week a very talented artist I network with had his work sort of stolen. What happened is that someone took his image and did their own rendering of it and started spreading it around social media. It broke my heart when this talented artists stated that he will no longer be sharing his work.

Artists are a unique niche of people, since most of us are not affiliated with big retail chains or brick and mortar stores, we rely heavily on word of mouth and the internet. In my opinion, it’s not worth going into hiding with your work over copyright concerns. If you have strong concerns, you can discourage thieves by putting a copyright symbol or watermarking your art. However, this is unappealing to buyers and the media.

Additionally, registering your work protects you even further. The fee in the USA is nominal. Find more information information on

For your convenience, I’ve included a copyright symbol below for you to download. You must save it as a PNG file for it to be transparent.  


Copyright.png (8 downloads)

While I’m not a lawyer, not even close, I have done my own research. Here is the information I have found. 

What applies to United States Copyright Law?

  1. A work is automatically protected by copyright when it is created.
  2. Anyone wishing to use the work of another must have permission from the owner of the copyright holder
  3. Buying a piece of art or a print doesn’t dismiss copyright.
What About International Copyright?

While according to Copyright.govthere is no such thing as International Copyright, protection against unauthorized use rather protection depends on that country’s laws. Also, most country’s offer protection on foreign works under certain conditions by the  two principal International Copyright Treaties: Berne Convention and Universal Copyright Convention (UCC). Clicking on the link above provides much greater detail.

Copyright Infringement is not excused by

Linking back to the work
Reducing the size
No Profit
Including a Disclaimer
Attributing the Creator

With all due respect, these regulations need to be taken more seriously by society. In fact, just imagine, you are an architecht, inventor, salesperson, or any other business person. How would it feel if someone stole your draft, idea, sales strategy, plans, etc… Even worse is if they took it and took the credit for your idea/work. I’d wager that most would be raging mad. After all, the images and works produced by Artists and photographers are their livelihood and often their sole source of income.  

How do you find out if it’s okay to use a photo?

1. Ask the Photographer
2. Search for Creative Commons Licensed Work
3. Search for Open Source works

On that note, with proper attribution included, anyone is free to share my photos or artwork on social media, but you may not reproduce without permission. As a matter of fact, I encourage the shares. It helps my business. Thank you. 

Even A Seemingly Harmless Share Can Get You Sued Under Copyright Infringement

Social Media is exploding and so is the increasing popularity of sharing gorgeous photos and artwork. Just take a look at Pinterest, Google Plus, Facebook and Instagram (and that’s just naming a few) and you will see virtually a never ending supply of photos and artwork. After all, who doesn’t like to see beautiful photos?

But wait, a seemingly innocent click to share something beautiful may have its repercussions under Copyright Law resulting in a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit. This post relates to United States Copyright Law which seems to be in line with the Copyright Laws in the UK. Most countries, but not all have copyright law, but US copyright law does not apply to other countries.

Below are some useful links.

sources:, Wikipedia, Professional Photographers of America, Clip art provided by Open Clip Art and Creative Commons Open Clip Art
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