Intellectual Property FAQ

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  • #17093
    Admin
    Keymaster

    Don’t be fooled by any complicated jargon (and how snazzy we look in pinstripe). We are not your lawyer and this is not legal advice. We recommend contacting an attorney if you need an actual­ legal consultation.

    Rather, this is general information aimed at giving you the legal lay of the land. While we can’t defend you in court, we know that art and IP ownership can be murky territory; the least we can do is arm you with the right kind of knowledge to get you started.

    #17094
    Admin
    Keymaster

    Copyright

    What’s a copyright and what does it protect?

    A copyright is a legal right that protects original works of authorship.

    Examples of things that can be protected by copyright are:

    Visual art (like photographs and illustrations)
    Written material (like text from a book or a web page)
    Recorded material (like dialogue from a movie and song lyrics)

    So how can copyright help you as an artist? Lots of ways. If you own a copyright, it generally means that only you can use your creation unless you give someone else permission. For example, no one else can:

    Copy your artwork
    Modify it
    Sell it
    Perform it

    Remember: a copyright only protects the actual things you make, not the ideas you have. If you dreamt of a wombat riding a motorcycle, it’s not copyrighted ‘till it’s on a tangible medium (on paper, on your computer, or on film). Make it happen!


    Too late, I already did.

    How can I copyright my artwork?

    In some parts of the world, you just make your original artwork and presto chango! You’ve automatically got a copyright. In others, you might need to apply for copyright registration to obtain copyright protection (or registration might give your copyright greater protection).

    For example, in the USA and many European countries, you can register your copyright to create a public record and to potentially improve your ability to enforce your copyright in a court of law. For more information, check out http://www.copyright.gov and http://www.eucopyright.com.

    In contrast, under Australian law, copyright cannot be registered.

    What can I do to ensure that the products I sell on Bohemee don’t infringe someone else’s copyright?

    As long as you’re creating your own original art, and you’re not using any elements of others’ creations, you’re probably not infringing on someone else’s copyright.

    If your work includes something that you didn’t come up with yourself (for example a character from a video game, text from a book, or lyrics from a song, etc.), you might be infringing someone’s copyright. If that’s the case, you’ll need to make sure that:

    you’ve received a license from the owner, or
    you can rely on a defense or exception to copyright infringement, such as “fair use” (see “What’s fair use?” for more info).

    Keep in mind that not all countries recognize fair use. For example, there is no general fair use defense in Australia, although there are some limited “fair dealing” exceptions if certain conditions are met. Even in those countries that do have a fair use defense, like the United States, it’s notoriously hard to figure out if something qualifies as fair use. And the owner of the original content may disagree with your interpretation of whether your artwork is fair use. Even if you change someone else’s copyrighted material in a substantial way, you may still infringe on their rights.

    There can also be more than one type of right that protects a particular work, each of which can be owned by a different person or company.

    Say the aforementioned motorcycle-riding wombat is wearing a kickass bandana with a company logo. Although you may own the copyright to your drawing, that company might own the trademark rights to its logo (or even copyright in the logo). This could limit you from using your work in the way you want. Take a look at What’s a trademark? and What are publicity rights? below for more information.

    Still feeling like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯? Unfortunately, no one-size-fits-all answer is going to tell you whether your particular artwork is infringing. If you have a specific question or concern about your artwork, it’s always best to speak to an attorney before you upload it to the Redbubble marketplace.

    Obligatory Yet Very Important Legal Disclaimer:

    Don’t be fooled by any complicated jargon (and how snazzy we look in pinstripe). We are not your lawyer and this is not legal advice. We recommend contacting an attorney if you need an actual legal consultation.

    Rather, this is general information aimed at giving you the legal lay of the land. While we can’t defend you in court, we know that art and IP ownership can be murky territory; the least we can do is arm you with the right kind of knowledge to get you started.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Admin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Admin.
    #17096
    Admin
    Keymaster

    Trademark

    What’s a trademark?

    Can I use someone else’s trademark in my own artwork? What’s a trademark? A trademark is a word, phrase, design or combination of those things that identifies and distinguishes the source of a product from others. People often think of trademarks as representing brands.


    Here’s an imaginary example of a trademarked company logo

    Can I use someone else’s trademark in my own artwork?

    A trademark is meant to represent a brand and protect against consumer confusion. If you were to use the title of a video game or a company’s logo in your artwork, depending on how it’s used, it could amount to trademark infringement or lead a consumer to believe that the t-shirt you’re selling is official merchandise being sold by the brand you’ve referenced. Unless you’ve worked out a deal with the owner of the specific trademark you used, or you’re using the trademark in a legally acceptable way, your actions may infringe.

    It can even be trademark infringement if you modify a company’s logo before using it in your art. Changing the color, shape, or font of Watchimadoodad’s logo may still be similar enough to the original and amount to trademark infringement or a similar violation of someone’s rights, like unfair competition or passing off.

    But what about fair use, you might ask? In some countries, there is something called “trademark fair use,” but again, unfortunately it can be really hard to figure out if using a company’s name or logo in your artwork is fair use. There may also be other defenses or exceptions to trademark infringement in other countries. As always, if you’re not sure whether your work would infringe someone’s trademark rights, it’s best to seek advice from an attorney before you upload it to the Boheee marketplace.

    Obligatory Yet Very Important Legal Disclaimer:

    Don’t be fooled by any complicated jargon (and how snazzy we look in pinstripe). We are not your lawyer and this is not legal advice. We recommend contacting an attorney if you need an actual legal consultation.

    Rather, this is general information aimed at giving you the legal lay of the land. While we can’t defend you in court, we know that art and IP ownership can be murky territory; the least we can do is arm you with the right kind of knowledge to get you started.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Admin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Admin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Admin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Admin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Admin.
    #17098
    Admin
    Keymaster

    Publicity Rights

    What are publicity rights?

    Can I use someone else’s name, image or likeness in my own artwork? What are publicity rights? Imagine you’re perusing the website and you stumble on merchandise with a familiar face—yours. First, relish and/or cringe at your newfound internet fame. Second, cue your publicity rights. In the USA, no matter your status or celebrity, publicity rights can protect the commercial use of a person’s identity (including yours!).

    On the flip side, that means that publicity laws may also prevent you from using someone else’s name, image or likeness to sell your products. If your artwork uses someone else’s name or the image is recognizable enough, it may violate his or her publicity rights, even if it’s your own drawing or other artistic interpretation of the person’s likeness.

    Other countries might have similar laws that protect publicity rights.

    Can I use someone else’s name, image or likeness in my own artwork?

    Long story short, it’s never a good idea without express permission from the person. Publicity rights apply to photographs, illustrations, and every media in between.


    Macaroni Art 101

    Even if your masterpiece is a tasteful macaroni homage to your favorite actor—that actor (or company that has licensed that person’s publicity rights) may not approve. This could result in your artwork being named in a takedown notice and its removal from Bohemee.

    But remember: you own your own likeness. In most cases, that means somebody can’t just sell a picture of you! That also means you can use your name and likeness in whatever way you wish and realize all the possible profit.


    Look at you, you macaroni stud.

    If you’re unsure whether your work would infringe someone’s publicity rights, it’s best to seek advice from an attorney before you upload it to the Bohemee marketplace.

    Obligatory Yet Very Important Legal Disclaimer:

    Don’t be fooled by any complicated jargon (and how snazzy we look in pinstripe). We are not your lawyer and this is not legal advice. We recommend contacting an attorney if you need an actual legal consultation.

    Rather, this is general information aimed at giving you the legal lay of the land. While we can’t defend you in court, we know that art and IP ownership can be murky territory; the least we can do is arm you with the right kind of knowledge to get you started

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Admin.
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