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Help: Artwork copyright in USA

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gnu 12 Jun 02 - 05:06 AM
SeanM 12 Jun 02 - 06:13 AM
gnu 12 Jun 02 - 12:06 PM
MMario 12 Jun 02 - 12:14 PM
Nigel Parsons 12 Jun 02 - 05:37 PM
GUEST 12 Jun 02 - 05:40 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 12 Jun 02 - 07:39 PM
Alice 13 Jun 02 - 03:30 PM
Alice 13 Jun 02 - 03:36 PM
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Subject: Artwork copyright in USA
From: gnu
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 05:06 AM

Is it expensive / exhaustive / useful to obtain a copyright on artwork such as illustrations for CD covers in the USA ? If it is inexpensive / easy / useful, what's the turnaround time ?

Thanks in advance.

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Subject: RE: Help: Artwork copyright in USA
From: SeanM
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 06:13 AM

It depends on the source. Some artwork catalogues are available that are VERY easy to work with - they provide you with the art and minimal specs, and you provide them with a licensing fee for whatever level of useage. Some are very reasonable.

Private art will be harder to deal with - it'd be a matter with negotiating with whatever collection owns the piece. The group I'm in just went through this with the Met in NY - a long but overall reasonable process got us the artwork.

Is this what you mean?


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Subject: RE: Help: Artwork copyright in USA
From: gnu
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 12:06 PM

If you painted or sketched or drew a common landscape or animal or whatever and wanted to copyright (copywright) it prior to printing and distribution or prior to sale of advertising rights.....

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Subject: RE: Help: Artwork copyright in USA
From: MMario
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 12:14 PM

under US law it is copyrighted the instant complete. Now to register the copyright ...

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Subject: RE: Help: Artwork copyright in USA
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 05:37 PM

The question is whether the question refers to obtaining copyright (or permission of the copyright holder) to use existing artwork, or to ensuring the retention of the copyright of the questioners own artwork.
So far we've had three answers, which between them show an attempt to answer both questions.
What was the question?

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Subject: RE: Help: Artwork copyright in USA
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 05:40 PM

The question was

"How do I copyright my own artwork"

As Mmario stated, it already is.

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Subject: RE: Help: Artwork copyright in USA
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 07:39 PM

An artist friend always puts a tiny encircled c (©) and his monogram in an inconspicuous place. Sometimes a date.

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Subject: RE: Help: Artwork copyright in USA
From: Alice
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 03:30 PM

In the US, the creator of a work (working as an independent artist, not creating the art as an employee) owns the copyright to the work when it is created. If you are working as an employee in creating the work, the employer owns the copyright. The copyright can only be transferred in writing to someone else. In other words, you would have to sign something that states you are transferring all rights (the copyright) to that person. The ownership of the original work is separate from the copyright. A person buying the original artwork is not buying the copyright to reproduce it, unless those rights are specified in writing and signed by the artist.

You can register a collection of your unpublished work (such as Alice Flynn's collective work of 2001) in one batch for $30. Work registered after it is published is registered for $30 for each published work. It is more affordable to register new work in batches as it is created, like every month or so, before it is published.

You can also simply add the copyright notice to the work © your name, date and not bother to register it. If your work is ever ripped off, though, having it registered makes it much easier to defend the proof of ownership.

You can get the information online here:
Guild copyright info.

You can register your work here as well as read the Library of Congress copyright FAQ:
Library of Congress copyright site.

Realize that when you create a work, you can license usage of the work in different way, like first North American publication rights, for example. Each division of the rights to reproduce the work has a value, and an artist should license only that which the buyer needs and no more.

Alice Flynn

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Subject: RE: Help: Artwork copyright in USA
From: Alice
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 03:36 PM

To answer how long it takes... the September 11 attack and anthrax scare disrputed copyright mail. Here is the notice from the Library of congress:

"Mail Delivery Disruption

U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail delivery to the Copyright Office was suspended between October 17, 2001, and March 4, 2002, due to concerns about anthrax. Only in late April did the Office start receiving, on a daily basis, significant amounts of held mail. This mail is being delivered in no particular order. In other words, the oldest mail is not necessarily arriving any sooner than recent mail.

Copyright Office staff are working to process this recently received mail as quickly as possible, but it could be several months before all of this mail is processed.

Private carrier express shipments generally are arriving without delay. While not endorsing any particular carrier, the Copyright Office is continuing to encourage the use of such private carriers. Examples of carriers include Airborne Express, DHL Worldwide Express, Federal Express, and United Parcel Service, among others. For more information relating to the mail disruption, please read below.

Why is the mail being delayed?

Concerns about anthrax in U.S. Postal Service facilities in the District of Columbia caused severe disruptions of postal service to the Copyright Office, and safety measures are being implemented including the possibility of irradiating incoming letters and packages.
When did mail delivery resume?

On March 4 the Copyright Office received its first delivery of U.S. Postal Service mail since October 17. This mail, much of which was irradiated prior to its delivery to the Office, has a mixture of postmarks dated October 2001 up to the present. Initially, the amounts were small, but now the Office is receiving large amounts of backlogged mail, much more than can be processed on a daily basis.

What effect has the irradiation had on the mail?

Among the mail received so far, some pieces are in good shape, and some have problems. The latter includes brittle, discolored applications, damaged deposits, and materials fused together.

Will the Office contact me if my mail has some of these problem?

Yes, but it may be several months before you hear from the Office. It may be the end of September 2002 before the Office actually processes all the mail that has been posted since mid-October 2001.

What will happen to my effective date of registration?

Normally, the effective date of registration is the day the Copyright Office actually receives all three elements:

a properly completed application form, the appropriate filing fee, and a deposit of the work being registered.

However, due to the lengthy delays in mail delivery, special measures are being taken for this delayed mail only. The Copyright Office will determine the receipt date based on the postmark date of the envelope or packaging, as follows:


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