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Graphic Designers – Are You Aware of the Copyright Law & Its Generalities? -


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The growth of three Ws, i.e. the internet, has adversely led to an increase in plagiarism. In other words, it has become quite easy to copy (steal) another person’s work and forward it as your own. And this situation has made the knowledge and application of copyright laws all the more necessary.
Imagine, you put your heart and soul into creating a unique design and after some time you see exactly the same design on some else’s website, that too with a different designer’s name. Then how would you react? What would you do to tackle this situation? How would you defend yourself against such a fraud? Well the answer is simple, through copyright laws!


Meaning Of Copyright

Copyright, as the name implies, is a law that protects the work of the original author (in our case, the designer) from being copied by unauthorized people. That being said, there are many people who often misinterpret the term copyright, by saying it’s the same as trademark.
Trademarks are generally used by organizations/companies for recognition purposes. They are basically a phrase, word, emblem etc through which the audience can identify the company. While, copyrights as mentioned above, are intended to protect the designer’s work from plagiarism.

Fair Use In Copyright

“Fair use” allows you to use someone’s work, without his consent, but fairly and legitimately such as for transformative and educational purposes. Moreover, copyright laws are subjected to fair use in the US.

Exclusive Rights

These rights are kept by the copyright owner, i.e. the original designer for a particular period of time, hence, exclusive rights. Through this, the designer is given authority to alter or remove any part of the design. In addition, he can grant a license-to-use (the design) to another person for specific time duration.

Copyright Ownership

Being a professional graphic designer, you must have adequate knowledge on when your work should be under copyright protection, and whether you reserve the rights to your work or not.
Generally, it is the maker who possesses the copyright to the original work. But, if the designer is hired by a company, and creates a design for them, then the copyright ownership goes to the company.
The same goes for self-employed designers. They have to assign the copyrights to their clients through a legal process, so that the clients may have complete control over the copyrighted material. And in return, they get the decided remuneration.

Related: Who Actually Owns the Logo Design – The Client or Designer?

Benefits Of Copyright Registration

In the US, it’s not a necessity to register your original work in order to get copyright protection. However, if you do decide to get it registered with the US copy right office, then you’re in for some great benefits.
Firstly, by being registered, it becomes a hell lot easier to prove a copyright infringement case. Secondly, the registered creator is also exempted from paying the fee involved in pressing a copyright infringement suit. This fee will be covered by the US government. And in the end, the creator will receive compensation for statutory damages.
An unregistered creator won’t be eligible for any of these benefits. He will not only have to pay for a copyright infringement suit, but won’t even receive any financial compensation in return. Therefore, is seems sagacious to get one’s work registered.
I hope all you designers out there found this post enlightening, and by now have comprehended copyright and its generalities. In today’s era, it’s extremely important for graphic designers to be aware of how to tackle it copyright infringement. Because who knows, you may be next!

Author Bio:    

Evan is an Expert in Digital Marketing. He has been working in the social media space since 2008, with a focus on design services, user interface planning, branding and more. Currently, he is leading content marketing efforts at DesignMantic and has played an integral part in the success story of DesignMantic through strategic marketing campaigns. Evan is also a design pro, who has shown a predilection towards DIY design projects.

3 thoughts on “Graphic Designers – Are You Aware of the Copyright Law & Its Generalities?

  1. This is very helpful website which i use and its designs are very cute, aggressive smart and very beautiful so i want to tell thanks to the publisher of this website and who give us opportunity to use this website as a free user .

    Thanks to all

  2. I believe I caught a typo. The second to last paragraph should read “an UNregistered creator…,” because otherwise the article becomes contradictory. Very good stuff though.

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