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Friday, January 15, 2010

Finding Inspiration in the House & Copyrights

I look around the house for things to scan to use in my candy wrapper designs.

I've scanned things like western place mats, old family pictures, bits of lace from my grandmother's handkerchiefs and even part of a sand painting. Of course, with things like the place mat and the sand painting I have to alter them as to not infringe on the copyrights of the piece.

This has been done in advertising through the ages. But it doesn't stop with advertising. Songs writers get inspiration from other songs, alter and change one up. Writers get inspired by other writings; use ideas and change them up. It's against the law to use another's work in verbatim and with its (basic) inception, the copyright begins. That's not technically true but it's something I try and live by.

Were I to come up with an idea and voice it someone before I even have it on paper I would be pretty upset if they used my idea. If they had asked if they could use my idea I might say yes. This would give them permission. I might put restrictions on their use of my idea.

However, the moment my idea is on paper it is copyrighted. Usage of other people's work without their permission is a no-no. That is to say unless they have given specific permission and have given specific instructions on how the piece can be used.

There are many clipart artists out there who do just that. Yet there are many artists who merely ask that you provide a link on your website to their website. Others will ask you to simply give them credit.

It's touchy and it's tricky. But if you understand their rights as well as your own, you should be okay. It's just a matter of a little research and reading.

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