Questions about copyright law from a designers point of view. Answers should not be treated as bona fide legal advice, but instead as advice from designers who've experienced copyright issues in their career. Ask anything about how copyright relates to graphic design, though bear in mind that we are ...

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1answer
1k views

How can I use Creative Commons-licensed media in print?

I want to use a CC-BY-SA image in a printed newsletter. What is the most succinct and unobtrusive way I can comply with the license? It would really clutter up my design to slap the creator's name, ...
4
votes
2answers
744 views

What's the worst that can happen with CC0?

I'd like to release some artwork under the CC0 license, but I'm a bit worried about the implications of that... What is someone allowed to do with a CC0 work? What's the worst that can happen? Or ...
4
votes
3answers
289 views

1 letter used - do I need to buy the entire font?

I am about to finish designing logo. I use two fonts. One I already bought, but the other... I need just one letter from this font but it is not free. Do I need to buy the entire font?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Can a logo using a generic typeface be copyrighted?

I've run into an issue with my printer denying printing, one of my designs is a parody of Hotline Bling and contains the familiar text in Helvetica Neue in the background. The reasoning is because ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Differences between “Royalty-Free”, “Public Domain”, “Creative Commons” etc

Is there a simple summary somewhere (or can someone provide one) of all the different kinds of legal terms for how and where we can re-use someone else's images? For example these terms are bandied ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Using Copyrighted Characters in Portfolio?

I've seen numerous design portfolios online that involve characters from movies, TV, games, you name it. I'm building a portfolio and for one project I was thinking of creating a few mobile UI ...
4
votes
3answers
248 views

Making changes to a page that I own, but was made by someone else

When a web designer makes a website, they usually put a small writing at the bottom. It usually says something like "Made by Joe Whatever". Let's say I paid Joe for the website design he made. Now, ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I use images / poster from a movie in a flyer to promote a Movie Night?

A client has permission to show movies in a big screen for the public (nonprofit). I was asked to design a flyer to promote the showing. They want me to show the movie poster and make flyers with the ...
4
votes
1answer
177 views

Does building a site from a design concept violate creative commons no derivatives clause?

Let's say I'm building a personal blog / portfolio site and I'm looking for design inspiration. So here is an example of a website design concept that is protected by creative-commons-no-derivatives. ...
4
votes
2answers
497 views

If I reference a medical textbook or website for hand drawing bones is that considered copyright infringement?

I can't quite figure this one out. I am not copying a custom piece of work, I am copying something that is available in nature, bones. I am also not tracing it, I am drawing by hand using them as a ...
4
votes
1answer
57 views

Reuse previous design for new projects

I have a client that I did branding and design for a particular program within a non-profit organization. The program is now cancelled by the organization the client was working for. Now my ...
4
votes
3answers
237 views

Protecting against copyright?

I hired someone to help me do some photoshop work. I told them to make screenshots for my game. I also gave them a picture where they have to change the items in it to look like the same object as it ...
4
votes
1answer
154 views

Can you protect social media iconography?

I frequently create mock-ups with free-use icon sets. I've begun to see many designers offer "Premium" commercial licenced sets of Social Media icons. I'm wondering: Is it even possible to make an ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Am I breaking any Copyright/IP law by designing and selling posters based on an existing design and concept?

I have found a website that sells posters that includes graphic design, and am now thinking of creating from scratch my own posters to sell on my website, using the same idea/concept (please note that ...
3
votes
9answers
2k views

Would this use of initials in a logo be considered plagiarism..?

Would this be considered plagiarism? I have made the LiveBulb logo 3 days ago, I made it all from scratch. Starting at sketches and completely refined it using grids in Illustrator. Luka Balic ...
3
votes
3answers
407 views

Using fan art for book cover

Let's think about the Harry Potter franchise for a moment. Suppose that I wrote a great book about wizards, and I found an awesome water color of Daniel Radcliffe (the guy who played Harry in the ...
3
votes
2answers
119 views

Should stock photos be showcased on photographers website?

I have this client who is a photographer and he wants a website designed for him. The idea that hit me is he wants to show case some of the photos from stock photo sites to his website. As a moral ...
3
votes
2answers
172 views

Copyright on free work

About a year ago when starting out on graphic design in school I started doing a bit of free work (something I'm not doing any longer) for a 'client' here and there. For this one client I provided a ...
3
votes
2answers
416 views

What should I do if I find a logo very similar to my design?

I designed this "LUCENTICITY" logo 2 days ago. I swear it was my idea. I chose the design after many sketches. Today I was browsing the old featured logos on LogoPond and was shocked to come across ...
3
votes
2answers
776 views

Can a co-founder/client claim ownership of designs if IP wasn't specifically signed over?

I have never done this before so bear with me. I am a Graphic Designer who started a business 3 years ago with a woman. We created and designed the whole 'program' together. Since the inception of ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

Where do I stand from a legal perspective using Helvetica Neue in my logo?

What is the legal perspective of using specific fonts for your company logo? Which fonts CAN you use in your logo?
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it okay to use depictions of cartoon characters in an iPhone app?

I have an app idea which is based on the use of cartoon characters; I would like to include a single image of cartoon characters with their names, the app will be purely for reference and free. ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

Can you help me with a font licensing question (AKA what is the licensing for my font)?

I'm asking this question on behalf of the occasional new members who ask questions in the following categories (fill in the blanks as appropriate): Does anyone know the licensing terms for ______ ...
3
votes
1answer
420 views

Who owns copyright to photos of public places? (Editorial Use Only license)

I am baffled by "Editorial Use Only" licenses offered by stock photo sites. It seems that even if photographer wants to sell his photo under "Standard" license, stock photo company can force it into ...
3
votes
1answer
149 views

Can my cousin copyright his world population cartogram? [closed]

My cousin made a cartogram depicting world population in microsoft paint. It became quite popular and he was contacted by the author of an earlier world population cartogram. The author of the ...
3
votes
2answers
112 views

What should I do to resell a branded design to national partners of an organisation, that I created for a single local partner?

I tried searching for some answers before posting this but since my situation is so unique my questions were never completely cleared up. So about a year ago I was approached by a member of a ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you avoid license problems when using fonts in published works? (US Law)

As I understand it, if I create a font and give you a copy, that doesn't give you the right to publish a billboard/flyer/book/etc using my font. There is an additional license required. Many fonts ...
3
votes
1answer
38 views

Copyrights regarding world maps

I am doing some freelance work for a client and she has asked me to illustrate a map visualising Africa and Europe. She is including the illustration into a book she is writing in the hopes of ...
3
votes
1answer
175 views

Is this design considered public domain?

Recently I was contacted by a local church who needs a logo, what they want is simple enough, I'm just not well-versed in the copyrights of DC comics/marvel, etc. He basically said he wants his logo ...
3
votes
1answer
766 views

Using Apache 2 Licensed fonts in a Logo

This matter seems to be quite unclear since Apache License v2 is normally used for software. There are actually quite a few fonts that I find interesting and, I would like to use them in some company ...
3
votes
2answers
306 views

Are street sign designs open source for public use / sale?

For example if I were to photoshop a deer crossing sign and make a few alterations then sell stickers / prints of the sign, can I be prosecute with copyright violation for using the likeness of the ...
3
votes
1answer
783 views

Can I print an online image to frame it for personal use?

I found some beautiful hi-res images online and want to print them just to frame and hang in my home. The images came from personal websites of photographers or news sites like AP. Is this legal?
3
votes
1answer
416 views

Can I use an “editorial-only” 3D model for demonstrative purposes in a commercial?

I'm creating CG for a video commercial that will likely be used mostly in tradeshows or online. I'm looking to purchase two models from Turbosquid, one a Boeing 787 and one a Volvo semi truck and ...
3
votes
0answers
26 views

How to price for global packaging rights [duplicate]

I've searched all over Google and couldn't find a suitable answer so I thought I'd go to the source. How would you go about pricing for global packaging rights on illustrations you create? Pricing for ...
3
votes
0answers
126 views

Can anyone copyright or trademark a punctuation or alphabetical symbol (grapheme) or only a font, typography or typeface which contains it?

I have this doubt after read about the registered (trademarked or copyrighted, I don't know exactly) SarcMark infamous symbol for mark sarcasm in texts. Anyone can register a symbol or the idea of ...
2
votes
4answers
11k views

Copyright issues if using vector art from Shutterstock?

My company bought a vector from Shutterstock and wants to trademark it by adding some words with different colors. Do you know anything about if this is legal since we purchase the vector art?
2
votes
2answers
664 views

Creating a logo for a PDF application, which symbol should I use?

I'm developing a Mac PDF application and I'm at the tedious step to study a proper fancy logo. Is it ok to use the well known Adobe symbol of PDF inside my logo? Do you know another symbol that is ...
2
votes
3answers
355 views

Client is selling her business - can she on sell the design work I've done for her over the years?

I've had an amazing client for the past three years who I've done regular graphic design work for - mostly product promotions (print & web), product brochures, posters and point of sale. She is ...
2
votes
2answers
316 views

Is it OK to include a stylized reproduction of a copyrighted painting in a design?

I'm working on an icon of a framed painting. I would like the painting to be immediately recognizable to the intended audience, and so am considering doing a stylized reproduction of a particular ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Using a picture which had been modified beyond recognition. Is that copyright infringement? [duplicate]

Say I take this pic: and turn it into this (plus adding title and name of author): And then use it as a cover for a book at Amazon. Is that copyright infringement?
2
votes
2answers
212 views

Can I recreate a model and post it?

Can I create a 3d model from pictures that are available on the internet and put it into a small animation and post it on YouTube? For example I want to create a 3d model of a car from images found on ...
2
votes
2answers
548 views

Is Frutiger font family in the public domain?

Frutiger was released in 1976, this means that more than 30 years have passed, which usually means that copyright should have expired by now on the font. I'm not sure what the law is concerning this ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Design Portfolio Copyright

when I was at design college 2013 we were told (for educational purposes) that we could use images from the net (only photographs) to incorporate into designs for posters, collages, magazine covers, ...
2
votes
2answers
409 views

Inspiration from existing works - where is the limit?

I am trying to create icons for the UI of my website to represent key concepts of my trade such as "translation services", "languages", "translation tools"... and I am having a hard time to come up ...
2
votes
2answers
301 views

Who own the rights to images that are generated by math formulas?

How is the copyright determined for images that are derived from math formulas? Examples: Equal-step gradient graph: color wheel graph of sin(1/z): Who own the rights to images like these?
2
votes
2answers
282 views

Is there a reverse Font lookup for copyrighted fonts?

I often get font files from other designers. Is there a way for me to check if those fonts are copyrighted and require me to have a license to use them.
2
votes
1answer
99 views

Copyright over logo if client was present and contributing verbal ideas when I was designing

If a client is present in the room when you are 'creating/designing' something for them and they contribute ideas verbally which may or may not form part of the final design who owns the copyright? ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Scrapbook Graphics

I have been using Photoshop/Illustrator to design my own graphic scrapbook logos and designs. I create my own styles from tutorials, but I do use the tools & fonts that come with the program. My ...
2
votes
3answers
222 views

How can two versions of the same product be sold under different licenses? (standard royalty-free and “editorial use only”)

I've run into a conundrum where I want to purchase two 3-D models (one of a Boeing 787 and one of a Volvo semi truck with trailer) from Turbosquid for use in a commercial, but both models are listed ...
2
votes
1answer
44 views

Can I use a famous or “patented” color on my projects? [duplicate]

Can I use on my layouts a color that is patented by a company? Let's say that a company logo uses the CMYK value 45 10 26 5 and they've patented that color to be used only and exclusively by them. ...