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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16
votes
3answers
19k views

Charging an Intellectual Property transfer fee for design work

So, you've finished a design job (eg. a logo design) and the client asks for your IP surrounding the logo, eg copyright, original artwork files, notes, sketches, all of that stuff that went into ...
11
votes
7answers
35k views

Where can I get images for commercial use?

I am running a web site design service for local small business owner. I want avoid legal issues on the images I use. Usually, the images found on Flickr are forbidden for commercial use. Where would ...
52
votes
8answers
7k views

How to handle client requests to violate copyrights?

I know Google image search is not a free-for-all to grab any image needed. However, many, many, many clients don't grasp this concept and often request or send images they'd like to use in a design or ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Is vectorizing an image copyright theft if the image is not CC/Public domain?

Is it okay to vectorize this image to make a poster out of it even though the image is not Creative Commons or anything like that? I'm not using any part of the image directly and only going to use it ...
16
votes
3answers
543 views

Where does inspiration end, where does illegitimate copying start?

I'm creating the UI for a web application which will mainly run on Macs. So my goal is to preserve the look and feel of Mac OS. But since I don't use Apples Frameworks I'm not allowed to use their UI ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I use portions of stock images for derivative works?

I have some stock vector files from istock that I'd like to use as the starting point for a logo. I'd like to stress I wouldn't be using the original image in the logo - but using as a starting point ...
13
votes
2answers
698 views

Establishing the real copyright owner of a font

An increasing collection of fonts are being released for free, but the majority of fonts require a license. For any given font, it's possible to find many versions online, both legal and not. There ...
18
votes
6answers
9k views

How to attribute, give credit to creative commons/copyleft/public domain content for web/print?

Edit: To be extremely succinct: How to credit imagery used on a business card or ballpoint pen? Inspired by this question, I started to think: How do you attribute and give credit, when you ...
8
votes
3answers
808 views

Copyright of a set of colors?

I often see color combinations on webpages, images, posters, products etc. that harmonize really well. Am I allowed to use those colors in my own design? This is solely about the colors. I will not ...
6
votes
3answers
8k views

Is there a way I can find out who owns the rights to an image I want to use on my web app?

Is there a way I can find out who owns the rights to an image I want to use on my web app? Are there any websites that provide that kind of information?
4
votes
2answers
494 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
631 views

How can a designer decide whether a competitors design is similar enough to their own to take further action?

There is a lot of copycatting out in the world, and it's a constant legal battle fought in higher courts. For us ants on the ground, grinding away in smaller capacities with little or no permanent ...
2
votes
2answers
312 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Copyright ownership: paid by hour vs. paid by project

I am a freelance web designer. I am working out a contract with a client to revamp an existing site and freshen the design. In my contract I have some language which I adapted from the AIGA ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it safe to use an image when I'm unable to identify its source?

I found a photo on the internet and want to use it in my free Android app. The problem is that I can't find the source, so I don't know if this photo is legally available for such use or not. What ...
3
votes
2answers
761 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Can I use an icon in the public domain as a company logo?

Client in question found a public domain icon they really want to use as their logo (instead of having one designed, I know, I know). Is this legal?
5
votes
4answers
30k views

How do I know which images are copyrighted and not?

Using google images you can find any image you want these days, even high resolution. The question is how do I know what I can use image wise in the graphic design work assuming that the graphic work ...
2
votes
4answers
10k 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
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?
1
vote
2answers
211 views

Is recreating other artist's assets a copyright infringement?

I have been asked to create some assets for a graphic design app, based on some reference similar assets from the internet. Note that I have been asked to reproduce all graphics in Photoshop and ...
0
votes
2answers
246 views

How does copyright apply to a collage of random images from the Internet?

If I take a bunch of random/misc. images I have gathered from the internet over time (I don't even know their original source) and make a collage and print it, can I use it as marketing material in ...
18
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it necessary to attribute Creative Commons licensed art?

There are tons of sites out there with free graphics. You can find a bunch of these sites through freepik.com. It seems that 99% of these graphics use the CC Attribution 3.0 license. I'm wondering ...
15
votes
7answers
9k views

Repeat client is suddenly demanding intellectual property rights!

A fairly sizable client whom I've done a few jobs for over the past several years has recently contacted me for a new job. We have never had a contract for any of the work I've done for them (I'm a ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

Should graphic artists be scared at all about anyone stealing their artworks?

Are you guys scared at all about anyone stealing your art? What should designers do about it if it happens? I want to post my own art at Instagram or Deviant, now that I'm improving but all the time ...
10
votes
9answers
2k views

Is it ethical to copy the work of other designers?

I am neither a graphic designer nor do I consider myself one. I have little grasp of colour theory, and basic knowledge of design principles. I do possess a sense of what looks good, though, and I am ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Who owns the design?

Recently, I hired a graphic designer to design a brand, a web site, business cards and several other things. After the initial design was complete and we launched, we have continued to make changes ...
9
votes
1answer
166 views

Is it OK to copy a person's likeness in a realistic portrait without their permission?

Suppose I am designing a set of plates for the next D&D books (which I am not, unfortunately) and suppose I need to draw a monk with a slightly sneaky face. I have tried several concepts out of my ...
2
votes
2answers
408 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
656 views

Can I revise a poor logo without infringing on copyright? (Canada)

I've been approached by a new client because they are unsatisfied with the logo that was done for them. However, they want to keep the colors and the design... My guess is the problem is in the ...
5
votes
1answer
193 views

Is it legal to display third-party logos as part of “As featured in” on sites/printed ads without their consent?

Have seen more companies include logos of media outlets on their site/printed marketing material as part of the "As featured in" section. Is it legal to do this without the companies' consent ...
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
170 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
409 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
1answer
406 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
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. ...
2
votes
0answers
67 views

How dissimilar to an existing logo should mine be to avoid copyright issues? [duplicate]

Thinking about starting up a small clothing company with the symbol below: But after surfing the web I discovered Nike's undefeated symbol. Will my design cause copyright issues? How dissimilar ...
1
vote
2answers
95 views

Copyright on derivative work of the symbol of access

I made some icons for the german definitions of access derived from the well known symbol of access for a website. Now I have multiple requests, if the symbols are free to use. I like to host them on ...
1
vote
3answers
683 views

Is it copyright infringement by US copyright law if someone else modifies and uses my design?

My company is in a small town and there are not any graphic designers but we have enough business in the town and the surrounding area to support us. But because of the small town nature some ...
1
vote
1answer
443 views

Can I use a derivative work of an editorial image for commercial purpose? [duplicate]

I want to use an editorial (image which cannot be used for commercial purpose) image which contains a celebrity and crest of the sports team. I've use Photoshop filters to create a water-paint effect ...