Questions tagged [copyright]

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 not lawyers.

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15
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1answer
17k views

What should happen if a logo I made is similar to another?

Note: This is a canonical post created so that we can close the many similar questions as duplicates as discussed in this meta post. We have created a logo for a client and they love it. We've ...
75
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8answers
17k 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 ...
15
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8answers
43k 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 ...
22
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5answers
42k 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 ...
15
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3answers
15k 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 ...
11
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5answers
14k views

Is vectorizing an image copyright infringement 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 ...
14
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6answers
4k 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 ...
17
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3answers
705 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 ...
4
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2answers
1k 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 ...
7
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5answers
7k views

Confused By Copyright Rules

I freelance, but I'm still green in some areas and Copyright is one of them. I know about using/purchasing stock and all that, I have accounts on all the stock sites, but I created a design, which ...
24
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6answers
30k 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 use ...
2
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4answers
33k 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?
8
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3answers
3k 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 ...
2
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3answers
8k views

Long term client wants working files

As a independent graphic designer, I've developed and produced a yearly catalog of machine parts for a long term client beginning about 20 years ago! The catalog began at about 100 pages, and now is ...
4
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2answers
427 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
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2answers
1k 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 ...
5
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3answers
4k 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?
3
votes
1answer
6k views

Can I use the Google font 'Lato' for a logo design?

I am creating a logo and would like to use the Google Font 'Lato', can I use this font in my logo design or are there copyright/limitations I need to worry about? I can't find anything online other ...
3
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2answers
503 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
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2answers
5k views

How to manipulate a photograph so that it becomes original artwork?

After finding an image on Google images – I altered and added many different effects to the point where it is not recognizable from the original composition. However, when does the shapes and colors ...
1
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3answers
958 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 ...
7
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3answers
4k 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 ...
4
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5answers
8k 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, ...
10
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5answers
3k 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 ...
7
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3answers
4k views

Can I take images from Google image search as a base for my creations? [duplicate]

This is a legal question and I want to know if I can continue the way I work in a commercial environment. This is not about if I can blatantly take images from the web and use them as they are. What ...
8
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4answers
1k 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 ...
6
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4answers
45k 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 ...
5
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1answer
1k 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 (...
2
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4answers
1k views

Designer right to obtain digital copies of work done as an employee of company

I've just lost my job and I did not manage to copy my design work from the company's computer. I am aware that the employer is the rightful owner of work I have done during my time with the company, ...
23
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7answers
14k 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 ...
16
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2answers
2k 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 ...
21
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4answers
19k 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 ...
30
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4answers
5k views

Safety of using images found through Google image search

I am working on a Facebook education page for my church. I often find Google search images that don't have an obvious copyright symbol at the bottom of the article or blog. How do I know if these ...
14
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9answers
6k 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 ...
11
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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 ...
6
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2answers
596 views

How do web designers and companies copyright their work?

Most of the small companies just create designs and do not apply for a copyright. How does copyright come into play if the designer or the company has not copyrighted their work?
10
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1answer
823 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
261 views

Is it legally ok to show concepts for existing companies?

I sometimes do rebranding exercises for companies that already exist (eg. a new design for their website, a new logo, etc) but they're uncommissioned and done without asking for permission. Is it okay ...
3
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1answer
2k 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 ...
2
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2answers
2k views

Android and iOS logos on my website

Can I insert Android and iOS logos to sponsor an App on my website? Or is it considered copyright infringement?
2
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2answers
497 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 ...
1
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2answers
10k 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 ...
9
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3answers
1k 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 ...
6
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2answers
720 views

Vectorizing a Skyline

I need to create a vectorized version of my local city skyline. If I use multiple artists photos as reference, is there any copyright concerns? I realize just taking one photographers work and ...
6
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2answers
3k views

How exactly should I ask my employer for design use permission on paper?

I'm an employed graphic designer. I did illustrations, branding and prototyping for my employer. I'm aware that without a specific contract, whatever work is done by a salaried designer, is the ...
5
votes
1answer
218 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 ______ ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Showing a competitor's product in ad: legal?

So my client wants to show a photo image of their competitor's product in an ad of theirs. The ad is implying that the competitor's product is bad/obsolete. Is this legal? I know that you can't use a ...
5
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1answer
9k views

At what point can an image be considered "redrawn"?

In most cases in academic publishing a permission is required to reuse (e.g. publish again) previously published graphic content. A problem is that the copyright holder of that content is usually not ...
5
votes
2answers
10k 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
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2answers
2k views

Do I own the rights to show my designs in my portfolio?

I was hired as a freelancer to do some work for a company. I made a design that I love which included some of the company's data within it. I asked to put it on my portfolio and they got very ...