Crafts and Copyrights: Copyright Information
All arts and craft industries are being affected by copyright infringements on and off the Internet. Here, everyone can learn about copyright laws in easy-to-understand language and find links to other copyright sites.
What are copyrights?
"Copyright" is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. At its most general, it is literally "the right to copy" an original creation. In most cases, these rights are of limited duration.
Copyright may subsist in a wide range of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms or "works". These include poems, theses, plays, and other literary works, movies, choreographic works (dances, ballets, etc.), musical compositions, audio recordings, paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, software, radio and television broadcasts of live and other performances, and, in some jurisdictions, industrial designs. Copyright is a type of intellectual property; designs or industrial designs may be a separate or overlapping form of intellectual property in some jurisdictions.
These "exclusive" rights include:
- To produce copies or reproductions of the work and to sell those copies (including, typically, electronic copies)
- To import or export the work
- To create derivative works (works that adapt the original work)
- To perform or display the work publicly
- To sell or assign these rights to others
This means that designers, artists, photographers and other creators have legal rights which give them control over how their work is reproduced, distributed, published or adapted into other types of work (derivative works).
"Copyright infringement" is the unauthorized use of copyrighted material in a manner that violates one of the original copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works that build upon it. In many jurisdictions, such as the United States, copyright infringement is a strict liability tort or crime. This means that the plaintiff or prosecutor must only prove that the act of copying or actus reus was committed by the defendant, and need not prove guilty intent or mens rea.
Copyrights in the arts and crafts world
The FAQ's and Links pages provide information about the current international copyright laws. Whether you agree with them or not, this is how they are now. If you disagree with the laws, then I urge you to research the issue and to lobby your government to make changes.
Copyright FAQ's: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions and misinformation about copyrights.
Copyright Links: Links to government and craft/art industry sites for more information on copyrights.
The Big Questions: How do we keep the arts and crafts industries alive?
Copyrights seem to go from one extreme to the other. Protect everything, or protect nothing. Right now, copyright protects intellectual property for the longest they have in history, while at the same time, the Internet is a vehicle to allow more copyright infringements than ever before! Is there a better balance in all of this? Do copyrights protect big business more than the designers and artists? What is a fair system? How do designers and artists make a living in this environment? How do they educate their fans about these issues and get their support? How do we keep these industries alive?
To discuss all of these issues with your fans and other designers and artists, join the forums and start typing!