Getting a grip on copyright can be one of the greatest tools in your creative kit. I have met so many creatives who don’t understand copyright law, and this so often puts them at a disadvantage with their clients.
I have studied copyright law, but it does change quite often, so it is important for you to check what the latest laws are in your country. Most countries follow the same copy rights laws, apart from China. In this article I am going to talk about the UK copyright laws.
Copyright law doesn’t have to be scary. I’m going to talk you through a few basics, and explain a few exceptions to the rules. This should be enough to empower you to make the right decisions when selling your work or taking on a commission or employment.
In the podcast below I talk through the basic principles of copyright law, how it can make you money and how to explain to your clients what your rights are.
Here are the basics
- As a creative, when you produce a piece of work, whether it is a painting, photograph or writing, you own the copyright.
- You don’t need to register your work, for you to own the copyright to it. In the states and the UK you can register your work to prove that you own the copyright, but this isn’t a requirement.https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/register/
- You can add the copyright symbol © at the bottom of your website or work, but again it isn’t a requirement. I like to add it to remind people to respect my copyright.
- If you sell your work (like a painting or photograph) you retain the copyright. Even if the work is a portrait of the client, you have the rights to the copyright. They have no right to make copies of the work, whether they sell them or not.You can sell them the copyright- but I’ll cover this later on.
Exceptions to the rules
There will always be some exceptions to the rules, so it is important that you check with your own country’s law as to what the exceptions are. They also change regularly, so it is important to make sure that you are up to date with your knowledge.