copyright for artist | Sarah Yakawonis | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      intro to copyright for artist


    • 2.

      legal Disclaimer


    • 3.

      Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines


    • 4.

      What is copyright?


    • 5.

      How long does copyright last?


    • 6.

      How do I get my work copywritten?


    • 7.

      why should you get it registered?


    • 8.

      What you can't copyright


    • 9.

      opportunities to avoid


    • 10.

      grouping is a sweet money-saving trick


    • 11.

      selling the original


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About This Class

In this class, we will learn about American copyright! You'll learn how to copyright your work and some pitfalls to avoid when you start to work with your copyright! And as the project for the class, you will practice writing a cease and desist letter.

In this class you'll learn. . .

What is copyright?

  • Copyright is a series of laws meant to allow artists to make an income from the licensing of there creative work. 

How long does copyright last?

  • For your whole life plus 70 years so your family and beneficiaries can make money from your work too.

How do I get my work copywritten?

  • Under U.S. law, as soon as you finish your illustration, your work is automatically protected by copyright. You don't even have to mail it to yourself! 
  • You can also register your work with the government to give you added protection. 

If copyright is automatic, why should I get it registered?

  • A registered copyright is an ironclad proof that you are the original artist. 
  • So if someone steals your work, you'll have the evidence you need to fight it in court. 
  • Because Lawyers are spendy and registering a copyright is not. 
  • You can also seek damages (extra money) if someone steals your registered copyright.  

What you can't copyright

  • Something that's already copywritten or trademarked. No your rendition of a Disney character or your favorite designer's logo. 
  • A celebrity's likeness, the general rule is if the average person could recognize them, you can't copyright it. 
  • Famous buildings and man-made structures. You don't really think of buildings being copywritten, but they are, and you can't draw them for profit. 

Some licensing "opportunities" to avoid

  • Contests, almost always, when you enter a contest, you are giving up your copyright, even if you don't win. Plus, the "prize" is rarely more valuable than the licensing fee you're missing out on. 
  •  "exposure" for payment. You can drum up your own "exposure" just by making good art and sharing it online. Even if they are an influencer, they are getting paid if they are really an influencer, and so should you.
  • Selling the universal, full copyright for anything less than big bucks. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Sarah Yakawonis

Where art, new media, and craft meet!

Level: All Levels

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1. intro to copyright for artist: in this class. I am going to teach you about American coffee, right? American copyright and copyright in general is super cool because it is a system of laws designed specifically to make artists money, and that is a very admirable goal. So join me in this class, and I'm going to teach you everything I know about copyright, some pitfalls to look for to make sure that you retain your copyright. So, um, sit back, enjoy these lessons and learn about American copyright because really, really awesome. And if you're an artist, you might be leaving money on the table, Um, by not knowing about it. So, um, keep on watching, and we're gonna really dive in. 2. legal Disclaimer : Ah, quick fix disclaimer Before we get started, I am an artist and not a lawyer. All of the information that I'm going to share with you today are, um, firsthand experience with copyright and things that I've learned from the, uh, graphic or the skills, um, can book for pricing and ethical guidelines. Um, so all of the materials have been prepared for educational purposes. This is not legal advice. Um, please get a lawyer if you need legal advice. I am not a lawyer. Um, but I do want to teach you Ah, a thing or two about cooperate because of something that I have a little bit of experience with, and it's something that I think is really important for every artist to know about. 3. Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines : so all of the information that I'm going to share with you in the class I have learned from this in valuable book. It is called the graphic Artist Guilds PAN book on pricing and ethical guidelines. And it has some gorgeous chapters that teach you all about copyright. They taught me all about copyright, so I would highly recommend you get this book. If you want Teoh, dive deeper into it or if you start thinking about maybe illustration licensing. I also have a class on illustration licensing right here in skill share. But, um, really, everything I know about being a professional artist kind of like the professional side of professional ordinance. I've learned from this book, so I would highly recommend it because you'll learn everything that I'm about to tell you, and even more so, um 4. What is copyright?: some. What is copyright? Copyright is a syriza laws that are designed to allow artists to make an income from their work through licensing. Um, there were so you can copy, right? Ah, book you can copy, right? Drawing you can Coffee, right. Um, a song You contrary. Lots of lots and lots of things. I specifically in this class I'm going to talk to you about illustration. Um, copyright, because that's what I have the most experience with. But, um, just know that that's kind of like the b six of copyright is ah, serious of laws designed to make you money. They're designed to protect her work so people can't reproduce it without you, because really think about it. Copy the right. Copy your work. So no matter how they want to use your work, they, um, need your permission. And that permission is the copyright that copy that. Right to copy. You have it. It's yours to license, give or, um, you news. However you'd wish. But somebody cannot copy your work without your permission. And that's kind of what protects you. And a lot of times with your oppression comes on Nice little paycheck. 5. How long does copyright last?: How long does a copyright last? Ah, copyright in the US and this is different in every country. So, like I'm sorry. Like if you're, like, not in America because this is really just American copyright law. That's only a copyright law I know anything about. So in America, your copyright starts as soon as you finish the work with that is copyright and and your copyright will last until 70 years after your death, so that not only can you make money from your work, your family can make money from your work after your passing. After that 70 years, the work becomes public domain, so anyone can do anything they want with it. But you'll have been dead for 70 years, so it won't matter too much to you. 6. How do I get my work copywritten?: How do you get your work? Copy? Ran. So in America since the eighties. As soon as you're done making your work, your work is complete. It is protected by copyright. You know, i e you don't even have to mail it to yourself, which is an old way that, um, people try to like, Oh, I don't have to register for it to coffee, right? I could just mail it to myself. And then there it is. It's proof, and that's not one is not true. And two, you don't have to do it because as soon as your work is done, you work is copyrighted and protected under the laws of America for added protection, you can also register your work with the government, and that's gonna add some extra protections. But registering a copy right is like, you know can be really beneficial for you. 7. why should you get it registered?: So if a copyright is automatically given at the completion upon the completion of the work , why would you get your copyright registered? And there are a couple of different reasons why it is important to register your copyright ? Um, one is because, um uh, registered coffee, right? Is an ironclad proof that that is your work and you own it. You only copyright to it. No one else can copy it. So if you end up speaking of work in relying on that, you know, built in protection once it's completed this copier and law, you have to prove that you have to. So let's say that you made an illustration of a flower and then you see that flower published somewhere and you make any money and permit That's your work. And now, because you didn't register the copy, right, you have to prove that that's your work. And you have to prove that you were the originator of that work. So that's gonna cost a lot of money on the back end, because you're gonna have to pay a lawyer to prove that. And you're gonna have toe, you know, lawyers air like, so offensive. So if you register it. That is an ironclad way to say that, Um, everyone, I made this thing, It's mine. But if you wait and then you get infringed upon, that is a bummer, because you're gonna have to pay somebody a lot of money to prove that you're the originator of the work. Whereas if you just take a little bit of time before that happens and you register your copyright, you will be able to prove it. Maybe without even a lawyer at all. I mean, usually like a lawyer, a little bit if you're come on, you know, um, protector, copyright and like, get that, you know, infringer down. Um, it's gonna be helpful. Another thing that is really important to know about Ah, copyright is that one of the benefits that you get if you register your copyright is you get just seek damages against the person who, um, who stole your copyright. So, like if you catch him on stealing your populated work, that's one thing right? Like you can get a little bit of compensation from that. But if it's a registered copyright, you get to seek damages above and beyond what you've lost An income just from that registration B you get to Dio, you know, like you get toe, get some damages from it. And that's kind of a big reason why you might want to think about registering your copyright, like through the, um, official channels, just to make sure that those copy rates are really, really, really well protected. 8. What you can't copyright: So what are some of the things that you can not copy? Right? So I'm just going to get into this a little bit, just so you don't, you know, waste her time making one work that can't be copyright in, because if it can't be copier, and it's kind of a little bit more difficult to make money from it legally And, um, to some, like things said no. So when you go to the, um, cooperate, I would say you'll know what won't be accepted. So the first thing is something that's already copyright. And so your rendition of the Disney Princesses you cannot copyright that because, um, way over there, even though like your rendition looks a little bit different if they can, like recognize Oh, that Cinderella. Oh, that's Jasmine. You can't do that because that those characters have already been popular in and the meal dizzy also like, really, really, really protects their coffee, right, because they want to make money from their work, too. So, um, you really want to make sure that, um, any kind of logo anything that's already copyright and trademarks or anything like that, you cannot, um, cooperate yourself. So like you can't like you. Your version of Cinderella isn't. You're not able to copyright that you could never really do it. You just can't make any money off of it because it's already your copyright. And another thing that you can't like in the same kind of vein is a celebrity's likeness. You cannot copy area celebrities like Mess because they owned the copyright to that. So a good rule of thumb is would an average person be able to recognize that person or like , are you selling it as like, you know, Brad Pitt cartoon? But you can't do that because they own their own. The copyright to their likeness. One of that you would not think is cooperate but definitely is is man named buildings and landmarks. So I live in Seattle, and the Space Needle, unfortunately, is super copier end, So I can't do a remission of it unless I pay that money to the, um, architects that built it, I think is who gets the money? I am unsure exactly. A new girlie looked too far into it. I just know that you can't do a drawing of a famous building or landmark because those building in landmarks are already copier. And so you can't like, Just like he can't do Cinderella. You can't do this base needle. 9. opportunities to avoid: So the whole point of copyright is Teoh be able to allow you to make money through licensing of those copyrights. So in that vain, I'm going to talk to you a little bit in this lesson about some of the opportunities you're gonna want to avoid When, um doing, uh, working with your copyright. The first thing that I want to talk to you about is contests kind of like heatedly debated . I don't see why I don't see why they are allowed to exist in general. I don't think that they are good for the artistic community, even of your, like, just starting out. You still conduce better than just a contest. And why can you do better than Mr Contest? Because quite often when you click, I agree to the contest submission page. You're actually giving that contest your full copyright without any compensation at all. So they're getting your idea. They're getting your work and they are getting it for free. Even if you don't win, you have still forfeited Gore coffee right to that contest. So I say in general, don't do it. Um and additionally, quite often, the prize given for winning submissions for illustration, contests and stuff like that. Quite often, the prize is much less than you would have gotten if they had gone out and sought illustrations professionally instead of through this, like amateur contest. I just think that they're just, like, just don't do don't submit your work to contest because you are quite often almost always submitting. Um, you're forfeiting your right to the copyright on whatever you've submitted to them. Another opportunity to avoid would be, um uh, letting someone used your copyrighted work for exposure instead of money. Um, I mean, you can really drum up your own exposure just by doing good work. I have actually had somebody who wanted me to make a custom illustration for their company , and they said, Oh, yeah, but you should do it because we'll put it on our instagram and we have 5000 followers. Meanwhile, I have 15,000 followers, so you can see how that wasn't exactly the exposure that I think they thought would be so alluring. Um, I don't know if they just didn't notice how many followers they had. I don't know exactly why they thought that their 5000 would be such a good exposure. But quite often, um, you will have people who want to use your work and they say, Oh, no, no, no. You just let us use it. He'll get good exposure. First of all, any exposure that you get is not that's valuable as the money they would pay you. Yeah, it's a real pay me situation just to pay me. I'm not going to do it for free. And honestly, even if they are an influencer, Um, and they do have a pretty substantial following that is larger than yours. If they're really an influencer, they're giving paid for their posts, and as a result, you should get paid for contributing to their post. So even if it's like not a ton of money, you should still ask for something and don't do anything for free. Another pitfall that I want you to completely avoid is Teoh. License your work for anything. OK, so don't sell universal rates to your work. Basically like, let's say, like, you know, like, let's say this so many one end universal rights to reproduce that that means like to a certain extent, I don't have as many rights to reproduce my own work either. And I can't make money off of anymore cause I've already sold the entire rights to somebody else. So the only time I want you toe ever agree to sell universal rights to anyone is if they give you a gigantic amount of money. I'm talking. Be afraid, toe. Ask them for that much money money Because you can always negotiate. They can say no. You can come back with a lower offer, but don't accept of low, low offer If they want universal rights, you can offer them the rights for two years for the amount of money they maybe want to spend. But don't give them all of universal rights unless they're going to give you a lot of money . 10. grouping is a sweet money-saving trick : so there are two different ways that you can register your copyright with the government. You can either do one of the time or even knew a group. And a group is actually a really good way to save a lot of money because, you know, up to 10 artworks in your group, and they don't have to necessarily even relate to one another. You can have a group of illustrations I made in January that can be enough to be able to loop group all that stuff into a group in, allow you to copyright 10 works for ah, a little bit more than you would be able to do one. So one in 2020 right now costs $25 Teoh Register one copyright, but you can register a group of 10 that I'll get that blanket copyright for $35 that's like 2020 prices. But that's all subject to change, and the number you're allowed to include in that group can change as well. But right now that's the numbers. So, um, it really is super avid heroes for you to, um, group all of those copyrights into one gorgeous little um, you know, group, because it will save you a lot of money 11. selling the original: and this loss that we're going to talk about what you are selling when you were selling an original artwork. So when you sell an original artwork, let's take this. For example. Let's say I sold to this. The person who gets the physical artwork does not get the copyright you get to keep the copyright. They can negotiate for the copyright. You know after you, like as a part of the sale or after the sale if you want to. But, um, because they bought your artwork does not give them any rights to the copyright. So just make sure that that's like, you know, picture that that's really clear. Um, you don't necessarily have to make sure that that's really clear if the buyer. But make sure that was really clear in your mind because you still get the right to make money awful. Any work that you create unless you sell the copyright to it. So just because they bought in the original does not mean that they have rights to the copyright