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Author Topic: About Copyrights  (Read 3097 times)

Offline starcros

About Copyrights
«: June 09, 2009, 05:01:20 AM»
I think its time the people on here learn about Copyrights.
I have conferred with a lawyer specializing in copyright law and below is briefly how he explained to me copyright laws apply in most of the art sales that take place here.
I know I am going to get flamed over this but when you sell a piece of art that was commissioned, you are pretty much selling all rights to the art.
Its like I commission you to do a painting of me. Once I have paid you, the painting is mine to do with as I please as long as I dont try to pass it off as my own work. I can even destroy it if I like.
Now what most on here try to do is license their art.
This means you are not selling the art per-se, but instead are selling a limited usage right, much like Disney will sell you a license that will allow you to print one of their characters on a coffee mug.
But there are major differences.
1. Disney spells out the complete terms of it's license deals before any money changes hands.
A license is like any other contract. Both parties must be aware of and totally understand the terms of the license in order for the contract to be valid.   
2. Disney is the sole creator of it's characters.
This is the biggest difference and what makes it impossible legally to license a commissioned piece of work.
When I commission you to do a piece of artwork, I am asking you to produce a piece of art base on a character I designed. Yes, it is your interpretation of my character, but I choose the parameters of that interpretation. I will choose how I want the character to look (colors, pose, basic design, ect...).    Since I own the rights to the character you cannot limit my rights to art based on that character.  It would be like an animation artist working for Disney trying to tell Disney where and how they can use their drawings of Snow White.
Yes they have to be compensated for their work, but once that compensation is paid all rights revert to the owner of the character on which the art was based.
Copyright law was written to do one thing, that is to protect the artists ability to profit from their work.
Since commissions are one time sales, once I paid for a piece of work all possible profits have been made by the original artist on the piece and therefore I cannot violate your copyrights on it.
However there is one exception, while I can claim the character as my own I cannot claim the art as my own. You retain the right to claim credit and show the art as past works to protect the profitability of future works.     
In other words, once I buy a piece of art from you it is mine to do with as I please as long as I dont claim it as my own work. I can display it how and where I want, I can choose to not display it, I can resell it if I choose, I can even destroy it. Its the same as if I bought a painting, it is mine to do with as I choose.
Now if  a piece of art is pre-made and not commissioned (Not based on a pre-existing character),  then the art can be licensed. But it must be made clear that you are only selling a license to use the art and the terms of the license must be spelled out before the sale.     
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 05:04:12 AM by starcros »

 
        

Offline Narnia

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #1: June 09, 2009, 06:36:37 AM»
Copyrights are not that cut and dry.

Did you lawyer explain work for hire?

Did your lawyer explain when a copyright first comes into existence?

In theory you are right, however your entire argument revolved around tangible art, not digital.

Or how about fair use.. http://altmarket.net/index.php?topic=8886.0

Also, please use real paragraphs to make things easier to read.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 06:42:01 AM by Narnia »
"The views expressed in this message are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Furcadia Art Zone, Dragon's Eye Production, or Furcadia."

Sookan

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #2: June 09, 2009, 08:07:23 AM»
i think most people are already aware of this. anybody who tells you that you cannot resell a piece of art only after you have purchased it, is scamming you.

what about when people sell character designs they created? they would be the sole creator of those characters, and ought to be able to license them out.

besides this, multiple copies of an original work can be made online, unlike in real life. i don't think those rules quite stand online.

Offline starcros

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #3: June 09, 2009, 12:13:12 PM»
Copyrights are not that cut and dry.

For the most part, yes they are. Especially when we are talking about how it pertains to a specific type of sale ( i.e. a commissioned work)



Did you lawyer explain work for hire?


Yes, that's what a commissioned piece is.


Did your lawyer explain when a copyright first comes into existence?


yes he did



In theory you are right, however your entire argument revolved around tangible art, not digital.


Wrong. That is why I used Disney as an example.  Any image can be copied, reproduced, ect... It makes no difference if it was done by paint brush, pencil or computer.
Copyright Law was written because art by nature is intangible.
 


Or how about fair use.. http://altmarket.net/index.php?topic=8886.0



Fair use applies to a third parties right to reference a piece of art. That is a whole other subject.



Also, please use real paragraphs to make things easier to read.

My apologies here. I forget how points are often invalidated here simply based on grammar rather then the actual content.

Offline starcros

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #4: June 09, 2009, 12:20:05 PM»

what about when people sell character designs they created? they would be the sole creator of those characters, and ought to be able to license them out.


You are right, and I state this at the end of my post.


besides this, multiple copies of an original work can be made online, unlike in real life. i don't think those rules quite stand online.

Yes they do. Art always could be copied, computers has just made it easier.
That's the reason copyright law was written. Notice it says "COPY"right?
Digital images under the law are no different then any other.

Offline Narnia

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #5: June 09, 2009, 12:26:31 PM»
I'm going to tell you flat out that DEP does not recognize work for hire transactions. The artist is always copyright owner in the eyes of DEP regardless of whether it was a work for hire situation. Your battle it with them about this issue, not us.

I also wasn't trying to invalidate your post by asking you to use paragraphs, I was asknig you to do it so that people can actually read what you wrote.

Ifiwrotemyentirepostlike thisthennoonewouldwantto respondtome.
Thisishowapostlookswheni tisnotbrokenupbyparagrap hs.
Noonewantstotakethetimet obreakthisupintheirmind.

I also hope that your lawyer told that you if you want to recover damages as a result of someone violating your copyright you need to have it registered with the Patent Office. Otherwise, the best you can do is ask them to cease and desist.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 12:30:27 PM by Narnia »
"The views expressed in this message are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Furcadia Art Zone, Dragon's Eye Production, or Furcadia."

Offline starcros

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #6: June 09, 2009, 01:00:45 PM»
I'm going to tell you flat out that DEP does not recognize work for hire transactions. The artist is always copyright owner in the eyes of DEP regardless of whether it was a work for hire situation. Your battle it with them about this issue, not us.


It doesn't matter. DEP does not write the law nor do they have the authority to enforce it.
Besides that, since when does DEP get involved in transactions of this type?

I also wasn't trying to invalidate your post by asking you to use paragraphs, I was asknig you to do it so that people can actually read what you wrote.

Ifiwrotemyentirepostlike thisthennoonewouldwantto respondtome.
Thisishowapostlookswheni tisnotbrokenupbyparagrap hs.
Noonewantstotakethetimet obreakthisupintheirmind.


I think you are exaggerating here, but ok. Point taken.

I also hope that your lawyer told that you if you want to recover damages as a result of someone violating your copyright you need to have it registered with the Patent Office. Otherwise, the best you can do is ask them to cease and desist.

LOL  Now you are getting into grey areas that really goes beyond what I was saying.
While it is very helpful to have your copyright registered it is not really necessary. The law was amended a few years back to make it no longer necessary to register a copyright.
The main thing is, you must defend your copyright for it to remain valid. If you knowingly allow one person to violate your rights then you give them up .
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 01:06:24 PM by starcros »

Offline Narnia

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #7: June 09, 2009, 02:00:27 PM»
It's no longer neccessary to register a copyright, unless you want to seek damages for its infringement.

Futher, DEP is involved in these transactions because if I buy a commissioned port from you and upload it (thus I have the copyright) and two weeks later someone steals the same port and uploads it DEP will not acknowledge that I am the copyright owner. They will only acknowledge the original artist as the copyright owner.

Copyright laws are extremely broad and complex. To try and sum them up in a single post, accurately, is impossible.
"The views expressed in this message are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Furcadia Art Zone, Dragon's Eye Production, or Furcadia."

Offline starcros

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #8: June 09, 2009, 02:22:48 PM»
It's no longer neccessary to register a copyright, unless you want to seek damages for its infringement.

Futher, DEP is involved in these transactions because if I buy a commissioned port from you and upload it (thus I have the copyright) and two weeks later someone steals the same port and uploads it DEP will not acknowledge that I am the copyright owner. They will only acknowledge the original artist as the copyright owner.

Copyright laws are extremely broad and complex. To try and sum them up in a single post, accurately, is impossible.

I agree, copyright laws are broad and complex because it pertains to many different situations, but we are talking about a particular type of transaction.
Copyright law as it relates to commissioned works (or "work for hire") is pretty simple and straight forward.
Might there be some grey area's?
Yes, but very few that would apply in situations that take place here.
My original post covered it pretty well.
We are not lawyers trying to argue the technical aspects of the law, I am just clarifying the basic rights as it pertains to the type of transactions that take place here.   

Offline Narnia

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #9: June 09, 2009, 03:14:23 PM»
Work for hire doesn't apply in 99% of all situations on furcadia because there is no agreement specifying that the work is made for hire as required by the statute. See http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ09.pdf

Check out copyright.gov for tons of other brochures. You are not understanding the application of copyright law correctly.
"The views expressed in this message are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Furcadia Art Zone, Dragon's Eye Production, or Furcadia."

Offline starcros

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #10: June 09, 2009, 03:39:51 PM»
Work for hire doesn't apply in 99% of all situations on furcadia because there is no agreement specifying that the work is made for hire as required by the statute. See http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ09.pdf

Check out copyright.gov for tons of other brochures. You are not understanding the application of copyright law correctly.

I have read that and it only validates my point. It is you that don't understand.
Yes there should be an agreement by both parties, but in the absence of an agreement the nature of the transaction will dictate how copyright law applies. By whats stated in the very link you posted, if a work is commissioned, it is considered "work made for hire".
It is not my understanding of the law, but it is as explained to me by a lawyer.
As a lawyer, Im pretty sure he has a good understanding of the law.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 03:42:16 PM by starcros »

Offline Narnia

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #11: June 09, 2009, 03:45:02 PM»
It must be commissioned AND HAVE A WRITTEN AGREEMENT STATING THAT IT IS A WORK FOR HIRE.

Otherwise, it is not a work for hire.
"The views expressed in this message are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Furcadia Art Zone, Dragon's Eye Production, or Furcadia."

IPGD

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #12: June 09, 2009, 03:49:34 PM»
Excuse me if I'm missing something, what exactly is the point of this thread?

Offline Narnia

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #13: June 09, 2009, 03:50:01 PM»
To inform us about copyrights. I think..
"The views expressed in this message are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Furcadia Art Zone, Dragon's Eye Production, or Furcadia."

IPGD

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #14: June 09, 2009, 03:54:15 PM»
It doesn't seem to be doing that, just starting a pointless cyclical argument where people are going to bicker back and forth over whose interpretation is right. The OP even started his thread with "I know I am going to get flamed over this"

Offline Narnia

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #15: June 09, 2009, 03:57:44 PM»
It's not really about interpretation of the statute. Circular 9 specifically states,
Quote
If a work is created by an independent contractor (that
is, someone who is not an employee under the general
common law of agency), then the work is a specially ordered
or commissioned work, and part 2 of the statutory definition
applies. Such a work can be a work made for hire only if both
of the following conditions are met: (1) it comes within one
of the nine categories of works listed in part 2 of the definition
and (2) there is a written agreement between the parties
specifying that the work is a work made for hire.
"The views expressed in this message are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Furcadia Art Zone, Dragon's Eye Production, or Furcadia."

Offline starcros

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #16: June 09, 2009, 04:20:58 PM»
Ok, I just got off the phone with the lawyer.
For a little background. I have had several sites that did quite a bit of business so I have dealt with lawyers often on theses matters. The lawyer whom is giving me this info is the one I used for years and he has done me very well. He is also a good friend whom I have known for many years.
According to him the link that you posted is just a brief summery of the statues that cover "work made for hire". There are other statues that apply if there is no written agreement.
But more to the point, even if there must be an written agreement most times there is. Most transactions is done here via chat or email and since there can be a verifiable record of those conversations it can be legally considered a written agreement.

IPGD

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #17: June 09, 2009, 04:29:33 PM»
It ultimately doesn't even matter. 99% of the time, the law is not going to get involved here. People don't follow the rules artists set as to the usage of their work because it's the law, they do it because it's dishonest to break an argeement you have made. Even if you can't take it to court, you can still bitch and moan and ruin the reputation of the people who violate the de facto rules of etiquette of the community. People who are actually concerned with and capable of dealing with actual legal infringement (read: real professional workers) will learn this, but we are not these people. This place is made up of a bunch of 14 year old girls.

Offline starcros

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #18: June 09, 2009, 04:41:44 PM»
It ultimately doesn't even matter. 99% of the time, the law is not going to get involved here. People don't follow the rules artists set as to the usage of their work because it's the law, they do it because it's dishonest to break an argeement you have made. Even if you can't take it to court, you can still bitch and moan and ruin the reputation of the people who violate the de facto rules of etiquette of the community. People who are actually concerned with and capable of dealing with actual legal infringement (read: real professional workers) will learn this, but we are not these people. This place is made up of a bunch of 14 year old girls.

I agree with you. Just because something is legal don't always make it right.
Im just tired of people selling art then claiming their rights was violated because they don't like the way it was or wasn't used.
And if you are going to hold people to standards which are different then the legal ones, its only fair that those standards be clearly defined. Especially if someones reputation is going to be determined by how well they hold to those standards.
Is there anywhere on here that I may have missed where the standards for selling art is listed?
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 04:53:40 PM by starcros »

IPGD

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #19: June 09, 2009, 05:04:08 PM»
Quote
And if you are going to hold people to standards which are different then the legal ones, its only fair that those standards be clearly defined. Especially if someones reputation is going to be determined by how well they hold to those standards.
Is there anywhere on here that I may have missed where the standards for selling art is listed?
It's just common sense. If the artist you are commissioning tells you not to do something, don't go and do it. If you don't like an artist's terms, don't commission them.

Offline starcros

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #20: June 09, 2009, 05:12:55 PM»
Quote
And if you are going to hold people to standards which are different then the legal ones, its only fair that those standards be clearly defined. Especially if someones reputation is going to be determined by how well they hold to those standards.
Is there anywhere on here that I may have missed where the standards for selling art is listed?
It's just common sense. If the artist you are commissioning tells you not to do something, don't go and do it. If you don't like an artist's terms, don't commission them.

Well that is where the problem lies. There is very little common sense surrounding Furcadia.
In the instances where I have hired people to do art work, there was never any terms specified other then payment terms.
I suspect most dont specify how their art is to be used and not used before the sale

IPGD

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #21: June 09, 2009, 05:22:07 PM»
Well that is where the problem lies. There is very little common sense surrounding Furcadia.
In the instances where I have hired people to do art work, there was never any terms specified other then payment terms.
I suspect most dont specify how their art is to be used and not used before the sale
Then use your own common sense. Don't claim the art is yours, don't try to sell it, and just ask if you're not sure about something. If you inadvertently violate some sort of unspoken code, don't be difficult, apologize and fix it.  If you have no malicious intent and are willing to clean up after yourself, there will be no problem.

Offline starcros

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #22: June 09, 2009, 05:30:55 PM»
Well that is where the problem lies. There is very little common sense surrounding Furcadia.
In the instances where I have hired people to do art work, there was never any terms specified other then payment terms.
I suspect most dont specify how their art is to be used and not used before the sale
Then use your own common sense. Don't claim the art is yours, don't try to sell it, and just ask if you're not sure about something. If you inadvertently violate some sort of unspoken code, don't be difficult, apologize and fix it.  If you have no malicious intent and are willing to clean up after yourself, there will be no problem.

Ok what you see as common sense, I don't.
 If I no longer have a need for a piece of art that I purchased then  unless otherwise agreed I think I have the right to resell it (understanding of course that when I sell it , I no longer have the right to use it). I bought it, its mine.
This is why a universal list of rules is needed, different people have different ideals on what is and isnt right.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 05:33:37 PM by starcros »

IPGD

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #23: June 09, 2009, 05:42:24 PM»
Ok what you see as common sense, I don't.
 If I no longer have a need for a piece of art that I purchased then  unless otherwise agreed I think I have the right to resell it (understanding of course that when I sell it , I no longer have the right to use it). I bought it, its mine.
This is why a universal list of rules is needed, different people have different ideals on what is and isnt right.
You are aware that some artists do not want their art resold. This falls into the "if you aren't sure, ask" category. Many will allow you to resell their stuff if you just ask, and you will avoid a shitstorm even if they won't. It doesn't matter if you have the right to resell it or believe you have the right to resell it, if the artist tells you not to, don't be a dick.

There isn't a universal set of rules because there is no universal consensus. Do what the artist tells you to do.

Offline binkari

Re: About Copyrights
«Reply #24: June 09, 2009, 05:50:22 PM»
It's all about communication and being clear about your terms before engaging in a business transaction. You can get annoyed that the original artist didn't grant you exclusive rights as you expected, just as the original artist can get angry that you're trying to sell off work they don't really perceive as exclusively yours. If you didn't discuss terms of use, then play it safe and don't go redistributing a digital piece without talking to the original artist first.

Generally speaking, there seems to be a silent understanding among Furcadian artists that, unless explicitly stated, a commissioned piece of work still belongs to the original artist. As a commissioner, you have the right to post the piece and claim ownership of the character (or design, or whatever) for personal, non-profit use.

If you paid for a traditional piece of work, then you can, by practically all means, resell it. However, I'm pretty sure most artists would be up in arms if you, say, made prints of the original and sold the prints without paying royalties to the original artist. Digital art is hairy business, mainly because of the easy of reproducing the work and distributing it.

But this is Furcadia. The worst thing that can happen is that your reputation is ruined due to lack of business savvy, since you'd have to be pretty rich (or maybe just extravagant) to drop the lawsuit bomb on a commission that probably didn't cost more than $50.