Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Copyright and the Law

As promised I will be posting information on copyright and ethics. There are many publications on copyright and in the online forums the views on this subject differ widely. The fact remains, that copyright is the law! Over the past 6 months I have come to find that some just don't get it or they just don't care. However, for those of us who design we should be aware that this law is to protect us. Copyright covers all art and designs. US Code Title 17 is a vast amount of text that covers every aspect of your original designs. It states that at the time of completion, published for the public or not your work is copyrighted. This must be an original design. With the millions of people now beading there are going to be ideas coming to more than one person. There are two ways to handle this. Keep a journal just for your original designs. Date the start of the project, how you put it together, and when it was finished. Take photos during the making of the item and at it's completion. Well anyone can write this up at any time and put any date on it, right? Sure they can, however, photos are timed stamped and there is your proof. The copyright codes also explain a "poor mans" copyright. Most of us have heard of this. When your project is completed write all the important information with photos and mail it to yourself. Do not open it. Keep a record and store it away. Filing for a copyright from the US government is an easy process that will cost about $15.00. Now stay with me because the history of copyright protects you without having to file a thing. Copyright began as the Licensing Act of 1662 by Charles II of England. By 1787 the United States added The Copyright Clause to the Constitution. Mainly for science and useful arts. This guaranteed authors and inventors a period of time that they could profit from the work they were doing. In 1886 Bern Convention was established. This enabled recognition of copyright among sovereign nations. Under the Bern Convention all works of art are copyrighted and do not have to be registered in other countries that signed into the convention. The US and Latin American countries, in 1910, entered into the Buenos Aires Convention. This required a copyright notice, such as, ( All Rights Reserved) marked on works. 1952 saw The Universal Copyright Convention drafted and was ratified by nations such as the Soviet Union. In 1995 the strict regulations of the Bern Convention were Incorporated into the World Trade Organizations. This gave the Bern Convention nearly world wide application. 2002 brought about the WIPO Copyright Treaty that placed wider restrictions on use of technology and copy works to the countries that ratified it. Copyright Law is pretty much standardized world wide so when I design a new piece, photograph it and post it on my blog or website it is mine! It is against the law to copy it in any way, shape, or form. For how long you ask? For the duration of my life and 70 years past my death. It is against Copyright Law to create, teach, sell, reproduce in any manner or form through old or new technologies works other than your own, without the expressed written permission of the author. You can not legally reproduce a piece from a magazine, book, Internet, or from a class and sell it! You must have the written permission from the artist. It does not COUNT that you told the buyer who the designer is. It is against Copyright Law. You can not take a class and then turn around and teach that piece in your own class. You must have written permission from the instructor. It is against Copyright Law. You can not buy a piece of art, reproduce it and sell it in your B&M or online store with out the permission from the artists. It is against Copyright Law. It only takes a minute to write an email to ask permission. It is the right thing to do, it is the ethical thing to do and it is the Law!

If you are not sure of what is right in our world of beading then it is probably wrong. Don't do it!

Be considerate, Bead with Honor and Integrity.

Next time I will describe what you can do with copyrighted art such as articles in magazines, books and from what you learn in classes. In addition, I will show artists how to let your copyright wishes be known.

If you want to stand for right-ness and show others that you do be sure to get a Copyright tote bag. All proceeds go to the education of our art and copyright.

click on the tote bag
Bead with Honor and Integrity

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