This great post was taken from other contest site. I hope this will be not qualified as CI and it will be helpful for new DC members and new designers.
Nancy Carter from LT & AIGA | the professional association for design
AIGA | Copyright Basics for Graphic Designers
AIGA | Trademark Basics for Graphic Designers
Highlights for those who won't read it all:
- Copyright infringement is the commercial exploitation of another's work.
- Infringement happens when one uses another's work as reference and the result is SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR.
- Copyright infringement does not mean identical.
-â€œ Infringement can occur when details are different.
- Infringement means that an average person looking at the two would see that the 'artistic expression' was copied.
- 20% change rule is a myth.
What is copyright infringement?
Copyright infringement happens whenever someone makes copies or commercially exploits a work without the copyright ownerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s permission. The second work must actually be copied from the first workÃ¢â‚¬â€if you just happen to create a very similar work independently, that is not infringement. The problems arise when one artist uses another artistÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work as reference. To be infringing, the second artistÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s works need not be identical. The standard for infringement is whether the second work is Ã¢â‚¬Å“substantially similarÃ¢â‚¬ to the original work. (Contrary to popular belief, there is no Ã¢â‚¬Å“20 percent rule,Ã¢â‚¬ i.e., you cannot escape infringement by changing something by 20 percent. Infringement is not a mathematical calculation.)
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Substantially similarÃ¢â‚¬ means that an average person viewing the two works would recognize that the Ã¢â‚¬Å“artistic expressionÃ¢â‚¬ in one was copied from the other. The focus on Ã¢â‚¬Å“artistic expressionÃ¢â‚¬ is meant to distinguish between illegal copying, which is infringement, and being inspired by someone elseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work, which is not illegal. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Artistic expressionÃ¢â‚¬ means the specific artistic choices and details that go into a work, such as composition, rendering and colors, but not general concepts such as subject matter or similar artistic style. However, courts often describe infringing works as having the same Ã¢â‚¬Å“look and feelÃ¢â‚¬ as the originals. Sometimes work depicting similar content in the same unique artistic style are held infringing, even if specific details are different.
Unfortunately, infringement is a common occurrence in the graphic arts. Here are some examples:
A licensee re-uses the work beyond the scope of the license, as in the example above where the magazine adapts the illustration for a column logo.
An illustrator makes a painting from a photograph. Many people think photographs are just factual records, and thus can be freely copied, or that changing the medium is sufficient to avoid infringement. This is not correct. Photographs are fully protected as copyrighted works. If you copy the artistic expression of a photograph, e.g., the choice of subject matter, props, lighting, point of view, composition, etc., you have infringed the copyright in the photograph.
An illustrator copies the unique way another illustrator draws figures.
An ad campaign uses slogans, images and page designs similar to those of another ad campaign.
Many designers are surprised to learn that infringement occurs even when you merely copy someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work for intermediate purposes, as in the following examples:
An advertising agency creates a comp using images from an artistÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s or photographerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s portfolio. The comp itself is an act of infringement. If the final artwork is substantially similar to the art that was used in the comp, it counts as a second infringement.
An image is digitally copied (e.g., scanned or downloaded) in order to manipulate it with a program like Photoshop. The mere act of making the precursor digital copy counts as a separate act of infringement, regardless of whether the final manipulated image is substantially similar.