If I create an idea, this is not copyrighted. Only when I written down or made proof of it being mine then the story / design etc is protected under copyright. If I take someone elses idea without my knowledge then as long as I can show that their is evidence that can be used to show I didn’t know about that design/ etc can be used to show your innocence – however who ever the judge believes is down to them. If the design or etc, is very large and would have most likely been seen by many people including you then this could show you may have unconsciously copied and made a similar product. Many creatives often take inspiration from a design or particular style and create work from this. However it is not right to take credit for a style which isn’t your own. Bring enough of your own creativeness to that work. You can take elements but you cannot copy it entirely – have your own personal touches to make it yours. Be original. When making a piece of work which is homage to the maker or very similar to that creators work – I should try and get consent – let them know if you can take it. Get things in writing. By having a paper trail you can use this to show a judge. Furthermore if the person that has given you that consent later changes their minds and decides to press infringement then you still have the paper trail as evidence saying at the time they gave you permission.
WHO OWNS WHAT?
When creating a creative piece of work for a client as a freelancer or for a company (an employee) it can some times become confusing over who has what rights. Normally ownership should be stated within a contract – such should be made by lawyers to draft these agreements – so that you know that you can use the work you create how you want as well as the company/client. Otherwise link the ownership to the payment in the invoice there a provisional agreement is made and if you don’t get paid – that way you are protected. (They will only get ownership once you are paid for the work). If you make a logo and give a company all the rights then that logo is an infringement of someone else work then they are the now the owners of that design and have all the IP therefore you are not responsible. Therefore giving them all the rights can protect yourself (obviously don’t do it on purpose) – they may pay you more if they let you keep that responsibility.In a business it is often seen that the employer owns the copyright of the work – even if the designer have the design rights. The IP normally belongs to to the creator until they sell or give their rights away (in the case of a company the employee owns the work created and paid to the creator.) When working for yourself making sure in a contract an understanding of IP to the client – such as your right to put on portfolio and etc. If it is video editing or something similar when the company/ clients photographs, videos or images are given to the client it may need to be made clear whether you can use that work because you could be infringing their copyrights – therefore always put agreements in writing as evidence.
Work placement & entering competitions.
When working for yourself entering work placements for experience or entering competitions for that extra bit of cash is a usual thing however it is important that you read everything before you sign it. In the case of a work placement at a large corporation – they may ask you to fill out and sign a contract which may refuse you from using the work that you create whilst there for portfolio or end of year shows. Therefore make sure that you have fully read and understand the conditions and if possible take it home and read thoroughly. Otherwise read the IP section and if no stated or refused – Ask to add on to the contract if you can put onto showreel. In a competition they can take your copyright when you enter – even if you don’t even win the prize. This could also prevent you from using your own work / putting it up on social platforms and etc. Unless you read the terms and conditions you may not even know. Is the prize money worth the copyright ownership.
- Sign and date all work
- paper trail – keep record
- Use copyright notice (e.g Copyright —- 2015. All rights reserved) – Copyright sign on work
- Deliberate markings such as watermarks (Client example with invisible watermarks)
- Ensure you are not infringing somebody else’s copyright – ASK FOR PERMISSION AND GET IT IN WRITING
- Keep your meetings in a trail -( e.g explain what you talked about in an email (thank you for meeting me, we talked about this… today)
- Keep the sketchbook and sketches and you can see the creative process.
- Whenever you upload your work onto your blog put your name / invisible watermark
- restrict access to your website. You can control your website you will know.
- Email the person that is infringement of your work and that you may seek legal advice and action – this often will stop them
- contracts made with clear view of agreements over IP (who gets what – consent to use in portfolio and etc)
- Trademark – register in line drawings – not colour when you register a shape of a design
- The more popular you become the harder it will be to trademark.
POLICING YOUR RIGHTS
KEEP ALERT FOR INFRINGMENTS
CARRY OUT REGULAR INTERENT SEARCHES FOR INFRINGMENT MATERIAL (PRINTSCREEN – SAVE PAGES ETC.)
TAKE ACTION PROMPTLY
TAKE LEGAL ADVICE
Get evidence of infringement. Find out who is infringing and where (keep in mind territorial nature of the rights). Evidence of your right e.g design drawings. Keep contemporaneous notes – Instruct solicitors.
Notes taken from BRIFFA Ramsey Monime talk