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Which copyright liscense?

Posted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:44 am
by arteramma
I'm totally lost in the world of copyright.

I started a website to promote my products (t-shirts/gifts featuring cartoon animals). Some of the pictures used on the products are public domain and some are completely original designs by myself so I don't really know what type of copyright message/liscense to use. In addition to that I want to offer some of my images as outline drawings that can be printed out for children to colour in and I'm wondering if I should only do that with the public domain images or my own also. Do I need to add a sepearate copyright message for each different image if some are PD and some aren't?

Hope that makes sense!! And thanks in advance for any advice.

Posted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:55 pm
by AndyJ
I think you will have to put the appropriate copyright notice on each individual image/design, because you can't claim copyright on images which aren't your work. However you can have a general notice on the website to say that the design and layout of the site is copyright (either yours or your site designer's) which many people might interpret as meaning that all the images are copyright and this may offer you a bit of extra protection.

I'm slightly concerned by your claim that some of the images you use are in the public domain. In reality very few modern images are truly in the 'public domain' because that means that either copyright on them has expired (70 years after the death of their creator) or that the author has publicly renounced all copyright, which is pretty rare. Very ofter what people actually mean is the either the images have been released on a Creative Commons licence - in which case that licence should also appear on your images - or that the images have been pirated so many times that the owner of the copyright can't be bothered to take any action to protect his rights. It may seem like splitting hairs, but legally speaking these are different categories and it is important to be claer about them so you don't actually infringe someone else's copyright by mistake.

So not only should you mark your own work clearly so that others don't assume that your own designs are in the 'public domain', but also somewhere on you website you should put a brief statement that if you have inadvertently used someone else's copyright material, they should contact you and you will instantly remove the infringing work. As long as you are careful to establish that the images you feel are in the public domain really are so, than you should not have any problem.

Posted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:26 pm
by arteramma
wow, thanks for the detailed response. I'll double check on the PD images I've used but they came from what I think is a trustowrthy PD site (I checked another site at the time to be be safe but that's no garuantee I guess). Thanks so much for the help and suggestions, it's very much appreciated.