Copyright Laws- Hard-to-miss things for a designer


Although, World Wide Web has rendered us incredible options for honing the creative side of our personality, there are some issues that have always been bothering a lot of designers residing in different corners of the world. One such extremely disturbing issue is the stealing of your work, followed by passing on the same to others on their name. Well, in the quest for completing web design projects on-time, a majority of web designers tend to copy the design already created by a different designer. This blog serves as an eye-opener for all those web designers who’re left wide mouth opened on seeing their work published on some other’s name. Here, I’ve covered some must-knows about copyright laws that form crucial components of every web design project.

What exactly is a copyright?

Copyright is the body of law that stops other people from copying, publishing or adapting your design without your prior permission. As the owner of the copyright, you have the exclusive right to copy the design, display, publish and distribute it to anyone you want to.

What all doesn’t fall under the category of ‘Copyright’?

Well, designers can easily copyright their designs but there are certain design elements that can’t copyrighted. Some of these elements include names, titles, slogan, symbols, lettering, coloring, measurement charts, government or legal documents, listing and calendars. All such design elements can be protected using the trademarks.

What’s Design Infringement all about?

Design infringement refers to the act wherein somebody takes a substantial part of your design without seeking your permission. Although infringement standards vary from country to country, but the basic rule is that the substance of your work is the component that gives it its originality. There’s a good possibility of your copyright being infringed by someone else who tends to distribute or create infringing copies of your work.

It’s mandatory to register your copyright

To be able to sue the copycats and to enjoy the benefits of copyright ownership, it is mandatory for you to register the copyright. With a copyright registration, you grab the right to claim statutory damages to your design.

Keeping your point while suing the copycat is crucial

Even if you don’t use the copyright registration, it is essential to keep records of works you create. While suing the copycat, it is essential to prove that you are the owner of the copyright and that there’s a good connection between your work and the copied design version. Here, if you’re unable to keep your point and the copycat showcases that he/she didn’t have access to your work then both of you will have the copyright.

Seeking Compensation the right way

If you turn to be successful in proving that the person copied your design, then you can simply seek damages by filing for an injunction. Doing this prevents the further distribution or copying of your design and allows you to claim compensation for the copies that have already been used elsewhere. Here, an important point worth making a note of is that you must seek the advice of a qualified intellectual attorney prior to taking an affirmative action against the copycat. The reason for this is that although you might be convinced about someone having copied your design, there may be parts or elements of your designs which may subject to what we know as “fair use”. For such design inspirations, suing the copycat is something that’s unethical and meaningless.

What’s the validity of your copyright registration?

Although copyright laws are different for different countries, an average validity of the copyright registration is until 50 years after the designer’s death.

Get people notice your copyrights

After getting your copyright registered, it is your right to notify others of your newly owned copyright. As the copyright owner, you may do so by placing a (c) next to the copyrighted work displaying the date upon which the work was created. As an alternative to this, you can even elect to insert language that notifies viewers that the work is your copyright.

Wrapping Up

Whether you call them tips or laws, the aforementioned points have a thorough potential of helping designers become familiar with the rights that can be availed every time a design is being stolen by an fraudulent graphic designer. It’s necessary to understand the basic difference between copying and taking inspiration from someone else’s work. Being clear on this will allow you to enjoy your rights in a better way.

Jack Calder has shown here his caliber by writing some valuable laws on copyright laws. He usually slice psd to html files for Markupcloud Ltd client’s. When he turn psd into html he also takes care of the copyright issues.