Copyright for Visual Artists

Your artwork has value. Know your rights.

Recent Article

Why Artists Work for Free, or why visual artists are poor and plumbers are not.

I'd like you to imagine the following scenario. A business person calls a plumber and asks the plumber to do some work for free because it "will be good advertising and experience"

Recent Article

How to add the © symbol to your images

Depending on how up-to-date your reference materials are, who you are listening to and the copyright laws of your country, you will find a great deal of conflicting advice on the use of the copyright symbol. Some say...

Copyright for Visual Artists, Designers, Illustrators and Photographers


opyright concerns are becoming increasingly important in the art and design industry. Today employers and clients are demanding that artists, photographers and designers understand and respect copyright laws. Once the sole domain of lawyers and judges, the complex and challenging issues of copyright are now part of the daily reality of all artists who work with images. Due to rapid developments in the electronic storage and transmission of images, the artist is expected to have a good grasp on copyright law and how it is interpreted in an ever changing social and technological landscape.

"the complex and challenging issues of copyright are now part of the daily reality of all artists who work with images"

Two basic aspects of copyright as it applies to visual artists are what rights an artist or designer has to their own work and what responsibilities they have when using the creative work of others. This website has been created specifically for artists who create images, whether they be painters, illustrators, photographers, designers or art students.

For the sake of brevity, the term "visual copyright" will be used in this website to refer to copyright issues as they apply to static works of visual art and design, including cartoons, sketches, drawings, paintings, photographs, digital images, illustrations, posters, brochures and websites, among others. The term "artist" will be used broadly to refer to a wide range of practitioners of visual art including photographers, designers, painters, printmakers, and others.

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These pages are for educational purposes only. This site offers a combination of fact, anecdotal information and editorial opinion of the writer, none of which should be construed as legal advice. If you require legal assistance on any aspect of copyright law, please contact a lawyer.