where your copyrights come from

Your copyrights came into being by way of a little set of rules called the U.S. Constitution. When ratified in 1789 the Constitution gave Congress the right to grant “authors” (and remember, that means you, even if you’re a visual artist) legal protection in their works, which they promptly did in the Copyright Act of 1790. The law’s current version is the Copyright Act of 1976. If you’re feeling really ambitious, hop on over to http://www.copyright.gov/title17/ for the full lawdown.

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Have you ever been confused about what is and isn’t OK when it comes to inspiration and source material? Have you ever seen another artist’s work that feels a little too close to yours for comfort? Copyright cases are exclusively handled in federal courts. So, if someone violates your copyright, you literally can "make a federal case out of it."

But here at F13 we’re lovers, not fighters—and we know you are, too. We’d rather see all of you focusing your time and energy on creating wonderful artwork. Let’s see what we can do to keep ourselves out of the courtroom, shall we? Down the road, we’ll be talking about some of those actual federal cases because they’re super instructive when we want to understand the nuances of copyright law.

First though... It’s not uncommon to hear and read arguments against copyright protection and we’re going to take a closer look at that in Thursday’s post. Stay tuned!

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Please remember: The information provided on this blog and throughout our website is intended for general educational purposes only. While some information on this site relates to the law as a topic, it's not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Only a lawyer, selected by you and fully informed of the facts relating to your particular situation, can render legal advice.