[Clipart] Copyrighted material appearing on the website.
jsimanek at gmail.com
Mon Mar 15 06:27:05 PDT 2010
On 03/15/2010 12:53 AM, chovynz wrote:
> Conversally, I would say that clipart of copyrighted designs (in the
> physical) are ok. If we stuck to a hard line like "No clipart of a
> copyrighted/recognisable brand of car" then we would have no clipart
> whatsoever of any technology since everything is patented, and we would
> have no clipart of any people without their express consent (which in
> many cases is impossible to get). "Clipart" is different to "Designs".
For the record, you don't want to confuse patents with copyrights.
Patents, at least in the U.S., refer to unique solutions or methods to
solve problems or tasks. Patents also have a very short lifespan. In the
U.S. they are only intended to protect inventors so that they have a few
years to market their original product without being undercut by larger
existing companies/manufacturers. This isn't always the case due to the
U.S. patent system having been... hijacked. But it is the actual reason
for existence of patent protection.
Copyright is much different. Copyrights in the U.S. applies to written
text and pretty much anything remotely considered artistic. A copyright
is protected for up to [I think] 60 years after the DEATH of the creator
(you can thank Walt Disney for that). So this is a very different thing.
Anyway, as a professional graphic designer and sometime illustrator, I
am quite certain that Volkswagen cannot sue you for taking a photograph
or making a drawing of a VW Beetle. You just can't make an image of
their logo, reuse their pitch line or stuff like that. The car's design
might fall under copyright, but if you aren't building a car that looks
exactly like a VW Beetle and selling it for profit, you aren't breaking
their copyright. A drawing of a car is not a car.
Just to be safe, you'll probably want to leave logos or logotypes off of
any such illustrations. You should be in the clear.
Rule of thumb: if it's already 2-D artwork, don't copy it. If you are
making a drawing of a physical object you are creating an original piece
U.S. Copyright Office
The 'Frequently Asked Questions' is quite good. Not that U.S. copyright
and patent law is the only country's laws to be worried about, but as I
understand it the U.S. has the most strict laws in place.
Hope this helps, but if you can find a lawyer to help out that wouldn't
More information about the clipart