[Clipart] Copyrighted material appearing on the website.

chovynz chovynz at gmail.com
Mon Mar 15 11:47:38 PDT 2010

You said it better than what I did. Haha! Thanks for clearing it up. :)


On 16/03/2010 2:27 a.m., Jason Simanek wrote:
> 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 of artwork.
> U.S. Copyright Office
> http://www.copyright.gov/
> 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 hurt.
> -Jason Simanek
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