A Beginner’s Guide To Copyright Law For Artists

For artists, an understanding of how copyright works is especially important, since it governs the rights in and to his or her art. Artists might have two questions when it comes to copyright: (1) how do I protect my own creative work, and (2) when am I able to use someone else’s work in my own? And those two questions represent the fundamental tension in the law between providing incentives to artists to create, and allowing works to fall into what is known as the public domain – that is, works unprotected by copyright and thus available for others to use as they wish.What follows is a brief overview of the U.S. law that will hopefully give a basic sense of when a work is protected, how to protect it, and when a work can be used to create a new work of art.

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