Should I Copyright My Work?

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  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    I wanted to clarify something in the podcast. I want to be SURE you guys don't think we were saying that copyright is pointless. Copyright is AWESOME and can help you out when images are stolen on Facebook and amazon, etc. I have successfully had images removed from both of those when people were using my images without permission.

    The point I was making in the podcast was addressing the "you should sue" statement I hear so much. I was just saying that is easier said than done. But don't think that we don't value copyright because we do! : )

  • @mag yes!! Thank you!

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @Lee-White Nice save! 😅 But I would like to discuss this more.

    So I was listening to this episode this morning and was a little disturbed by what I was hearing. Maybe "confused" is a better word, since I know Will, Jake and Lee recognize the inherent value of copyright protection. But as I listened I found myself wondering:

    "Hang on -- are they saying that there's no point to copyright protection?"

    I've listened to this section twice (you know, before I start randomly posting my criticism on public forums) and if I were new to illustration I would likely come away pondering:

    "If I can't really ever win a copyright suit ...
    AND I am required to register my work before I can file a copyright suit...
    AND the automatic copyright protection doesn't have any real teeth unless I register my copyright . . .
    Then what's the point of US Copyright Law (Title 17)?

    Reading @Lee-White post above I realize now that the emphasis in the podcast discussion is on the: "Take someone to court and try to get monetary damages out of them" part of "suing" an infringer.

    But if you change the word "sue" to "take legal action" then there are other tools that copyright protection (and the associated registration with the copyright office) provides to illustrators.

    @Lee-White @Jake-Parker @Will-Terry and anyone else who has experience with copyright protection -- can you offer some examples of ways in which copyright has benefitted your career? @Lee-White I recognize you mentioned stolen images on FB and Amazon. Can you chat a bit more about that? What aspects of copyright did you utilize?

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @davidhohn i just reported the sites/images that were stolen and had to show my site where the original images were. Once those were confirmed they removed the stolen content.

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @Lee-White Thanks for additional info!

    For those new to copyright -- so you were leveraging the automatic protection (in this case presumption of ownership once the work is in a "fixed and tangible form") built into copyright law. With no need to register the images with the copyright office?

  • Hello, Lee mentioned an 11x17 scanner for around $250. Anyone have any recommendations? I’ve been looking for a scanner this size for a while now. Thank you!

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @Juleesa I heard that too -- @Lee-White where you seeing this kind of thing? I've always seen scanners that big for about $1K and it's typically used. New at Epson seems to be around $3K.( But I never put it past Lee to find crazy deals!)

  • @davidhohn I got an 11x17 printer scanner combo for 200 from Staples years ago. Can't seem to find anything similar now, though! Maybe there wasn't much demand from the average consumer.

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @Braden-Hallett Wow, that would be a pretty big device! But an insane deal!

  • @davidhohn a few years ago I purchased an Epson WF-7610 large format scanner from Amazon for $150 (which is about the MSRP). A few months ago, it stopped printing (hey, it was known to be glitchy, but I work traditionally, needed a large format scanner, took a gamble, and got about 4 years out of it). So I went looking for a new scanner ... well, the pandemic happened! With so many people scrambling to set up home offices, printers and scanners are at a premium and prices have skyrocketed.

    Epson is no longer manufacturing that all-in-one printer, it's completely sold out on the Epson site, and any new models of the WF-7610 are selling for $600. On eBay, I found some used working models selling for $200-$400. Long story short, the one I bought was purported to work perfectly but doesn't. It looks like I'll be searching for a new printer and scanner soon.

    In my initial research, it looks like I'll need to spend around $180 for a decent large format printer and $250 for a 9x12-inch scanner with good reviews (large format images will need to be scanned and stitched together in Photoshop). This time around, I'm going to purchase separately to save money. According to my research, a large format scanner with good reviews will cost at least $1000, not something I can afford right now.

    Hope this info helps someone who might be in a similar boat.

  • Thanks @Braden-Hallett and @davidhohn! I was just looking for one, as @Lee-White suggested, and I can't find one for under $500. The nice ones seem to be about $1000-$3000...

    I would also LOVE it if someone could direct us to a decent 11x17" scanner that's within a starving-artist budget! (Or at least something that can work for a while, until we can afford to upgrade?) Thanks!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

  • @Lee-White awesome, thanks for those links!

    Question for you: how is the scan quality on both of those? Good enough to deliver print-ready files to clients?

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Melissa-Bailey-0 Yep! For the brother the specs are:

    Optical Resolution :1200 x 2400 dpi
    Interpolated Resolution :19200 x 19200 dpi
    Grayscale Depth :8-bit
    Color Depth :24-bit
    Color Depth (Internal) :48-bit

    That was more than enough for print. I still had to tweak colors and values in photoshop of course. So dont think you will just press a button and it will be perfect. But its good!

  • @Lee-White Thank you so much! That really helps 🙂

  • @Lee-White thanks! No, I never expect to scan without needing to tweak or do some editing. Just double checking that the scans are high quality, since it would be going to clients. Thanks again for clarifying!

  • @Lee-White thanks so much for the info! And thank you @davidhohn for getting the conversation going.

  • Another fantastic episode! Thank you all for answering my question about copyrights and trademarks. I actually was kind of wondering how your opinions would differ from @davidhohn 's in regards to these legal matters!

    It makes total sense about not trying to sue over a work, especially if it's not something entirely substantial (monetary wise at least).
    That said, I can see benefits as Will Terry pointed out with the extra value the copyright protection gets one in court, plus I'm sure an official copyright would scare off at least some who would have otherwise stolen the creator's work had that not been the case.
    (but then again, I guess it would get even more confusing if one thinks about the international release and copyright protection of a product, so I can see how it can get cumbersome when there are so many variables to keep track of).

    That was some fascinating information about trademarking, @Jake-Parker , thank you for sharing it! I've always been intrigued with trademarks when I see such difference in how companies protect the names of their characters:
    For example, Why is Optimus Prime®, while Bumblebee™?
    animated-deluxe-optimus-prime-package-jpg.jpgBumblebee Transformers Animated product.PNG
    (These are products from 2007, so I'm not sure if this still applies to current Transformers toys)

    Is it because Optimus Prime is a more recognized or unique name? Is it because "Bumblebee" is an actual, non-made-up, real word?

    Here's another example:
    Both "Clone Trooper" and "Darth Vader" are ™; Star Wars is ®, while the sub name of the shows are interesting: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels are ™
    api9fqrco__77386.1519945934.jpg Darth Vader Rebels Toy.PNG
    (Star Wars: The Clone Wars first debuted in 2008, with Star Wars: Rebels debuting in 2014)

    Darth Vader is a much more prominent and known character than just a clone trooper, so why isn't he given the upgraded trademark? (compared to Optimus Prime and Bumblebee)

    I'm fairly certain that trademarking is only applicable to a brand/franchise/character as Jake described, rather than just to any name or word. I guess I've always been intrigued by the mystery surrounding it all.

    And if nobody knows the answer, that's fine. You don't have to spend your time seeking it out if you don't want to. I'd rather not create unnecessary work for anyone. Just posing some curious questions, that's all.

  • I'm laughing so hard at, "You know what your problem is your paint skills aren't good and your concepts are bad" because I vividly remember getting almost that exact critique in art school and being like, "?????? HOW DO I IMPROVE FROM THAT CRITIQUE??" hahahah like I don't already know my paint skills are bad 🤣

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