Tips for copyrighting your artwork and preventing copyright infringement

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Being an artist in today’s increasingly digital world opens up amazing possibilities. You can reach a wider audience around the world. But at the same time, the Internet has also increased the risks of copyright infringement. In this article, we discuss how to avoid copyright infringement.

Digital art is automatically copyrighted. An artist gets a copyright on his work of art as soon as he creates it in a fixed/tangible form. It is important to note that if someone copies your digital art and tries to use it commercially, you will need to prove that the digital art is yours. This can be tricky if you don’t have copyright registration.

Recall that copyright is valid throughout the life of the artist plus 70 years after his death. Art can be copyrighted if it meets the necessary criteria:

  • It is an original work;
  • A work of art is fixed in a tangible form, whether it be paper, canvas, or digital.

The sale of digital art does not include the underlying copyright. If someone buys a work of art, they will own the art itself, but not the copyright. Except if the artist specifically transfers copyright to them. While the art buyer is entitled to use digital art for personal purposes, they may not be able to use the art for professional purposes. The same principle applies to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) as well.

NFTs are essentially metadata files that have been encoded with digital images, which may or may not be copyrighted. When you buy an NFT, you simply buy the metadata that is associated with the work and not the work itself.

Moreover, the popularity and prices of NFTs also attract scammers and counterfeiters. Therefore it is very important to know how to copyright artwork, especially a digital one.

Here is how you can copyright your digital art.

  • First of all, you need to fill out an online application or a paper application form.
  • You also need to pay the registration fee. The online application fee is usually lower.
  • Please note that you will have to provide a copy or copies of your original work that you wish to copyright. These copies will not be returned to you, so you should send photos or screenshots instead of the actual work.

4 top tips to avoid copyright infringement for your digital artwork

  1. Watermarks. The easiest way of avoiding copyright infringement is to add a unique watermark to all of your artwork. Make sure your watermark is unique and highly visible. It is better to place it in a visible place where it cannot be easily removed or trimmed.
  2. Small-resolution images of your artwork. To avoid copyright infringement you should only post low-resolution images of all your digital artwork. You can also display your images in a Flash slideshow instead of image files. This will help prevent the download. But even the slideshow should contain low-resolution images.
  3. Strict legal action. You can send a cease and desist letter or a copyright warning/notice to anyone who has infringed your digital art to force them to shut down.
  4. Monitoring illegal use of your work. In order to avoid copyright infringement, you should monitor the internet for any illegal use of your artwork. Doing that manually can be extremely time-consuming. Instead, you can choose a solution that uses image recognition technology to detect copyright infringements automatically.

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