Artists: Copywriting your artwork.

I was wondering, how do you copywrite your own artwork?

I have been making art for over ten years now. I have started to make my own lamps, and I have never seen any other artist or company make lamps the way I make them and I’m hoping that I can make some money off of them. Since I usally make them and then give them to friends for free.

I was thinking about selling a bunch of them at a local craft fair, but I’ve been to craft fairs, and know for a fact that lots people and companies go to them to get ideas for their own crafts/products.
I love sharing ideas with others, and my artwork with friends, but I need to finally make some money off of my artwork. Copywriting would be a good way to protect my art and ideas, and I figured that this was the best place to go for help.

Any suggestions…

First, it’s “copyright” as in “the right to make copies”.

Under US Code, Title 17, the work is automatically copyrighted as soon as it exists. What you are talking about is “registration”, which makes it easier to collect monetary damages in case of infringement.

The US Copyright Office has detailed instructions on how to register visual arts items.

Is copyright really what Acrylic Vessel is talking about, though? You can copyright an individual work, but I don’t think that you can copyright a style. So another artist could see the work and still (legally) make something similar.

If you or another artist want to preserve the right of others to take your design and do what they want with it, adapting it, copying it, disassembling it, etc., you may want to consider copyrighting it and licensing it under the GNU General Public License or GNU Free Documentation License. The first was designed for software but is widely used for other things, the section is for free content in general.

Remember, information wants to be free. And nowadays, pretty much everything is information, even your lamps.


Also, your copyrights are only worth the money you are willing to spend to defend them. Anybody can violate your copyrights with impunity, unless you hire a lawyer and take them to court. If you are not willing to pay lawyers and spend time in court, you might as well not expend too much on copyrighting anything. Lawyers rarely, if ever, take copyright defense cases on a contingency.

Its getting really late and I just wanted to come on and say thanks for all the links.
It appears that I have alot of reading to do tommorrow.
Thanks again.

Its getting really late and I just wanted to come on and say thanks for all the links.
It appears that I have alot of reading to do tommorrow.
Thanks again.

From a practical perspective, I don’t think there’s much you can do to protect your ideas.

However, I believe the proper protective instrument is a “Design Patent”, which is a patent on the design of the invention, not on the functionality. What is important with this type of patent are the invention’s unique ornamental and aesthetic properties.

I have been through the “utility patent” process a number of times, but have never been near a design patent. I suspect they are similar in basic concepts and costs though. And I can tell you that it’s likely you’ll spend a mess of money to get one.