The Official Kunvay Blog

Learn how to navigate copyright and intellectual property ownership smartly so you own your work, and own your future.

How Mismanaging Your Copyright & IP Rights is Ruining Your Career as a Creative or Freelancer (And How to Fix It!)

Photo Credit: Money Down the Drain by Images Money used under CC BY 2.0

Photo Credit: Money Down the Drain by Images Money used under CC BY 2.0

As a freelancer, your work is your livelihood.

It’s your product, service and brand, all rolled into one.

And without a big business to hide behind, it’s just you and your creations on display for all the world to see.

This is both the burden and the blessing of being self-employed.

Managing and protecting your work, then, is critical to your progress, especially when it comes to ownership and copyrights.

If you’re not controlling ownership of your work, you could be missing out on big clients, big paychecks and big opportunities.

Unfortunately, many freelancers and creatives are unnecessarily–and sometimes unknowingly–stifling their careers simply because they don’t understand copyright and intellectual property (IP) laws.

Grasping the rules of ownership could make or break your freelance salary. So if you’re serious about your career, you need to recognize where you’re throwing money away, and then work to fix it!

I’ve identified the 3 most common copyright & IP errors, in no particular order, that lead to suppressed freelance careers and salaries.

1) Accepting Royalty Payments

First of all, you should never accept royalties as payment. I know, it sounds tempting, especially for those of you still trying to make your first mark.

But hear me now; royalties are a rip-off. You should never make your income dependent on what the client does with the work after-the-fact. Continue reading

Copyright 101 for eBook Self-Publishing: What You Need to Know about Copyright & Intellectual Property Before You Self Publish

Photo Credit: To lay this book in my lap by Marina Noordegraaf used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Photo Credit: To lay this book in my lap by Marina Noordegraaf used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A Bundle of Rights: Traditional Publishing vs Self Publishing

The Copyright Act of 1976 grants to the author of a copyrightable work a “bundle of rights.”

This “bundle of rights” as provided by federal copyright law invests the creator of a work with exclusive rights to control the reproduction, adaptation, publication, performance and display of his work.

Historically authors would transfer their “bundle of rights” to a publisher under some sort of contract in order to allow that publisher to “publish” or to reproduce and distribute the copyrighted material.

Today authors are able to retain their bundle of rights and full control of the publication of their work by opting to “self publish.” Self publication allows the author to regulate all aspects of the reproduction, marketing and distribution of his creative work.

How to Navigate the Copyright Minefield

It is important that a self publishing author fully understand Continue reading

Top 10 SXSW Panels to Check Out or Follow at Home If You Care About Copyright & IP

SXSW LogoCreativity and copyright reign supreme this week in Austin, Texas where over 32,000 creatives from around the world have converged for the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival.

The festival continues to deliver on its goal to “create an event that would act as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas.”

We’ve put together our Top 10 favorite panels to attend or follow at home on Twitter if you want to learn more about cutting-edge copyright issues facing the creative community.

Given our mission here at Kunvay to make the world safe for creativity, we were bowled over by the impressive number of conference sessions addressing copyright and intellectual property – subjects of great importance to creatives everywhere.

Follow our Storify feed to find out what people are saying about copyright and IP at the festival, or use these Twitter hashtags to follow the panel conversations directly.

  1. DIY IP: Protect Yo Self, Don’t Wreck Yo Self     #swsw #diyip
  2. The Artists’ Copyright Conundrum      #swsw #crightcon
  3. Copyright & Disruptive Technologies      #sxsw #copytech Continue reading

The Media File that Could: Why Obtaining Full Copyright and Intellectual Property Ownership Matters

Your mother may have told you that sharing is caring, but sharing isn’t always caring when it comes to copyright and intellectual property law.

With the growing popularity of social media platforms, people are sharing images more than ever.

Unfortunately for the creators of the shared media files, few people understand that they are violating copyright law when they upload and post creative work without the authorization of the creator.

Sharing Isn’t Always Caring

One needs only log into Pinterest to find numerous copyrighted images that others have “pinned” or uploaded to the Pinterest website without permission from the image’s owner.

Innocent though it may seem, every time an image is shared without the creator’s permission, a blogger, artist, photographer or graphic designer loses credit for her work and possible income that she could have generated from that work.

This proliferation of copyright infringement can understandably leave a creative feeling a bit down and discouraged.

After experiencing infringement of her work, a freelancer may even wonder whether she can continue to make a profit when her time and hard work easily become mute at the hands of copyright infringers.

After all, a creative can easily put in hours, if not weeks, of thought, work, and editing into a single creative work.

That photo, logo, or written content represents the freelancer’s professional image, work ethic, and indeed, livelihood. Nobody knows better than a freelancer that the widespread violation of an artist’s work equates to theft.

Creating the Media File that Could: How to Protect Your Work

Creatives may feel like they are constantly fighting an uphill battle against technology and social media. But Continue reading

What Every Freelancer and Graphic Designer Needs to Know About Copyright

Before computers became the main instrument of design, graphic design was a labor-intensive process involving scalpel blades, spray mount, toxic chemicals and hours spent in dark rooms.

Post-digital, a few keyboard strokes enables the process of design to print and be completed in a matter of minutes.

For both designers and freelancers, the creative process has moved on and graphic design is now a broad term covering all ends of the creative spectrum from package design to multimedia development.

Unfortunately, copyright law has struggled to keep up with the new technologies and things do not always appear to be black and white. Here are some pointers:

What is Copyright?

Copyright gives the owner of original, creative works the exclusive right to copy, publish, distribute and adapt their works.

Essentially, this gives the owner the right to stop others copying, adapting, publishing and distributing their work without permission.

When does Copyright begin?

Copyright begins as soon as Continue reading