The Official Kunvay Blog

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

5 Things Your Web Developer Won’t Tell You About Copyright & IP Ownership That You Need to Know

Photo Credit: The Exemplary Programmer by Alper Çuğun used under CC BY 2.0

Photo Credit: The Exemplary Programmer by Alper Çuğun used under CC BY 2.0

The United States Copyright Office defines a “computer program” as a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result.

The Copyright Office tells us that “copyright protection extends to all of the copyrightable expression embodied in a computer program,” but no copyright protection is available for “ideas, program logic, algorithms, systems, methods, concepts, or layouts.”

A web developer may create and develop copyrightable code for a website or app commissioned by a client, but he may have no clue as to the process of copyrighting that code or licensing website content.

1. “I’m a web developer — not a copyright expert.”

A web developer may know everything possible that there is to know about computer programming, the development of World Wide Web applications and distributed network applications run from a web server to a web browser but he may be completely in the dark as to the Intellectual Property rights and interests that arise in connection with any program or web application that he develops for a client.

A web developer shouldn’t be expected to provide legal advice as to the rights and responsibilities a client may have in regard to preserving and protecting intellectual property interests in the computer programs and web applications that he creates.

2. “If you don’t know what I’m selling, you probably don’t know what you’re buying.”

Clients of a web developer need to Continue reading

T-Shirt Design Copyright Basics: 3 Facts Every Graphic Designer Should Know About T-Shirt Design

Photo Credit: 12a by Mico Samardzija used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo Credit: 12a by Mico Samardzija used under CC BY-NC 2.0

With the increased ability to share creative ideas and art, graphic designers everywhere are finding more lucrative opportunities to profit from their work.

T-shirt designing is a fashionable possibility but very little has been published to give guidance to the budding artists who are providing the designs that make today’s t-shirts so popular.

As the industry flourishes, copyright challenges and questions seem to grow almost as quickly.

Copyright ownership lines are often blurred and it’s a challenge to keep up with the laws and understand who owns what and who can do what to whom!  The maze of legal issues can be overwhelming and distract you from what’s really important – selling your work for profit.

Therefore, if you really want to monetize your graphic design work in the t-shirt world, you’ve got to know your legal rights and understand the copyright laws surrounding this industry. That way you can move forward knowing that your work is being distributed in a way that you’re comfortable with, without the stress of wondering if you’re losing money or control over your designs.

What is Copyright?

Before I go any further, let’s start with a basic definition of ‘copyright’ and what it means to t-shirt designers.

Copyright is the ownership over a piece of work or art and the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, commercially exploit, and otherwise profit from it.

So, for those of you designing art for t-shirts and other products, copyright generally refers to ownership and control over the art and designs you’re creating for third parties and their products.

The #1 Question T-Shirt Designers Ask Is . . . 

Over and over we hear, ‘When my work is printed on a t-shirt, who owns the copyrights?’

That’s the golden question. Continue reading

What is a Copyright, When is a Formal Copyright Needed, and How to Get One

Copyright CutOut2Artists are incredibly creative and brilliantly innovative people.

They can pull ideas and forms out of the nether world and translate their insights into the material world with expertise through their respective medium and talent.

Their music fills our concert halls, their visual innovations greet us every day on everything from soup cans to ads on the Internet and authors of every genre help us to learn and grow by sculpting words into a content that informs and inspires.

Why would they need copyright protection?

Why do jewelers lock up their diamonds inside their own shop? Obviously, it is because valuable things get stolen.

A copyright is a sort of “locked jewel case” that federal law provides for authors to protect their “intangible jewels” or their legal rights in the original works of art they create. “

What is a Copyright and Why Does it Matter?

The easiest way to conceptualize the intangible rights and interests granted to an author by a copyright of his work is to imagine Continue reading

3 Ways to Protect Copyright to Your Brand and Work as a Creative or Freelancer

Part of being a professional creative is protecting your brand – for most of us, this means slapping a copyright notice on the bottom our manuscript pages or stamping a watermark over images we post online.

After all, copyright is implicit in your work from the moment you’ve put pen to paper or raised the viewfinder to your eye.

But putting a copyright symbol on your work doesn’t do a great deal in terms of providing actual protection for your work or your brand – it’s a bit like pushing the lock button on an older car without an alarm system, it’ll keep the honest thieves out but anyone who really wants to steal the car that day is going to pop the lock and drive away with it.

So what can you do about it?

Start by Marking Your Turf

Adding a copyright notice, embedding a watermark and including author information in a digital file are all adequate means of establishing the fact that YOU created something and YOU intend on keeping control over it.

None of these are going to stop a determined copyright violator, especially in a world where the internet encourages the sharing and free exchange of ideas.

But there is a difference between “sharing” and “stealing” – so your job as a creative professional has to include embedding your brand on your work to the highest possible degree. 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