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Copyright Tutorial by telophase Copyright Tutorial by telophase
I got sick of the misinformation about copyright being slung about DA by people who never bothered to actually look up the correct information. So here's a tutorial about U.S. copyright law.

I am not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. Nor is it guaranteed to be absolutely correct - the areas of copyright which govern fair use are extremely fuzzy and many people have different opinions. It's also a work in progress, and as such is subject to change at any moment. If you plan to use it as ammunition in any forum wars, you might want to come back and double-check what it says first.

Click on the Download to Desktop link to see the HTML file.
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:iconblockdasher91:
Blockdasher91 Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2015
I always give credits to the ones who owns the characters and concept I draw.
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:icontijonwolfsmajestys:
TijonWolfsMajestys Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for posting this. You basically give a summary of what im reading on official sites -.- but this is great use as a easy to reach reminder :) thanks a bunch for posting
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:iconpurplesim123:
Purplesim123 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm glad I found this thing! :meow:
I get so worked up about it everytime it comes to mind, but even though I read it I still need a straight-answer.

Can I still make fanart/fiction? What difference does this law make to our lives?

(Yeah I know, I don't get it~ :p)
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:iconsherrys-camera:
Sherrys-Camera Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Everyone should read this.
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:icondayami-chan:
Dayami-chan Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Hiya~! Great tutorial - thank you!
I have a question too: So in the case of doujinshis, like fan comics, how does that work? Would you have to go/email the original creator for permission and work something out with them? O: thankies! ^^
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:icondayami-chan:
Dayami-chan Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Hiya~! Great tutorial - thank you!
I have a question too: So in the case of doujinshis, like fan comics, how does that work? Would you have to go/email the original creator for permission and work something out with them? O: thankies! ^^
Reply
:iconyakkov:
Yakkov Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2010  Student Digital Artist
Alright, I have a question to ask. I live in the United States.

The "How To Draw manga" book poses, the bases here on DA, a photo you have of someone/stock image on DA, or even an pose from an anime character... would be okay to use right? I make all things I do original characters. Not one thing I do is fanart. I use the poses from these things for my characters. I just use the pose I am looking at. Nothing else.

A spoke with a professional artist who told me, "you can draw any pose you want. Just change the way the pose looks to fit, and look like your character(s)". He also said there all human poses, and you can't copyright a pose we as people do daily.

Its all very confusing to me, and recently because of this... I have been very down, and depressed.
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:icontelophase:
telophase Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah - you can't copyright a pose, because there's only so many ways the human body can bend and twist and only so many angle you can look at if from. But if you're taking the pose from one picture, you'll want to take other things from other pictures or your own imagination - character design, lighting, background, etc. And the artist you spoke to was absolutely right in that you'll want to change the pose to fit your characters: not just to avoid copying someone else, but because *it makes the picture better*. You want the character to be doing something they'd do naturally, not forcing them to fit what someone else does naturally.
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:iconyakkov:
Yakkov Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2010  Student Digital Artist
I understand =3

Also, if a pose was 'copyrighted', animation in anime, cartoons, television shows, or even movies could not take place. It would crumble the entertainment industry. My art teacher I spoke to a few days ago, said this same thing when I brought up poses.

I have all my characters, and their designs already set. If I use clothing from one pose, I might want to mix and match clothing from others to make my own clothing. Unless its already basic clothing like a sweater or something like that. Like if I want to make a new character, (male or female) I would take some hair, clothing (from other pictures), add my own eyes and other accessories, and there is a character. The same basic rule that applies with clothing, applies with character design if your making something new, and need ideas.

My characters are high school students, so they would be doing all sorts of different poses. So pretty much any pose fits them ^^;

But thank you for replying back to me ^^ I am glad another person besides myself knows better that a pose(s) cannot be copyrighted. I mean its stupid if people think they can. My art teacher agrees with that as well. ^__^
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:iconyakkov:
Yakkov Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2010  Student Digital Artist
*I meant to say I spoke with. Sorry typo. ^^;

What I meant about the guy saying:

"Just change the way the pose looks to fit, and look like your character(s)"

Was basically you can use the pose(s), just draw your character with the pose(s), and not the picture you are looking at for the pose. Like adding your own clothing, hair, eyes, mouth, nose, eye brows, etc.

Just don't duplicate the image, because that is considered stealing. The pose yes, you can use it. The character, and its contents, no. You couldn't use those clothing since they are copyrighted, or anything else about that character. The use of the pose only was confirmed to me to be okay to use, and that is all. I had to do everything else myself afterward. Which I do anyhow.

So again, its just this issue with pose(s) I am having issues with.
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:icon2dmenagerie:
2dMenagerie Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2010  Professional General Artist
This is some pretty good information since i've been wondering how people online who share their artwork without running into problems like this. However i heard of something called an "orphaned" image recently about how if an image on the internet is found and no one claims it someone else can sell it for profit (Which i think is stupid) So maybe it's better to put meta data on your pictures and a watermark?
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:icontelophase:
telophase Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's always better to put information on your images -- I put my DA URL large enough that people can see it when they get copied and posted to Photobucket, Flickr, etc. As far as orphaned works go in the U.S., users have to thoroughly investigate any work they think is orphaned to be able to use it - if they can't prove that they did that, then they're still liable for copyright infringement.
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:icon2dmenagerie:
2dMenagerie Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2010  Professional General Artist
Yeah i figured information is better than nothing :O And thats good to hear about orphaned images---i assumed that it would suck for artists who make amazing work and have it stolen because it wasn't marked per say :O
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:iconquaisor:
Quaisor Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2010  Professional Photographer
GREAT info. Thanks for taking the time to do thia :)
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:iconeahowell:
EAHowell Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2010
thanks
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:icondarklunah26:
daRkLunah26 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2009  Student Digital Artist
MYAH!!! i found you!!

~faints~

anyway, i love this tutorial, and the irony in that is i found one of your scans online, form a bleach doujinshi, and i kinda colored it and tweaked with it a whole lot @.@

[link]

So reading this, since you scanned it, and placed it online, it kinda makes you the owner right?

i wonder if its okay if i used it.

Cause finding that doujinshi group was harder than i thought, plus they seem japanese @.@


meh,i prolly have tons of violation on this one alone ><
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:iconkinnohitsuji:
KinnoHitsuji Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Scanning of art does not mean the scanner owns the copyright, rather it is the drawer of the original image that went to press. On DA, the rules are even if you color it, you can't post it. You can post it if you trace and redo the entire work over. (Which I've done with some artistic adjustments.) You are warned...

The tutorial is pretty good. I think the fair use section is a bit fuzzy. I *know* fair use is fuzzy to begin with, but I believe a lot of people slap their fan art with fair use, thus they can do anything they wish... so clarifying the requirements of fair use might be helpful.

Also some people have this crazy notion that because it's *over there* there is no copyright. i.e. Not in my country. One group I saw thought because the licenses ended on one property that they could claim copyright to the property. O.o;; And then continued to say that they had "licensed" the material. But the creator is alive and kicking. And they did not pay the original company any millions of dollars for the rights. So I think there is a confusion about the "Berne Convention" (i.e. more general International copyright law) and "licensing" among fanship and how those two things work. I know Licensing is a whole other ballgame, but a quick and dirty tutorial might help the idiots out there.

Of course it gets more hairy with copyleft, open source, creative commons, etc that's been coming out. =P But that's too much for a basic FAQ.
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:icontelophase:
telophase Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So reading this, since you scanned it, and placed it online, it kinda makes you the owner right?

No, it does not. Which section made you think I was saying that? If it's misleading, I may need to reword it.
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:icondarklunah26:
daRkLunah26 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2009  Student Digital Artist
hmmm, might just be me, anyway thanks, it made things clearer for me
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:iconcaterfree10:
Caterfree10 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2008
Very informative and helpful! I'll be sure to keep this information in mind should the need to use it ever arise. :3
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:icondiatsa:
Diatsa Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Tagged for read when I have less of a headache.

Thanks in advance for going through the trouble of putting something like this online. ^^
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:iconkurotorasempai:
Kurotorasempai Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2008  Student Digital Artist
wonderful. Now I understand copierights better. Thank you SO SOO much for posting this!!
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:iconalfa-d:
AlfA-D Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2008
Very informative. It's also very good that you clearly stated your references.
I do not live in the U.S. but I found this really helpfull.
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:iconoz21:
Oz21 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2007  Professional Interface Designer
very informative resource

thanks for the help.

That's something I've been wondering.
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:iconbaka-bakamono:
Baka-bakamono Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2006
Really nice tutorial! Thank you very much for spending the time on this. :hug:
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:iconfaoux:
Faoux Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2006
wow---i learned alot! :D this was extremely helpful! ^^
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:icondarkcrypt:
DarkCrypt Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2006
That WAS pretty informative... Every time I've read about that 'mailing to yourself' thing, I'd always wonder...But, if I have the original right here, how could anyone possibly have a legal leg to stand on, if they stole it and I sued them?! And I guess they don't! Suckers!
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:icontelophase:
telophase Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2006  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think that bit of misinformation keeps going around because in the U.K. it's got some legitimacy. But not, so far, in the U.S.
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:iconsoldatsagent:
SoldatsAgent Featured By Owner May 19, 2006
Very well put together.
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:icontelophase:
telophase Featured By Owner May 19, 2006  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! :D
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:iconaieiennothing:
AieienNothing Featured By Owner May 18, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome and well written reference. =D
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:icontelophase:
telophase Featured By Owner May 19, 2006  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconultranic-comics:
ultranic-comics Featured By Owner May 18, 2006
enlightening
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:icontelophase:
telophase Featured By Owner May 19, 2006  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you. :D
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