... exploit the copyright on my work
Copyright means that a work may only be copied or made public with the permission of the intellectual creator of the work. You can have copyrights on works which:
- have an original character,
- are perceptible with the senses.
This means that an idea can only be protected by copyright if it is set down on paper; it does not, however, have to have reached its final or definitive form.
You get a copyright automatically, without having to fill out any forms. But it is sensible to indicate that a copyright applies, for example by using a copyright symbol accompanied by a name and date.
Remember that the employer, not the designer, holds the copyrights of works designed within an employment situation!
Earning from copyrights
Making works public through means of exhibition, on internet, in a book, on tv, etc., is only allowed if the copyright holder gives his/her permission. The copyright holder may attach conditions to this, such as a fee, mentioning of their name, and so on. You can claim damages if your copyrighted work is made public without permission.
When a work is copied or multiplied, for example by reproduction in a series, the copyright holder can give the reproduction in licence (for a fixed fee) and/or require royalties (a certain amount for each copy sold).
Agreements on paper
Verbal agreements cannot be verified. Avoid trouble: put all agreements about royalties, licences, permission for publication, etc., down on paper. If the other party (producer, gallery, etc.) comes up with a contract, take the time to read it through carefully and if necessary to get expert advice about it.
Stichting Beeldrecht is a copyright bureau for visual artists, photographers and illustrators. Stichting Burafo is a copyright bureau for photographers. These bureaus keep track of publications and have contact with organizations which have to do with copyrights regularly. If you are affiliated with a copyright bureau they can take care of a number of copyright matters for you, such as royalties and permission for publication.
- licence contract (pdf)
- website Cedar
- website over auteursrecht